Squat Lobster Caviar

photo: E. Loury

by Erin Loury, Ichthyology Lab

This bright white crustacean is a squat lobster pulled from the deep during a government fishing survey in southern California.  Squat lobsters aren’t actually lobsters at all (they’re more closely related to porcelain crabs and hermit crabs), and are much smaller than lobsters (note my finger in the photo below).  Their tucked-under abdomens and extended claws always make me imagine them doing some kind of yoga pose.  Flipping this one over indicated that it (or rather, she!) was closely guarding a clutch of bright red eggs.  Holding them close is probably a good idea – they look like they’d make a tasty snack for some predator swimming by!

Clearly this one is a female! (photo: E. Loury)

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