There appears to be some confusion around the difference between a rock (spiny) lobster and lobster from Maine. The first thing you should know is that there is a significant difference between the two. While clearly we prefer the Maine lobster, this post will show you the differences, and give you more information to purchase the perfect lobster that will suit your needs.
If you haven’t seen a live lobster before, there’s a good chance you think they are red. This is only after they have been cooked. Maine lobster when caught have a dark color with small hints of red (shown).
American lobster, or Homarus americanus, is a species found from Labrador to New Jersey, and can weight up to 40 pounds. It’s also known as Maine Lobster. Here’s the difference that makes Maine lobster the best:
- Cold Water = Better Lobster. The meat is much sweeter that lobsters grown in warm conditions. This is because the cold water keeps the meat from absorbing the salt in the water.
- Size. The larger a lobster gets, the less meat is in the tail. If you’ve had a lobster before, the tail is easily one of the best parts of a lobster.
- Fishing Regulations. Maine has very stringent regulations preventing lobsterman from catching lobster that is either too small (Minimum 3 1/4″ carapace measurements) or too large (5″ carapace measurements). This means you get the best tasting lobster!
- The Maine lobster has meat in the tail, claws, and body.
If you are looking to purchase Maine lobster, get as close to the source as possible. Either visit Maine, or have live Maine lobsters shipped to you.
Rock (Spiny) Lobster
The major difference between a Maine lobster and a rock lobster is the size of the claw and antenna, On a rock lobster, the antenna is much larger, while the claw is pretty much nonexistent. If you’ve ever had a Maine lobster before, the claw has the most tender meat, which is why we prefer the Maine lobster.
Rock lobster is also raised in warm water, and has a seafood taste. Specifically the rock lobster comes from a family (Palinuridae) of 60 species. Certain species of spiny lobster is known as sea crayfish or crawfish. Here’s a photo of a spiny lobster.
As you can see, the antenna is very large and thick, plus there’s no large claw either. The benefit is that the tail has more meat than the Maine lobster.
These lobsters are found in the Mediterranean and Caribbean. In fact, spiny lobsters are the largest food export of the Bahamas.
What Lobster should I choose?
This is a question only you can answer. It’s all a matter of choice, so try both types, and see which one you prefer! At least now, you’ll know the difference between spiny lobster and Maine lobster.