European Spiny Lobster - Palinurus Elephas

palinurus elephas european spiny lobster

Latin: Palinurus Elephas

English: Spiny Lobster, European Spiny Lobster

German: Die Gewöhnliche Languste

French: La Langouste Rouge, Langouste Commune

Italian: L'Aragosta Mediterranea

Spanish: La Langosta Europea

Croatian: Jastog, Prug, Angust, Ragosta

About: European Spiny Lobster is a lobster of Palinuridae family. It has slightly compressed, brown-reddish body with large, spiny antennae.

As camouflage, it has numerous brown-yellow spots and stripes.

Maximum length is around 60cm, but that is very rare. Usually, it grows up to 40cm, with 25-30cm specimen being more common.

It is nocturnal animal rarely active during the day. It feeds on crabs, small worms or even dead animals.

Its breading season is in September and October, although in some areas it can continue during entire winter.

Habitat: European Spiny Lobster is commonly found in Eastern Atlantic, from Norway to Morocco, Azores included and in the Mediterranean Sea, except its Eastern parts, where it is very rare.

It lives on rocky bottoms with plenty of holes, caves and vegetation which provides both shelter and opportunity to catch or find a food.

It can be found from shallows to larger depths, but it prefers areas between 20 and 70 meters.

palinurus elephas european spiny lobster

European Spiny Lobster in its habitat - overgrown rocky bottom with crevices or caves - showing its carapace and antennae.

Photo with permission from RK Nautilus - Split, Croatia.

Fishing period: It is caught all year long, but mostly during the warmer months, during the night.

It must be noted that in many areas, European Spiny Lobster is protected species and when caught under certain length, it must be released.

Fishing rigs and tackle: Mostly, it is caught in lobster traps and nets. Also, it can be hooked - on longline or even on handline/rod and reel, with hooks baited with chunks of fish.

When hooked, it feels like pulling a rock with a 'thump' from time to time from its tail.

Also, it can be caught with a speargun, when found in shallow waters - if you find such animal during spearfishing, try not to shoot it, but press it with an arrow to the bottom and grab it with your hand by its back. If animal is below required length, release it. If above required length, then it can live for longer period of time and stay fresh to be prepared as delicacy :)


European Spiny Lobster on fish-market, with Golden Grey Mullet - Liza Aurata.

Photo by N.M.

Cuisine: Palinurus Elephas is one of the best delicacies from the sea. Any form of cooking makes fantastic meal - mostly it is prepared in fish stew, mixed with other crustaceans and fish, but also boiled, grilled, as part of risotto, in various main course salads etc.