Panulirus argus, the Caribbean spiny lobster is a species of spiny lobster
that lives on reefs and in mangrove swamps in the western Atlantic Ocean. Other
common names for the species in the United States include spiny lobster, Bermuda
spiny lobster, common spiny lobster, crawfish, Florida spiny lobster, West
Indian langouste and West Indian spiny lobster
P. argus have long, cylindrical bodies covered with spines. Two large
spines form forward-pointing "horns" above the eyestalks. They are generally
olive greenish or brown, but can be tan to mahogany. There is a scattering of
yellowish to cream-colored spots on the carapace and larger (usually four to
six) yellow to cream-colored spots on the abdomen. They have no claws (pincers).
The first pair of antennae are slender, black or dark brown and biramous. The
second pair of antennae are longer than the body, and covered with forward
pointing spines. The bases of the second antennae are thick, can have a bluish
tinge, and are likewise covered with rows of spines. The legs are usually
striped longitudinally with blue and yellow and terminate in a single spine-like
point. The somites of the abdomen are smooth and have a shallow furrow across
the middle. Each has pairs of swimmerets on the underside that are yellow and
black. The lobes of the tail are colored similarly to the swimmerets.
P. argus is a popular seafood item for human consumption. It is the most
important food export of the Bahamas, and rivals the shrimp industry in the
Florida Keys in commercial value. They are eagerly sought by both commercial
lobster men and sport divers in South Florida, the Caribbean, the Bahamas, and
The main difference in types of lobsters can be seen by the claws or
pinchers. The American or Maine Lobster has large front claws while the Florida
Spiny Lobster does not. The clawed lobsters are often called cold water lobsters
due to their normal habitat locations. The spiny, rock, or Florida lobster is
generally considered a warm water lobster. The Florida Lobsters are most
commonly caught for their tail meat, while the Maine lobster is known for it's
claw and tail meat.
Lobsters can be cooked in many ways, a popular method in the Caribbean is
to grill the lobster after splitting and seasoning.