Crustaceans

Knowing and Catching California Spiny Lobster

Lobster season opens Saturday, October 3, and many California divers are eagerly awaiting it. This article provides information on the life cycle of these savory crustaceans as well as tips and techniques that will help you catch them. First, let’s take a closer look at Panulirus interruptus, aka the California spiny lobster. The most obvious difference between it and the East Coast’s American lobster is that the American lobster has big claws and the spiny lobster has none. While some sea creatures are involved parents […]

Who You Calling Shrimp?

Shrimp belong to the Phylum Arthropoda, which means jointed leg and includes 75 percent of all animals. They aren’t all aquatic. Spiders, scorpions, centipedes and millipedes are arthropods that live on land. Shrimp are members not only of the Subphylum Crustacea — which includes crabs, lobsters, barnacles, amphipods and isopods — but also of the Class Malacostraca.   This article discusses three so-called “shrimp.” Only one of them, however, is a true shrimp. Here’s a hint: The “shrimp” are: a Hyperiid (Order Amphipoda), a California […]

The Thrill of the Hunt: A Diver’s Guide to Lobster

Who says we don’t have seasons in California? We most certainly do! There is lobster season and everything else. We’ll keep this simple: California spiny lobsters (“bugs”) are very tasty. They’re also hard to find at local seafood specialty stores and restaurants — and are often outrageously expensive when you can find them. Finally, they are a lot of fun to catch while diving! If you have not already done so, perhaps it is time for you to try lobster hunting. Is it easy? Well, […]

Shell Games: The Curious Habits of Hermit Crabs

While riding an Amtrak train along the coast just south of Santa Barbara I had an epiphany. It was sparked by the neatly parked RVs on the two-lane road along the shore below the train tracks. Are you ready? Here it is: Hermit crabs are the RVers of the crab world. Of course, human RVers can live independently of their vehicles while hermit crabs require a sea shell home for protection because only their heads, part of their carapace and the first three pairs of […]

Blend In or Brawl? Crabs as Misunderstood Crustaceans

Some of the sea creatures I’ve described for California Diving News are more than a little aggressive. Many crabs, however, prefer hiding to fighting even when equipped with those seemingly formidable defensive tools called claws. Like 75 percent of all animals, crabs belong to the phylum Arthropoda, which means jointed leg and includes not only aquatic creatures, but also many terrestrial ones, such as spiders, scorpions, centipedes and millipedes. The subphylum Crustacea includes crabs, lobsters, shrimps, barnacles, amphipods and isopods. Some isopods and a few […]

How to Photograph Lobster

Now that the fever of lobster hunting has died down as far as eating them goes, perhaps it is time we pick up our cameras and turn our attention to photographing them instead. These funny crustaceans that we just grab and head them off to the dinner table are actually quite interesting creatures, albeit on the simple side.  ABOUT LOBSTER The California spiny lobster (Panulirus interruptus) is actually not a lobster, per se, but rather a crayfish. They lack the large front claws of their […]

Is That Lobster Smiling at Me? (plus hunting tips)

Do lobsters have lips? I’d swear they do for all too often I have seen them smiling at me. During the off-season they definitely look at me with that “can’t touch this” grin and I think I can even sometimes hear them snicker. But during the season it is really upsetting. They crouch back in their deep holes just a smilin’. I have not done well the last few lobster seasons. Now granted, I often have a camera in my hand and it is difficult […]

How to Photograph the California Spiny Lobster

As the clock struck twelve, thousands of hard-core lobster-hunting divers invaded many popular California dive sites on the night lobster season opened, either by crashing through the surf or by jumping off boats in search of that oh-so-delicious crustacean, the California spiny lobster. For some, this invasion proved rewarding, but for many others, myself included, we returned home holding an empty game bag and perhaps the memory of the big one that got away. In my days of a wannabe lobster hunter, I unfortunately came […]

Little Known Lobster Facts

It is that time of year again when the underwater hunters come out of the woodwork beating their chest and weaving great stories and yarns about fantastic exploits of lobster hunting. While you may not be the greatest lobster hunter, you can certainly impress your buddies with some obscure facts about the wily crustaceans. Want to impress your friends with a few facts about lobster are not generally known? Read on! FAMILY TIES California spiny lobster (Panulirus interruptus) is only a distant cousin to the […]

A Splattering of Barnacles

One of the interesting trivialities that has infiltrated the English language is the wide assortment of words that refer to multiple groupings of animals and other things. Some of these—schools of fishes, flocks of birds, pods of whales, prides of lions—are well known, and we tend to take them for granted. Others, however—smack of jellyfishes, squadron of pelicans and rumpus of apes—are rather obscure and almost seem unnecessary. Sometimes, although not always, there is a logical history behind these terms. For instance, since the lion […]

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