Flat Lobster

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

flat lobster slipper lobster, and flat-head lobster are all English names for crustaceans of the family Scyllaridae, species of which are found in warm or temperate waters all round the world. Many of the European names mean something like ‘cricket of the sea’; this because they make cricket-like noises in the water.

The flat lobsters all have the same shape—flattish, and with shovel-shaped feelers at the front—and general characteristics, but vary in colour and size. Scyllarides latus, of the Mediterranean, may be up to 45 cm (18") long, while Scyllarus arctus, the principal species of the E. Atlantic, is only half that size. In the Indo-Pacific, Thenus orientalis is the main species and it has a length up to 25 cm (10"); a slightly smaller relation, Ibacus ciliatus, is distinguished by having a bright red back.