Keys Critters! Lobsters and Seahorses Join the Aquarium!

I’m talking about Florida Spiny Lobsters, the yummy crustacean that brings down thousands of visitors to the Florida Keys every summer for Lobster season. Spiny Lobsters are amazing critters, and found frequently on menus in the Florida Keys. Interested in what a spiny lobster looks like up close and personal? Aquarium Encounters has just added a new interactive exhibit to our facility full of Lobsters that you can feed.

The Spiny Lobster is a species of Lobster found in the warm waters of the Caribbean, hiding in coral crevices and rocky holes during the day. Their name comes from the pointy spines that line their body from their head to their tails.  Unlike the popular Maine lobster, Spiny lobsters do not have large front claws, and they are a brownish orange color with black lines and spots. When searching for lobster out in the ocean, divers look for their antennae, usually sticking out from their hiding spots. In Florida, FWC has some strict regulations that you must keep in mind when looking for lobster. When diving for spiny lobsters for dinner you should always have a measuring instrument to make sure that you are collecting legal sized lobster. A legal sized lobster has a greater than 3 inch carapace; that is the size of the body of the lobster, from the base of the tail to the point of the head between their eyes. You cannot remove the tail from a lobster until you are on land, the reason this law exists is because you cannot tell the legality of a lobster without the carapace! FWC is very strict on enforcing these regulations, so read the guides, rules and regulations before hunting for your dinner and of course be safe out there.  Lobster season brings down hundreds of boaters all just searching for these tasty critters. Be mindful of others when you are on the water and be sure to always have your dive flag up, when divers are down!

As a growing aquarium we are always adding new things to do, if you haven’t been by our facility in a little while, stop in and checkout our Lined Seahorse exhibit! These little sea critters are a great addition to our tide pool touch tank, guests can watch them feeding on brine shrimp throughout day. The Lined Seahorse do not have any teeth, just a hard snout that they suck their prey into. If you listen closely enough, you can hear the little popping sounds they make when devouring their food; eating mostly small crustaceans, mollusks and zooplankton. The Lined Seahorse can be found in 2 to 200 feet of water. Using their dexterous tail, they connect themselves to drifting sargassum, or seaweed, and camouflage their bodies. Did you know that Lined Seahorses have the males carry the fertilized eggs to term, then have live birth?  Guests can check out these awesome critters at our tide pool touch tank.