Tuesday 18 June
Common lobster (Homarus gammarus)
- The pincers of the common lobster are different sizes and serve different functions, one for cutting and one for crushing.
- The common lobster scavenges on food items found on the seabed.
- A large species, the common lobster can grow up to one metre in length. The heaviest recorded individual weighed over nine kilograms.
- As well as walking, lobsters are able to swim short distances.
Common lobster fact file
- Find out more
- Print factsheet
Common lobster description
The common lobster (Homarus gammarus) is a very large and commercially important species (3). The upper surface is dark blue in colour with yellowish spots; the underside is more yellowish (3). The long abdomen terminates in a broad tail fan, and the first pair of walking legs, which are held forwards, are tipped with very large, formidable pincers. The pincers differ in size; one is used to cut prey, the other for crushing (4).
- Homarus vulgaris.
- Homard Européen.
- Body length: up to 1 m (2)
- In arthropods (crustaceans, insects and arachnids) the abdomen is the hind region of the body, which is usually segmented to a degree. In crustacea (e.g. crabs) the limbs attach to the abdomen; in insects the limbs are attached to the thorax (the part of the body nearest to the head) and not the abdomen. In vertebrates the abdomen is the part of the body that contains the internal organs (except the heart and lungs).
- Stage in an animal’s lifecycle after it hatches from the egg. Larvae are typically very different in appearance to adults; they are able to feed and move around but usually are unable to reproduce.
- Aquatic organisms that drift with water movements; may be either phytoplankton (plants), or zooplankton (animals).
- A marine zone between the littoral zone (the shallow zone where light reaches the bed, subject to submersion and exposure by tides) and depths of around 200m.
IUCN Red List (June, 2011)
Wilson, E. 2002. Homarus gammarus. Common lobster. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Sub-programme [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. (November, 2002)
- Burnie, D. (2001) Animal. Dorling Kindersley, London.
- Fish, J.D. and Fish, S. (1996) A student's guide to the seashore. Second Edition. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
- Buczacki, S. (2002) Fauna Britannica. Hamlyn, London.
- view the contents of, and Material on, the website;
- download and retain copies of the Material on their personal systems in digital form in low resolution for their own personal use;
- teachers, lecturers and students may incorporate the Material in their educational material (including, but not limited to, their lesson plans, presentations, worksheets and projects) in hard copy and digital format for use within a registered educational establishment, provided that the integrity of the Material is maintained and that copyright ownership and authorship is appropriately acknowledged by the End User.
Common lobster biology
The common lobster is a scavenger, and uses its pincers to manipulate food items (4).
The sexes are separate, spawning occurs once a year in summer, and after mating, the female carries the eggs on her walking legs for around 9 months. The larvae are planktonic, and settle at around 3 weeks after hatching (4). Young lobsters are not often found, and very little is known of the behaviour of this stage, but it is believed that they live in coarse sediments and fine mud, where they construct burrows (4). Sexual maturity is reached at around 6 years of age; common lobsters are long-lived, and may live to over 15 years. Unfortunately, very few specimens reach such a ripe age, due to the pressures of intense fishing (4).Top
Common lobster rangeTop
Common lobster habitatTop
Common lobster status
The common lobster is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List (1).Top
Common lobster threats
Numbers of the common lobster have been greatly depleted through overfishing; it is fished commercially using baited 'lobster pots'. As the lifecycle is not fully known, it is extremely difficult to sustainably manage the fishing of this species (5).Top
Common lobster conservation
Specific conservation action has not been targeted at this species.Top
Find out more
For more on this species see the Marine Life Information Network (MarLIN) species account, available from:
This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
More »Related species
Play the Team WILD game
MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.
Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials
Copyright in this website and materials contained on this website (Material) belongs to Wildscreen or its licensors.
Visitors to this website (End Users) are entitled to:
End Users shall not copy or otherwise extract, alter or manipulate Material other than as permitted in these Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials.
Additional use of flagged material
Green flagged material
Certain Material on this website (Licence 4 Material) displays a green flag next to the Material and is available for not-for-profit conservation or educational use. This material may be used by End Users, who are individuals or organisations that are in our opinion not-for-profit, for their not-for-profit conservation or not-for-profit educational purposes. Low resolution, watermarked images may be copied from this website by such End Users for such purposes. If you require high resolution or non-watermarked versions of the Material, please contact Wildscreen with details of your proposed use.
Creative commons material
Certain Material on this website has been licensed to Wildscreen under a Creative Commons Licence. These images are clearly marked with the Creative Commons buttons and may be used by End Users only in the way allowed by the specific Creative Commons Licence under which they have been submitted. Please see http://creativecommons.org for details.
Any other use
Please contact the copyright owners directly (copyright and contact details are shown for each media item) to negotiate terms and conditions for any use of Material other than those expressly permitted above. Please note that many of the contributors to ARKive are commercial operators and may request a fee for such use.
Save as permitted above, no person or organisation is permitted to incorporate any copyright material from this website into any other work or publication in any format (this includes but is not limited to: websites, Apps, CDs, DVDs, intranets, extranets, signage, digital communications or on printed materials for external or other distribution). Use of the Material for promotional, administrative or for-profit purposes is not permitted.