This is a female spiny lobster (Panulirus interruptus) who resides in the Biotic Interactions exhibit. Her coloration would normally be darker in color, but she just molted which makes her much paler. As with most invertebrates, lobsters are at their most vulnerable state right after they molt, as their shells are very soft. They hide during this time while their shell hardens, and eat their molted shell for extra calcium. It can take up to two weeks to fully harden so the aquarists keep a close eye on them to ensure they are not bothered by tank mates. Unlike lobsters on the east coast, spiny lobsters, which are found along our coast, don’t have large claws to use for defense but instead have spines on their backs for that purpose.
Kim Rotter, Veterinary Assistant