Scientific name: Homarus gammarus
A well known inhabitant of UK seas, common lobsters can reach up to 60cm in length.

Species information


Length: usually up to 50cm
Average lifespan: up to 15 years

Conservation status

Common, but vulnerable to local overexploitation

When to see

January to December


Common lobsters are very familiar animals, with big front pincers and a long body that ends with a wide tail fan. Their pincers are different sizes, with one used for crushing and one for tearing. Lobsters are crustaceans and are related to crabs and even barnacles!

Common lobsters live in crevices and excavated hidey-holes amongst rocks beneath the low tide mark and out to depths of 60m. They hide during the day and come out to feed at night. Lobsters are scavengers, searching out food on the seabed, and will eat molluscs, sea urchins and other smaller crustaceans. If you spot a lobster with thousands of tiny jelly balls on their legs, don't worry they're her eggs! Female lobsters carry their fertilised eggs around for up to 12 months to protect them from predators before they hatch. We say a female with eggs is "berried".

How to identify

Unmistakeable: common lobsters are a deep blue colour, with 2 long red antennae. They have long body and 2 large pincers, one markedly chunkier than the other - this is the crusher and the thinner pincer is the tearer.


Found around all UK coasts.

Did you know?

Lobsters are actually blue! They only turn red when cooked. When the lobster is alive, this red pigment is bound to a protein; but the heat of cooking breaks the bond, releasing the red pigment and turning the lobster bright red.

How people can help

Evidence has shown that Marine Protected Areas have a positive impact on lobster populations, with immature lobsters "spilling over" into the surrounding non-protected sea to find new territories.