The spiny Caribbean lobster, belonging to the Panulirus argus family, is one of the largest crustaceans found in coral reefs. It is a popular seafood item mainly found along the continental area of the southeast United States from North Carolina to Texas, down to the Caribbean and past Brazil.
What is Spiny Caribbean Lobster?
The spiny Caribbean lobster got its name from the rough spines that cover its body, which act as shields and protect them against predators. They usually have a reddish-brown shell with multiple dark spots and a tail that has cream-colored spots. They have long antennae-type structures over their eyes that scare off predators. Their smaller antennules help detect movement or the presence of chemicals in the water. They are mostly harvested for their tail meat and unlike the American lobster, they don’t have front claws.
Caribbean spiny lobsters grow by a process called molting. They evacuate their old shells and absorb water at the same time to grow in size. They can grow up to 15 pounds in size and have a lifespan of roughly 15 years. However, it takes them nearly 2 years to reach harvesting size.
These lobsters inhabit shallow waters to a depth of nearly 295 feet. The larval spiny lobsters initially float on the water surface but eventually inhabit bays, reefs, and estuarine areas as adults. Their harvest season is mainly from the months of August to March.
Taste and Texture of the Spiny Caribbean Lobster
The spiny Caribbean lobster has a delicate sweet taste and a soft texture. Their quality and texture are dependent on their handling, as lobsters have a very short shelf lifespan and must be kept alive until they’re cooked.
What’s Special about Spiny Caribbean Lobster?
This lobster is considered a smart seafood choice because it is sustainably managed in many areas and is harvested under strict rules and regulations in the United States.
Culinary Uses of Spiny Caribbean Lobster
The spiny Caribbean lobster is a favorite among seafood enthusiasts because it has more meat compared to the other lobster types. This lobster goes well with traditional ingredients like butter and garlic, but it is used with a wide range of unique ingredients like rum, lemongrass, mangoes, and various seasonings. Try out our recipe for Rosé butter and lobster salad that’s bursting with elegant flavors.
Lobsters can be grilled, steamed, curried, or fried and are specially added into sandwiches, risottos, pasta, soups, and salads due to their uniquely delicate flavor and soft texture. Try our delicious lobster recipes like Lobster rolls and Sous Vide Lobster that give a melt-in-the-mouth tenderness coupled with an exquisite flavor.
Feature Image: Flickr user mastrfshrmn ( CC BY 2.0 )