Key West Lobster
One of the many sea creatures that can be encountered on a dive with Key West snorkeling is the spiny lobster. The spiny lobster is often referred to as the Caribbean or Florida spiny lobster. It inhabits both tropical and subtropical waters of the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean. They are called spiny lobsters because of their spines, which point forward and cover the entire length of their bodies. Their spines help them to ward off predators. They also employ long antennae above their eyes to scare off predators. The spiny lobster also has smaller antennae above the eyes, which are uses to detect movement in the water and also the existence of chemicals in the water.
The color of a spiny lobster can differ greatly depending on its location. Some are creamy white while others are dark red or orange, and there are also many that come in various shades of brown and gray. The spiny lobster is very easy to identify and distinguish from other lobsters because it has two, almost beige colored spots on the top of the tail's second segment.
These lobsters usually live in coral reef and cavernous crevices that protect them from predators. They usually stay in their dens for the duration of the day in order to avoid predators and will come out at night to search for food.
The search for food is not that involved, since these lobsters will eat just about anything they can find. However, they mostly eat clams, crabs and snails. The search for food usually lasts the entire night, with the spiny lobster returning to its den a couple of hours before sunrise.
It is also easy to spot them and recognize them because of their unique movements underwater. When the lobster is startled or frightened by another creature, it will kick its large abdominal tail in an effort to swiftly swim back into its protective underwater home. Sometimes on a Key West snorkel, you'll be able to spot them among the other fish species among the reef!