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The Seashore

Squat Lobster (Galathea squamifera)

Squat Lobster (Galathea squamifera)

Somewhat like a very small lobster, they have very long chelae (pincers). This species has a greenish-brown body spotted here and there with red. There are spines along the side of the chelae and over some legs. Up to 6 cm long although usually smaller. When disturbed squat lobsters wildly flick the abdomen which is bent under the body. Under water this gives a rapid escape backwards. They feed on large pieces of organic matter or debris which has undergone considerable decay so that it is full of micro-organisms. When they feed on the latter the material will be so fine that it requires sieving. The mouthparts, like other crustaceans, are quite complex. Some of these parts have many hairs and these are used to waft the particles to the mouth. This is one reason they are found in sheltered conditions where the material can become deposited. In France and Spain, several species of the larger squat lobsters are a delicacy and eaten by humans.

It is found on the lower shore under large stones in fairly sheltered conditions of rocky seashores. It is widely distributed along the European coastline, in the Channel region and the Atlantic. Common in the Mediterranean where there are even more species to choose from


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