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

    Channel Islands

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    Certain trails are temporarily closed on Anacapa Island to all public entry for the protection of breeding western gulls. More »

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    In the interest of public safety, the U.S. Navy is closing San Miguel Island until further notice due to recent concerns of possible unexploded ordnance. More »

California Spiny Lobster


Common Name
California Spiny Lobster

Scientific Name
Panulirus interruptus

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?

Painted Cave, Santa Cruz Island

Painted Cave on Santa Cruz Island is one of the world’s largest known sea caves. The cave measures 1215 feet in length (the size of more than four football fields), has a 160 foot entrance, and is almost 100 feet wide.