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Squat Lobster

Munida spp.

Physical Characters : Two species of squat lobster are found along California coasts. These animals look like lobsters, but they’re more closely related to hermit crabs. Unlike their relatives, squat lobsters don’t carry shells on their backs. Instead, they squeeze into crevices—and leave their sharp claws exposed to keep neighboring lobsters away.

Squat lobsters also hide under rocks to protect their bodies. Safe from hungry fishes, they wait for snacks to settle nearby—those claws are perfect for reaching out and picking up food.

Along with curling up in crevices and hiding under rocks, squat lobsters stake out their territory on sandy patches. They use their claws to scoop up sand and sift for sunken snacks.

Distribution : They are mostly distributed in Alaska to Baja California, at depths from 60 to 4,800 feet or 18-1,463 meters.

Food : Mostly they are scavengers, they scoop up muddy or sandy deposits and sort out edible bits with their mouth parts. They also feed on larger food items.