Be Prepared for Lobster Season!

Photo of roseate spoonbills and egrets foraging in Everglades National Park. Florida spiny lobster carapace must be 3" or more. Photo by FWC.

Florida spiny lobster season is one of the busiest times in the Florida Keys. Thousands of visitors as well as residents enjoy boating, diving and catching of the delicious lobsters. Make the right choices so that when you head out you can do so responsibly and can help to protect the very resources that you are here to enjoy.


Lobster Information Booths- Stop by and grab copies of the rules and pick the brains of FWC enforcement officers and sanctuary staff about changes to regulations this year.

July 25 – July 29, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Mile Marker 106 in Key Largo​

July 29, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Bahia Honda State Park (Mile Marker 36.85)​

Be safe on the water and practice respect — Respect for your fellow boaters and divers, respect for the coral and habitat that lobsters call home, and respect for the fishery rules that keep our stocks healthy for future "bug" hunters to enjoy.


  Florida Spiny Lobster, Panulirus argus, crawfish, bug, langosta (Spanish)

Physical Description

  • Colors vary from whitish to dark red-orange
  • Two large cream colored spots at the top of the second tail segment
  • Two smaller cream colored spots at the bottom of the tail adjacent to the tail fan
  • Forward curving hard spines covering the exoskeleton (outer shell)
  • Two long, thick, antennae with spines and two smaller sensory antennules
  • No claws

Habitat and Range

  • Tropical and subtropical waters. Crevices in rock, coral reefs, seagrass beds and hardbottom areas
  • Common in Florida Keys, Caribbean, Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and Brazil to North Carolina


  Crustaceans (crabs, shrimp), mollusks (snails, clams)

Natural Predators

  Common octopus, groupers, loggerhead turtle, blue crab, nurse shark, snapper, triggerfish, southern stingray

Photo of SCUBA diver running a transect line for a benthic survey. All egg bearing female lobsters must be released regardless of size. Photo by FWC/Amy Buck.


Spawning occurs in water temperatures exceeding 73º F between March and August. Lobster reach maturity and start reproducing at three years of age. The females carry the eggs on their abdomen (underside of the tail) where they are fertilized externally. During the three week incubation, the eggs change from orange to dark brown. During the first six to nine months of development, the larva may drift for thousands of miles on ocean currents. Large female lobsters can spawn two to three times a year and are able to produce over a million eggs each time. As few as one egg, on average, might survive to adulthood.

Growth Rate

It takes approximately three years for a lobster carapace to reach three inches. They can grow to over 15 lbs. and live more than 20 years. Male lobsters typically grow faster than females.