Squat lobster (Eumunida picta)Photo Credit: S.W. Ross and M. Rhode (UNCW)
Description: Even though it’s called a lobster this creature is more closely related to a hermit crab. Rather than living in a shell like it’s hermit crab cousins, the squat lobster either roams freely or squeezes its hind quarters into cracks and crevasses in deep-water reefs, leaving its claws outstretched to catch fish, squids or other animals that swim too close. There is a robust commercial fishery for some of the over 1000 species of squat lobster, or ‘langostino’ as it’s referred to in South American cuisine. This particular species is common in deep Lophelia reefs and on methane seeps.
Figure 1: Relative probability of occurrence of Squat lobster (Eumunida picta) based on computer generated distribution maps. Data source: AquamapsDepth Profile
Figure 2: Approximate depth range of Squat lobster (black box). Slope of seafloor is a generalized representation of the Gulf of Mexico shelf and outer continental shelf.