Small European Locust Lobster

The Small European Locust Lobster, Scyllarus arctus is a species of slipper lobster frequenting the water in the Mediterranean Sea and eastern Atlantic Ocean. Although it is an uncommon species in the British and Irish waters, various English-language vernacular names have been employed, including Lesser Slipper Lobster, and Broad Lobster.

This species of lobster is found in eastern parts of the Atlantic Ocean, from Azores, Madeira and the Canary Islands as far north as the English Channel, as well as throughout the entire Mediterranean Sea. It is very rare for the species to inhabit the waters anywhere north of the Bay of Biscay. It was believed that the Scyllarus arctus was the only species of Scyllarus inhabiting the Mediterranean Sea, until 1960 when it became known that Scyllarus pygmaeus, a lesser known species, was prevalent throughout much of the Mediterranean Sea. It dwells in muddy or rocky foundations at depths of 13 to 164 feet, and also in Posidonia meadows.

Typically, this slipper lobster measures 2 to 4 inches in length, but may reach lengths of up to 6 inches. It is reddish brown in color, with a vague dark brown spot centered in each abdominal somite. There is a dark blue ring around the each segment of the pereiopods. It can be distinguished from its close relative Scyllarus pygmaeus mostly for its larger size, but additionally by the shape of a tubercle on the last thoracic sternite. On the S. arctus it is flattened, versus a conical shape in S. pygmaeus.

Many dermersal fish prey upon the crustacean. Its limited population and small size make it an undesired target for fishing. However, it still suffers small scale fishery. The slipper lobster is vulnerable to white spot syndrome.

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