Common lobster (Homarus gammarus)

NBN Interactive08-05-2008

Map accurate at time of writing. Visit NBN or OBIS to view current distribution

Researched byEmily Wilson Refereed byAdmin
Authority(Linnaeus, 1758)
Other common names- Synonyms-



A large lobster that can grow up to one metre in length, but 50 cm is more common. It is blue-coloured above with coalescing spots and yellowish below. The first pair of walking legs carry massive (but slightly unequal) pincers which can be formidable and dangerous. The body lacks strong spines or ridges and is only slightly granular.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

All British and Irish coasts.

Global distribution



It is found on rocky substrata, living in holes and excavated tunnels from the lower shore to about 60 m depth.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • Large eyes, same width as eye stalks.
  • Spine-like antennal scale.
  • Rostrum rather short and spiny.
  • Strong gastro-orbital groove with, below it, the cervical groove.
  • Chelae large.

Additional information

No text entered

Listed by

- none -

Further information sources

Search on:



  1. Campbell, A., 1994. Seashores and shallow seas of Britain and Europe. London: Hamlyn.

  2. Hayward, P., Nelson-Smith, T. & Shields, C. 1996. Collins pocket guide. Sea shore of Britain and northern Europe. London: HarperCollins.

  3. Hayward, P.J. & Ryland, J.S. (ed.) 1995b. Handbook of the marine fauna of North-West Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  4. Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E. (ed.), 1997. The species directory of the marine fauna and flora of the British Isles and surrounding seas. Belfast: Ulster Museum. [Ulster Museum publication, no. 276.]

  5. JNCC (Joint Nature Conservation Committee), 1999. Marine Environment Resource Mapping And Information Database (MERMAID): Marine Nature Conservation Review Survey Database. [on-line],

  6. NBN (National Biodiversity Network), 2002. National Biodiversity Network gateway., 2008-10-31

  7. Picton, B.E. & Costello, M.J., 1998. BioMar biotope viewer: a guide to marine habitats, fauna and flora of Britain and Ireland. [CD-ROM] Environmental Sciences Unit, Trinity College, Dublin.,


This review can be cited as:

Wilson, E. 2008. Homarus gammarus Common lobster. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. (eds) Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. Available from:

Last Updated: 08/05/2008