Common Lobster

Bad tempered, big claws and hard armour

Author: Pat
18th December 2014

Most people will recognise a lobster from their dinner plate and it is often a common belief they are red. However, they only turn red after the cooking process.

communicate through urinating from their head

The common or European lobster (Homarus gammarus) is a very distinctive lobster with large claws located at the front of the body. The claws will be different sizes as they serve different functions. The larger of the two will be for crushing hard prey items, such as mussels and snails. The smallest of the pair is used for slicing. Waving around above the claws, from the top of the head is a larger set of antenna. This compensates for poor eyesight by heightening their sense of taste and smell. It is also true that lobster communicate through urinating from their head. Whilst diving, these are going to be the main parts of the lobster you will see as they hideaway during the day in rocky crevices.

Lobsters belong to the crustacean subphylum along with shrimp, crab and copepods. They are from the order Decapoda as they are a 10-legged crustacean. Common lobsters will use these legs for walking around the seabed scavenging for food; the tail can be used for swimming and avoiding predators. Like all crustaceans they have a hard protective exoskeleton which must be moulted whenever they need to grow.

Commercial importance throughout the UK has lead to massive population declines.


  • Broad range. Where there is suitable habitat they can often be found. Rocky substrate and rocky caves
  • All around Europe excluding the Baltic.
  • Found from shallow depth down to a recorded depth of 150 meters. Average around 50 meters.

Key Identifying Features

  • Distinct large pinching claws
  • Large antenna
  • Blue colouration

Conservation Status

  • Least concern


Compiled by Ellie Richards, a marine biologist and enthusiastic UK diver. Check out Ellie’s page on Instagram

MORE Species
Pollock, Lundy Island


Less tasty than a cod, easier to spot

Grey seal at Lundy Island

Video: grey seals

A common sight in and around the kelp forests

Northern pike

Northern pike

Crocodilian predator with sharp teeth patrols lakes up and down the country

Wels catfish

VIDEO: Wels catfish

A collection of glimpses, close encounters and near misses with a 6-ft freshwater catfish

©2024 British Diver