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Diving with Spiny Lobsters

Koh Lanta Marine Life | Palinuridae
Hermit CrabsSmashing Mantis Shrimp

Spiny lobsters are found at all dive sites when diving around Koh Lanta, and are easily spotted due to their very long antennae.

Achelata contains the spiny lobsters (Palinuridae), the slipper lobsters (Scyllaridae) and the furry lobsters (Synaxidae), and whilst similar in appearance to true lobsters, are not in fact true lobsters.

Achelata differ from true lobstaers most obviously due to the very large spiny antennae (hence the common name), and the lack of 'chelae' (claws) that are found on almost all other Decapods. Many species can produce loud sounds using structures at the base of their antennae.

Members of this family are also known as crawfish/crayfish, langoustes, or shrimp depending on which part of the world in which they are found.

1 species found on this page.

Painted Spiny Lobster

(Panulirus versicolor)

The Painted Spiny Lobster has a dark, bluish black back with white or light blue streaks and lines. The legs have longitudinal white and dark blue stripes.

The antennae are mostly white, but pink at the base. The tail is folded under the abdomen. The female Painted Spiny Lobster has claws on the fifth leg pair which are used in reproduction.

Painted Spiny Lobster (Panulirus versicolor)

Panulirus versicolor @ Koh Bida

During the day the Painted Spiny Lobster hides in crevices and cracks in rock, usually in shallow water down to 15 - 20 m. This species grows to 30 cm (usually seen much smaller than this) and hunts at night.

Painted Spiny Lobster (Panulirus versicolor)

Panulirus versicolor @ Koh Bida

If a lobster's leg is grasped or damaged by a predator, a specialist muscle in the leg segment contracts violently as an automatic reflex. This contraction causes the leg to be released/sheared at a fracture plane, and allows the lobster a chance to escape from the predator.

An antenna, on the other hand, must be pulled off, since there is a fracture plane but no specialist muscle in the antennae.

Painted Spiny Lobster (Panulirus versicolor)

Panulirus versicolor @ Koh Bida

Koh Lanta Diving with Spiny Lobsters

If you'd love a chance to spot Spiny Lobsters on one of our daily Koh Lanta diving trips then send us an email to info@diveandrelax.com.

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