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Species guide

Spiny lobster

Scientific name: Palinurus elephas

DESCRIPTION:
The spiny lobster is generally a red invertebrate with some yellow or brown bands. The youngest individuals have a red band on the top of their body. The two pairs of antennae are yellow and the second pair is longer than their body and can measure up to 80 cm. As with the rest of the decapods, it has 5 pairs of legs for walking, but no pincers.
Its maximum size is 50 cm. The adults can weigh up to 8 kg.

BIOLOGY:

It is an animal with night habits and during the day it hides in caves or cracks and only leaves its antennae outside, which can measure up to 80 cm.
It feeds on bivalves and snails, whose shells it is able to break despite not having pincers, and also carrion.
The spiny lobster is oviparous. Females have been seen with eggs in September and October.

HABITAT:
It lives on rocky beds and hides in caves and cracks, often with only its antennae outside. Here it spends the day and comes out at night to look for food. Although it is usually at depths of between 40 and 70 m, from November to March it migrates to deeper waters.

DISTRIBUTION:
It is found throughout the Mediterranean except in areas of the eastern band, such as Israel, Egypt, Syria and Southern Turkey. It is also found in the Atlantic.

STATUS:
Species not evaluated (according to the red list of endangered species).

CURIOSITIES:
The great commercial value of the species as it is highly appreciated gastronomically, means that it is subject to overfishing that prevents the populations from recovering.