There are other kinds of lobsters throughout the world. Some greatly resemble to American lobsters, while others are quite different. In fact, there are two categories of lobsters: there are lobsters with claws (european lobster, scampi, and crayfish) and lobsters without claws (rock lobster and slipper lobster). This section presents a very general portrait of the main relatives of the American lobster throughout the world.
Lobsters with clawsThe European lobster (Homarus gammarus) is almost identical to the American lobster. It is its closest relative. It lives in the waters of the North-Eastern Atlantic, from Norway to Morocco. It can also be found in the North Sea, in the Western and Central part of the Mediterranean, as well in the Western part of the Black Sea. It often has a more bluish colour, sometimes a little greener than the American lobster.
Scampi are a smaller and more delicate species than American lobsters. Their claws are as long as their bodies and they live in depths ranging between 15 and 800 meters. There are at least 17 scampi species throughout the world, divided into three genera (Metanephrops, Nephrops et Nephropsis). The Métanephrops genus is found along coasts from Japan to Australia, in the Eastern part of the Indian Ocean and along the East coast of Africa. They are also found along the coasts of Central America (from Florida to French Guiana). The Nephropsis genus can also be found off the coast of Central America (from New Jersey to French Guiana). The Nephrops genus is also found along the European coasts and in the Mediterranean.
They look a lot like small lobsters without getting as big as adult lobsters. Generally, crayfish measure approximately 7 to 8 cm total length. Contrary to all the other species described, no crayfish live in seawater. They live in fresh water, in rivers and lakes. They are found in practically every country in the world, and there are a very large number of species (more than 500 species).
Lobsters without claws
Rock lobsters are easy to identify because they do not have any claws and they have a pair of very large antennas, which are longer than the body. There exist in all 49 lobster species throughout the world and 33 of them are exploited by fishermen. Their form, their colouring, the spines on their carapace, and their size characterize them. All these species are divided into 8 genera scattered around the world.
Slipper lobsters belong to the Scillaridae. Just like rock lobsters, they do not have any claws and they have, where the large antennas usually are, two large flat appendages. Slipper lobsters are very easy to recognize by their strange form. They live in warm water around the world. Certain species live in the Mediterranean and the Eastern Atlantic (Europe). Since they do not have claws, sometimes they are also called “rock lobsters”. There are at least 64 species of slipper lobsters divided into four genus (Ibacus, Parribacus, Scyllarides, and Thenus). Some of them are exploited by fishermen.