• Scenic View from Inspiration Point, Anacapa Island ©timhaufphotography.com

    Channel Islands

    National Park California

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California Spiny Lobster

NPS
 

Common Name
California Spiny Lobster

Scientific Name
Panulirus interruptus

Habitat
Kelp forests and surfgrass beds.

Additional Information
This species of spiny lobster is often encountered in rocky dens or in beds of surfgrass at relatively shallow depths. As highly prized targets for fishermen and divers, most California spiny lobsters do not live longer than 5-7 years before being caught. They have been known to achieve lengths of over 3 feet long and weighing 16 pounds.

As predators, lobsters play a central role in maintaining the diversity of intertidal and subtidal communities. Predation on kelp-eating species such as sea urchins helps to maintain a balance in the kelp forest ecosystem, providing a more stable habitat for other species that rely on the kelp for food and shelter. The kelp forests of the Channel Islands offer an excellent rocky habitat for their pelagic larvae arriving with the converging currents from the south.

Did You Know?

Brown pelican on nest

The Channel Islands are home to the largest breeding colonies of seabirds in southern California.