Skip to main content

Spotted Lobster

Panulirus guttatus


  • Body coloration is dark purplish-black to brown (typically darker than spiny lobster)
  • Many small round cream colored spots cover body, legs and tail
  • Horizontal stripes on end segments of all walking legs
  • Two long spiny antennae
  • Small antennae-like structures, called antennules, near larger antennae
  • Lack large front claws or pincers
  • Forward-pointing spines cover their bodies and serve as protection from predators

Similar Species

Spiny lobster, P. argus


Up to 8 inches in body length


Crevices in shallow, hard bottom areas of south Florida and the Caribbean.

Unlike spiny lobster whose larvae settle in nearshore habitats and eventually migrate to the reef, spotted lobster are reef obligates, meaning their larvae settle on the reef and lobsters stay on the reefs throughout their lives.


Nocturnal animals that shelter during the day to avoid predation.

They wave their long antennae to scare off predators, while smaller antennules sense movement and detect chemicals in the water.

Feeds primarily on bivalves, carrion, chitons, and gastropods from the ocean floor. Their diet may also consist of worms, sea urchins, crustaceans, and plants.


May spawn all year in tropical warm waters. Females carry bright orange eggs on the underside of their tail until the eggs turn brown and hatch, releasing the larvae.

Additional Information

Recreational Regulations
Unregulated; however, egg bearing females must be released.

Image credit: Casey Butler