Western ‘Rock Lobster’ is more than just a catchy song from the B-52’s; it’s the species listed as the most valuable for fisheries in Western Australia. What do you need to know about the Western Rock Lobster? In short, it’s a tasty meal best tried at our Lobster Shack restaurant for lunch. But there’s a whole lot more to know about this creature…
What is a Rock Lobster?
Rock Lobsters are a spiny lobster species found all along the western coast of Australia. They are distinguished by their strong, colourful carapaces and get their name from their rostral spines and hundreds of pointy spines all over the carapace.
This species can live for around 20 years, growing to sizes in excess of 5kg. However, most fisheries only catch lobsters at around 3kg in weight due to fishing regulations. The Rock Lobster season now extends all year round, starting in the middle of January. From August to January, larval-stage Rock Lobsters begin to settle on reefs all along the western inshore regions of Australia.
It should also be noted that there are at least eight species of Rock Lobster that live along the western coast of Australia, but the predominant species and the one we’re referring to is Panulirus cygnus, the Western Rock Lobster.
Crayfish or Lobster?
Often, Western Rock Lobsters are referred to as ‘Australian spiny lobster,’ ‘crayfish’ or simply as ‘crays’. That means there’s no need to go crazy over crays versus lobsters, because they’re the same thing! In the Australian fishing industry, they’re often simply called crayfish, whilst their species is lobster.
Colloquially, Rock Lobsters may often be called by other names such as yabbie or homard, the latter of which is French for lobster.
There’s Always a Bigger Fish
What are the prey and predators of the Rock Lobster? Their diet mostly consists of molluscs and crustaceans, as well as coralline algae and detritus, which is simply dead or dying marine matter. Essentially, they are omnivores that feed on whatever they can as they scavenge, often deep down in the ocean or, in coastal areas, at the bed. Some have even been known to cannibalise each other, perhaps due to an explosion in the lobster population in certain areas.
When it comes to predators, humans have long enjoyed cooking and preparing lobsters; that’s no secret. In the animal kingdom, however, their biggest predators are octopuses and bigger fish. Octopus, in particular, love feasting on lobster both in the wild and in fisheries. They can be problematic and a nuisance if allowed to enter fisheries, since they will happily feast on the entire lobster population within the fishery if left unchecked.
One fun little fact about the Western Rock Lobster is that they can regrow their antennae and limbs in the event that they are torn off in a skirmish.
Try Tasty Lobster Today
Lobster is a delight that deserves to be enjoyed. Western Rock Lobster is unbelievably tasty, and due to its high demand as a delicacy, don’t hesitate to splurge to have it prepared just right. The classic pairing with lobster will always be melted butter and lemon, but it also has an excellent flavour to incorporate in a bisque or soup.
Come try the Western Rock Lobster the way it’s meant to be prepared at our Lobster Shack restaurant in Cervantes.