The spiny lobster, otherwise known as a rock lobster or Florida lobster, is unique compared to the Maine variety. These crustaceans are harvested commercially and recreationally because of the sweet meat contained in the tail. Despite the name Florida, the range does include Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Learn about these tasty crustaceans. 

How Do You Identify A Spiny Lobster

The key identifying factor is two large antennas protruding from the face. The antennas are similar to the texture of sandpaper and are capable of producing sound to scare predators. 

When it comes to coloration, the lobster ranges from red to brown. Scattered about the body are sharp spines facing in a forward direction. Lastly, the tail contains white spots. 

How Far North Do Spiny Lobsters Live

Divers in North Carolina are in luck. Despite the name, Florida lobster ranges from Florida to North Carolina. The spiny lobster range in Florida is from the Keys up to the Georgia state line on the east coast. In Florida, the spiny lobster is population is most prolific.

When asked can you catch lobster in North Carolina the answer is yes but the populations of the spiny lobster dwindle compared to South Carolina lobster and Georgia lobster.

The tasty crustacean inhabits reefs, wrecks, and rocky ledges in waters between 60 and 100 feet deep. 

What Is The Difference Between Spiny Lobster And Maine Lobster

The primary difference between the Florida lobster vs Maine lobster is the presence of claws. 

The Maine lobster contains claws, whereas the spiny lobster does not. In addition to the lack of claws in the Florida lobster, additional minor variations are present. 

However, in addition to the differences in being equipped or not equipped with claws, the habitat of a Florida lobster vs Maine lobster is different. The spiny lobsters prefer reefs and wrecks compared to the Maine lobster that lives in small rocky areas.

Are Spiny Lobsters True Lobsters

No, the rock lobster, otherwise known as a Caribbean or Florida lobster, is not an actual lobster. True Lobsters are equipped with claws and lack antennas. 

There are roughly 60 varieties of achelate crustaceans found throughout the world. Even though they lack claws, they are considered lobster due to their similar appearance. 

How Do You Catch Spiny Lobster

Catching spiny lobster in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina requires diver certification. Unlike Florida, where the rock lobster ventures into shallow waters, they remain deep on the northern end of the range. 

When determining how to catch Caribbean lobster, know that lobstering is illegal by use of a spear. Utilize tickle sticks with a net and lobster snares when the crustacean is located. Never use a spear when catching lobster in North Carolina, South Carolina, or Georgia.

Focus on waters over 60 feet along rocky bottoms, coral reefs, and sunken ships. Peer into small openings where the crustacean seeks shelter. 

Remember to obtain a saltwater fishing license, dive with a friend, follow the harvesting regulations, and bring a measuring device to the seafloor. 

Are Spiny Lobster Good To Eat

Yes, the spiny lobster makes excellent table fare. Despite the crustacean lacking claws when comparing the spiny lobster vs Maine lobster, the tail is packed with sweet, firm, white meat. 

The tail section is easily removed from the body of the crustacean. Grasp the body in one hand and the tail in the other while twisting. 

The most common cooking methods include broiling and grilling. Simply cut the top of the shell in the center to the tail, season the meat, and cook. However, avoid overcooking to prevent the meat from becoming dry. 

Can A Spiny Lobster Hurt You

Swimmers, anglers, and divers question whether or not spiny lobster can inflict wounds. Spiny lobsters do not have claws and therefore cannot pinch unsuspecting humans. 

Despite the lobster lacking claws, they are equipped with sharp spines. Sharp spines positioned on the head, antennas, and tail inflict deep wounds when improperly handled. 

To avoid puncture wounds, wear gloves. Additionally, grasp the lobster behind the eyes forward of the tail. 

How Big Can A Spiny Lobster Get

While the average Florida lobster ranges between one and two pounds measuring 10 to 12 inches, the crustacean grows significantly larger.

Believe it or not, rock lobster tip the scales at over 12 pounds and measuring 20 plus inches. A 12-pound lobster is a trophy.

Are You Heading Out Lobstering

Remember that lobstering in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina requires a seaworthy vessel and specialized training to become scuba certified. For most, the best bet is to visit a local seafood market. Additionally, ensure that North Carolina lobster season, South Carolina lobster season, or Georgia lobster season are open. However, an alternative to lobster diving is crabbing. Catch the equally as tasty blue crab from the dock.