Unique and Peculiar Squat Lobsters

Updated June 17, 2010

Here’s a list of colorful and unique species of squat lobsters.

There are about 870 known species of squat lobsters. What are squat lobsters? Squat lobsters are decapods crustaceans that belong to the Galathea and Munida genera. They are not lobsters but rather more closely related to hermit crabs and porcelain crabs.

Although smaller than true lobsters, the flesh of lobsters is commercially sold for consumption.

Feather Star Squat Lobster (Allogalathea elegans)

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The Feather Star Squat Lobster is one of the most colorful squat lobsters that are sometimes kept as pets. This species of squat lobster can be 1.5 to 2 inches in length. Its body is egg-shaped and striped. It inhabits the waters of Indo-Pacific region. It is also commonly known as Crinoid Squat Lobster and Elegant Squat Lobster because of its striking and colorful appearance.

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Allogalathea elegans comes in different color variation. The squat lobster on the above photo is a black and white color morph. As a pet, it prefers thawed food but will also eat small freeze dried items.

Galathea strigosa

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This is the largest species of squat lobster growing up to 7.5 inches in length. The Galathea strigosa can be found in the Atlantic Ocean, in the Mediterranean and in the Red Sea. This squat lobster is characterized by the transverse blue stripes across its body. It is suitable for consumption but not fish commercially.

Galathea intermedia

If Galathea strigosa is the largest species of squat lobster, the smallest is Galathea intermedia. It can attain a length of .71 inch only. It inhabits the Atlantic Ocean. Its body is red-colored with beige stripe along the back with neon blue spots.

Euminda picta

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This beautiful squat lobster which is scientifically named Eumunida picta is a species that is strongly associated with reefs of Lophelia pertusa, a deep-water coral. It is also associated with methane seeps. It can be found in the Atlantic Ocean from Massachusetts down to Colombia.

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Furry Lobster (Kiwa hirsuta)

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One of the most popular and unique-looking squat lobster due to its peculiar appearance is the Kiwa hirsuta. It was discovered recently in the Pacific Ocean. This species, which grows up to 6 inches long is remarkable for the quantity of silky blond setae that covers its legs and claw. Because of its unusual appearance it was tagged by its discoverers as ‘Yeti Lobster or Yeti crab’. It can be found at the Pacific Ocean at a depth of 7,200 feet.

Munidopsis serricornis

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The Munidopsis serricornis is a squat lobster that is widely distributed in all of the world’s oceans. It can attain a length of .79 inches. It lives both in tropical waters in the temperate regions.

Mudina quadrispina

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This colorful species of squat lobster belongs to the genus Munida, the largest genus of squat lobsters with more than 240 known species. The above-photo of a Munida quadrispina was taken at the Vancouver Aquarium in Canada.

Mudina polymorpha

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Does it look like a spider? Or does it resemble a scorpion? This squat lobster species is called Munidopsis polymorpha. It is a blind albino cave crab making it unique from other squat lobster species. It is endemic to Canary Islands specifically in the caves of Jameos del Agua.

See also