Squat Lobster

Squat Lobster (Munidolopsis alvisca)

Two Squat Lobsters on Escargot vent, Axial Seamount. Photo credit: NSF-OOI/UW/WHOI; V11

This Crustacean is light tan in color and has six walking legs, and two significantly larger claws. A tail can be found curled underneath the thorax, along with another pair of smaller appendages that are believed to be used for cleaning. There are two pairs of antennae protruding from the front of the carapace. Squat Lobsters are found primarily on and near hydrothermal vents, and eat both sulfur oxidizing bacteria and organic vent debris. They range in length from 20 to 30 mm from eye socket to rear edge, and the width of their carapace ranges 10 to 15 mm.

Austin, Williams. “New Marine Decapod Crustaceans From Waters Influenced by Hydrothermal Discharge, Brine, and Hydrocarbon Seepage.” Fishery Bulletin 86: 263-287. Web. 27 July 2014.

Keiji Baba, Shane T. Ahyong & Enrique Macpherson (2011). “Morphology of marine squat lobsters”. In Gary Poore, Shane Ahyong & Joanne Taylor, The Biology of Squat Lobsters.