Commissioner Adam H. Putnam

Florida Agriculture: 500 Years in the Making

Florida Seafood Products

Spiny Lobster

Spiny Lobster

Florida’s commercial spiny lobster season runs from August through March. Spiny lobster is one of Florida’s top commercial seafood products in dockside value, with the bulk of the harvest coming from Monroe, Miami-Dade, and Broward counties.

The spiny lobster (Panulirus argus) is a crustacean related to crabs, shrimp, crayfish, and the Spanish lobster. Common names include crawfish (this is not the freshwater crawfish) and Florida lobster. In Florida, the spiny lobster is caught off the Keys and around the southern tip of the state in the Atlantic Ocean near the Florida Reef Tract.

The spiny lobster has numerous spines on the body; two large, hooked horns over the eyes; a pair of long, jointed antennae; and five pairs of walking legs. It has mottled coloring, with yellow, brown, orange, and blue markings over the body and tail. The tail is segmented and can be rapidly curled under the body to propel the lobster backward.

Like all crustaceans, the spiny lobster molts or sheds its shell to grow. Its diet consists of clams, snails, seaweed, and small marine organisms. Lobsters form a single line, called “marches,” and move from shallow to deep water during seasonal migration.

Spiny lobsters are harvested using special traps at depths of 6 to 300 feet and are usually landed live. They are marketed as whole lobster, lobster tails, split tails, and lobster meat. These products are available fresh or frozen, raw or cooked. The term “green” is used to refer to raw lobster.

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Bureau of Seafood and Aquaculture Marketing
The Collins Building, Innovation Park
2051 East Dirac Drive
Tallahassee, Florida 32310

Martin May
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