Common Lobster - Homarus Gammarus

Phylum - Arthropoda

Class - Crustacea

Order - Decapoda

Family - Nephropidae

Genus - Homarus

Size - Body Length : Up to 1m


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


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.

Key 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.

Minimum sizes

Do not take lobsters smaller than 87 mm carapace length.

The carapace length is the distance between the back of the eyesocket and the rear of the carapace, as illustrated in the diagram below.

"V" Notched

Lobsters do not take lobsters with a notched or mutilated tail.

ā€œUā€ and ā€œVā€ shaped notches are used in alternate years and are illustrated below. A mutilated tail is one where any of the 5 tail flaps are damaged or missing.

Recorded Distibution

The Lobster can be found in all waters surrounding Great Britain and Ireland.

According to the Guinness Book of Records the largest specimen of the larger American Lobster, Homarus americanus, measured 1.06 metres (3 ft 6 in) from the end of the tail-fan (telson) to the tip of the largest claw and weighed 20.14 kg (44 lb 6 oz). It was caught off Nova Scotia.

The largest European Lobster, Homarus gammarus (= H. vulgaris), on record measured 1.26 metres and weighed 9.3 kg (20 lb 8 oz). It was caught during reconstruction work on a jetty off Fowey in Cornwall as long ago as 1931. Its crushing claw weighed 1188 g (2 lb 10 oz) after the meat was removed. Its total length was 1.26 metres. (Guinness Book of Records 1991)

The length that the European Lobster will normally grow to if it is not captured is a total length of 50 cm, weighing about 5 kg (11 lb). A lobster of this size may be 20 years old.

Need to measure Lobster?

Why not look at our lobster measuring gauge page.

Fishing Gauges by Alexander Pollock
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