It was a rock lobster! Or just a regular lobster

445It’s time to settle this once and for all: is there a difference between Lobsters and a Rock Lobster? To put it simply, there is. And these creatures aren’t even closely related.

Although, it is true that Lobsters and Rock Lobsters belong to the Decapoda order, like prawns, shrimps, crabs, and crayfish. Creatures of this order have five pairs of legs attached to the main part of the body. Bur for a lobster, the pair of legs closest to the head is substituted for two claws – whereas rock lobsters have no claws. Instead, rock lobsters have a spiny exterior for defence, which is why they are sometimes referred to as spiny lobsters.

This major biological difference alters the way they catch prey and ultimately their diet. Claws allow a lobster to eat a variety of prey such as small fish, sea urchins, crabs and sea stars. In contrast, rock lobsters are less equipped for efficient hunting and cutting their food. They instead feed on snails, clams, crabs, small shells and sea urchin, as well as scavenge for food.

Even their preferred waters are different. Lobsters are marine animals that live in cold oceans and seas around Europe and North America. Therefore, the lobsters found on the Australian coastline are actually rock lobsters! Rock lobsters live in the hot waters of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans, and the Red and Mediterranean seas. The ones you’ll find at the seafood markets are the southern rock lobster, caught in south-eastern Australia, and sometimes the western rock lobster, found in southern Western Australia.