Painted Rock Lobster Panulirus Versicolour

Distribution: Panulirus versicolor is a species of spiny lobster that lives in shallow tropical reefs in waters of the western Pacific and the Indian Ocean. In the Indian Ocean it occurs from as far south on the east coast of Africa as Natal, up through the Red Sea and Persian Gulf, in the Arabian Sea across to India, Myanmar, Thailand, and Malaysia, down through Indonesia to the waters of north-western Australia. In the western Pacific it occurs as far north as southern Japan, throughout Micronesia, Melanesia, Polynesia and in the waters of north-eastern Australia.

Size: P. versicolor grows up to 40cm long, but is typically no more than 30cm in length.

Characteristics: It has no claws, two spiny rostra over the eyes, and two pairs of large antennae, like all spiny lobsters. The first pair of antennae are double ended, the second hard and spiny, both are usually white. The carapace is white, pink and black, with horizontal bands and a reticule. The abdomen is green with transverse black and white bands. The legs are dark brown with white stripes and the tail is blue-green.

In the daytime they hide in small caves and crevices in reefs or under coral at depths up to 15 metres. They are carnivores, eating both carrion and fresh caught arthropods, other crustaceans, and occasional small fish.