Squat lobsters look like lobsters, but they are actually more closely related to hermit crabs.

Squat lobster seen while exploring south of St. Croix. Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program.

Squat lobster seen while exploring south of St. Croix. Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program.

Squat lobsters (Eumunida picta) belong to the phylum Arthropoda. The majority of squat lobsters are found in deeper waters and have very long claws that can be twice as long as their bodies.

Although generally believed to be scavengers, squat lobsters have been observed catching fish from the water column. For example, in the Gulf of Mexico where squat lobster are the dominant decapod (crustaceans having 10 feet) on Lophelia coral banks, squat lobster often have their claws raised up high over the plane of the reef, which could be an important feeding posture.

Squat lobsters move freely over bottom surfaces, and often are found hiding beneath ledges or other bottom structures. Their biggest predators are fish.

 

For More Information:

Deep-sea Crustaceans, NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer Gulf of Mexico 2014 Expedition

Lesson Plans for Lophelia II 2010: Oil Seeps and Deep Reefs Expedition

Lophelia II 2010: Oil Seeps and Deep Reefs Expedition

Transitions to the Deep: Adaptations in Decapod Crustaceans for Life Along the 31ยบ30N Atlantic Transect, Estuary to the Abyss 2004

 

 

RSS Feeds Ocean Exploration Facts RSS Feed

Sign up for the Ocean Explorer E-mail Update List.