Species encyclopedia

European Spiny Lobster

Palinurus elephas


Spiny lobsters tend to be gregarious (living in groups) and sedentary.

In fact, they only move about a little in order to feed, change homes or mate. Their activity is mainly nocturnal.

Their diet comprises echinoderms (sea stars, sea urchins, etc.) and molluscs whose shells they crush with their powerful mandibles. They may sometimes eat algae, worms and other crustaceans.


They reach maturity at 4 years. Mating takes place belly to belly. The male deposits his seed at the base of the female’s sternum, in the form of spermatophores, a sort of capsule containing the spermatozoa. The female tears the spermatophore open, releasing the sperm to fertilize the ova that she excretes.

The eggs cluster together on the female’s abdomen. Incubation lasts 5 to 8 months, depending on the temperature of the water. The larvae measure 3 mm at birth. They let themselves drift with the current and only begin to look like lobsters after 5 or 6 months of growth and several metamorphoses.

The lifespan of the spiny lobster is undoubtedly long. It is estimated that a spiny lobster weighing 400 to 500 g might be 4 to 6 years old, and that a 1 kg lobster would have an age of 7 to 10 years. And yet, specimens weighing 4 kg (50 cm) are sometimes caught in the Mediterranean...



Species encyclopedia

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