ANIMAL: California Spiny Lobster Panulirus interruptus Type of Animal: Spiny Lobster Habitat: Rocky substrates/areas at depths of up to 240 ft, tide pools, shorelines, crevices in rocky areas, rocky areas w/ lots of surfgrass/eelgrass/coralline algae/large brown kelp, seagrass areas, kelp forests, surfgrass areas, surfgrass beds, coastal rubble beds, rocky reef caves, rocky reef shelters, juveniles/egg-carrying females found in shallower areas than other adults Location(s): Found from C California to W Mexico Appearance: Large spiny lobster w/ 2 large spiny antennae (twice length of body), no large claws on legs, upper side brownish red to red to reddish-orange lacking pale banding/spotting, brownish red legs w/ lighter tinging, sharp spiny projections along upper shell/tail sides Food/Diet: Sea urchins, mussels, clams, worms, carrion, detritus, snails, crabs, sea hares, algae, fish Status in Wild: Stable Conservation: Sustainable fishing of these animals. Having certain seasons to catch these animals. Special protection for egg-laying females & molting lobsters. Lifestyle: Groups of 2-84 lobsters Additional Info: Called: Male: Bull/Cock Female: Hen Young: Phyllosoma Group: Pod Weight: Male: 4-12 lbs Female: 2-5 lbs Gestation: 2.5 months Life Span: Females: 20-40 years Males: 30-75 years Body Length: Male: 1-2 ft Female: 0.8-1 ft Antenna Length: Male: 2-4 ft Female: 1.6-2 ft Main predators are California sheephead, giant sea bass, cabezon, leopard sharks, horn sharks, octopus, sea otters, California moray eels, rockfish, & kelp bass. Males place putty-like spermatophore on female’s sternum during mating. Females lay 50,000-1,600,000 eggs per clutch w/ larger females having larger clutches. Spermatophore can remain in place for months, allowing females to store sperm until eggs fully developed & ready to be fertilized. These plastered females most abundant from January-May w/ egg laying most abundant around this time. Eggs usually hatch from June-early October. When eggs hatch, larvae go through 11 different development stages w/ planktonic stages for 1st 7-8 months of life. Then they enter puerulus stage where they’re not quite juveniles but past planktonic stage. Juvenile stage starts at around 11-12 months old. Maturity reached at 3-5 years old. Males reach maturity before females. Active at night (nocturnal). To keep growing, they must molt exoskeleton once a year in fall. Much more vulnerable to predators during this time. Important in keeping populations of sea urchins down. Fun Fact(s): Instead of claws, they use spiny body & powerful bite as defense. When threatened by predator, they’ll flex tail to escape backwards & emit loud violin-like rasping sound from antennae.