The Painted Rock Lobster, scientifically known as Panulirus versicolor, is a type of spiny lobster. It lives in tropical reefs in the Indo-Pacific.
Painted Rock Lobster goes by many names such as the Common Rock Lobster, Bamboo Lobster, Blue Lobster, and Blue Spiny Lobster.
This type of spiny lobster is very common in Sri Lanka. It’s one of the three most common types there, along with the Panulirus homarus and Panulirus ornatus.
What Does the Name Panulirus Versicolor Mean?
The name Panulirus versicolor comes from two different languages.
The first part, Panulirus, is from the Greek words palin and oura. Palin means backward and oura means tail. So, Panulirus can mean “which stands with the tail folded under the abdomen.”
The second part, versicolor, is a Latin word. It means “of different colors.”
What Does the Painted Rock Lobster Look Like?
The Painted Rock Lobster can grow up to 40 centimeters long, but usually, it’s not more than 30 cm. It does not have claws. Over its eyes, it has two spiny rostra.
Painted Rock Lobster also has two pairs of large antennae. The first pair of antennae are double-ended. The second pair is hard and spiny. Both pairs are usually white.
The Painted Rock Lobster’s body, or carapace, is cylindrical and very hard. It’s made of a material called chitin. The body is white, pink, and black. It has horizontal bands and a reticule.
Its belly is green with black and white bands. Its legs are dark blue to black with white stripes. Its tail is blue-green.
The tail has five yellow parts at its base. The top part of the tail is blue with a white edge. Baby Painted Rock Lobsters are bright blue with white lines.
Are There Other Lobsters that Look Like the Painted Rock Lobster?
Yes, the Painted Rock Lobster looks rather similar to two other types of lobsters. These are the Panulirus femoristriga and Panulirus longipes.
What Is the Life Cycle and Behavior of The Painted Rock Lobster?
The Painted Rock Lobster usually has babies in the summer, but it can happen all year round. The males and females mate belly to belly after a love parade.
The males release a spermatophore that sticks to the female’s belly for several weeks. The female carries her eggs, about several hundred thousand, under her belly.
After the eggs are laid, they go through a long oceanic larval phase with several moults.
These lobsters are night owls. They are active at night and rest in the daytime. During the day, they hide in small caves in reefs or under coral.
They eat dead animals and freshly caught bugs, other crustaceans, and small fish.
Where Can You Find the Painted Rock Lobster?
The Painted Rock Lobster is found in the western Pacific and the Indian Ocean.
In the Indian Ocean, you can find them on the east coast of Africa, the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, the Arabian Sea, India, Myanmar, Thailand, and Malaysia.
They are also found in Indonesia, north-western Australia, southern Japan, Micronesia, Melanesia, Polynesia, and north-eastern Australia.
In 2012, one Painted Rock Lobster was found in the coastal waters of Georgia, United States.
It was the first one reported in the U.S. and the Atlantic Ocean. It might have been released as an adult or transported as a larva in a cargo ship’s ballast water.
What Is the Habitat of The Painted Rock Lobster?
The Painted Rock Lobster lives in shallow tropical waters.
It’s found in coral reef ecosystems and on the outer edges of the reef plateau. It lives at depths up to 15 meters.
What Are the Uses of The Painted Rock Lobster?
The Painted Rock Lobster is very useful to us. It’s heavily fished, which has made it rare or even gone in many places.
But, Painted Rock Lobster’s habitat range is large and includes many protected areas. So, it’s not at risk globally.
It’s used as a food source throughout its habitat range. Some people also keep it in home aquariums.