Caribbean spiny lobster and spotted spiny lobster are found throughout the Caribbean and Florida Keys

Caribbean lobster

Also known as crawfish, spiny lobsters are widely enjoyed as food throughout the Caribbean and South Florida. They are harvested by recreational and commercial scuba divers and by commercial fishermen. In the Florida Keys, commercial lobstering brings in over $5 million annually to the local economy. To help sustain the fishery, state and federal fisheries councils have placed restrictions on the size and numbers of lobsters harvested during the open season for both the commercial and recreational fishery using traps.

Spiny lobsters are closely related to crabs, shrimp, and other 10-legged crustaceans. Keenly adapted for their bottom-dwelling, or benthic, existence, adult lobsters have a hard outer shell (exoskeleton), long antennae for defense, and a tail that enables them to escape quickly by swimming backwards. These nocturnal and highly mobile animals sometimes migrate long distances in lines called queues. Lobsters can live up to 15 years and reach three feet or more in overall body length.

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