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Squat Lobster

Squat Lobster, Vancouver Island, BC
Squat Lobster, Vancouver Island, BC, photo by Shannon Briggs

Munida quadraspina, also known as squat lobsters are not lobsters at all, they are crabs.  They can be found worldwide, there are more than 60 genera and almost 1000 species.  Munida quadraspina is found in the pacific northwest waters. This is one in this photo.

Squat lobsters are small and colorful creatures that are always cool to see. They range in size from less than two and a half centimeters up to ten centimeters, depending upon the species. Squat lobsters come with ten legs. The first pair of legs are very long and contain claws. The first ones are quite small and used to clean the gills, the second set is long and is armed with claws. the three pairs of legs after that are used for walking.

Squat lobsters have a short abdomen that is folded under their body. Unlike lobsters and crayfish, squat lobsters don’t have the true appendages that form the tail fan that you will find on true lobsters.  Squat lobsters crabs, but they are not true crabs, and they aren’t lobsters either. They are in fact more closely related to hermit crabs than to lobsters

Squat lobsters are small creatures and are not harvested in most areas of the world. Sometimes they may be harvested and sold as cocktail shrimp and quite often used as poultry feed or as feed on fish farms.

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