Scientific Name and Authority

Panulirus versicolor   (Latrielle, 1804)


Spiny Lobsters (Panuluridae) lack the prominent claws and rostrum associated with true lobsters (Homarus spp.) Their carapaces have two frontal horns and are armed with numerous dorsal spines. The second antennae are thick, with spines on their first three basal segments, and are about equal to their body length. Panulirus versicolor has smooth abdominal somites, lacking a transverse groove. Abdominal somites 1-6 have a distinct, continuous transverse band along the posterior margins, with dark bands on either side of them. The third maxilliped lacks an exopod. The antennular plate, at the base of the 1st antennae, has 4 strong spines, in a square. The total body length reaches 400 mm, but the average maximum size is around 300 mm. Males tend to be larger than females. The carapace has a whitish background, with large areas of bluish-black. The peduncles of the antennae are pinkish, with thick black spines, and the flagellae of the antennae are white. (Description from: Holthuis 1991; Page 2013)

Taxonomic Classification:

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Crustacea
Class: Malacostraca
Subclass: Eumalacostraca
Superorder: Eucarida
Order: Decapoda
Suborder: Pleocyemata
Infraorder: Achelata
Family: Panuliridae
Genus: Panulirus
Species: versicolor


Panulirus taeniatus (Lamarck, 1818)

Panulirus ornatus decoratus (Heller, 1865)

Puer spiniger (Ortmann, 1894)

Panulirus demani (Boradaille, 1899)

Senex ornatus laevis (Lanchester, 1901)

Puerulus spiniper (Calman, 1909)

Panulirus ornatus laevis- (de Man, 1916)

Potentially Misidentified Species:

Panulirus argus

Caribbean Spiny Lobster, native, North Carolina-Brazil, brown and whitish color

Panulirus gracilis

East Pacific species, morphologically similar, brownish-blue-green carapace, with yellow lateral spots.