12 different types of lobsters to enjoy seafood at any time

Lobster is often considered a luxury food. A delicacy served up at restaurants where guests are dressed to the nines and treated like royalty. In fact, there are many reasons why lobster is pricey, including the amount of effort required to catch and prepare it properly.

But if you want to enjoy lobster without breaking the bank, there are plenty of options. You just need to know what types of lobsters exist and how to select the best ones for your cooking needs.

In fact, there are a lot of different types of lobsters, each with its own unique flavor profile. To help you choose the best type for your table, we’ve put together our guide to 12 different kinds of lobsters. From Maine to Florida, here are the best lobsters to try.

Table of Contents

What is a Lobster?

orange lobster

Lobsters are one of those creatures that people either love or hate. Some people like the taste of lobster while others find it disgusting. Either way, there are many misconceptions about what exactly a lobster is. So let’s clear some things up.


First off, lobsters are actually classified as decapods (invertebrates). This means that they belong to the same suborder as crabs, crayfish, shrimp, prawns, and krill. A lobster is technically a type of crab because it belongs to the family of crabs called Decapoda.

They are also considered to be true marine animals because they spend most of their lives in salt water. However, lobsters do venture into fresh water occasionally. When they do, they lose their claws and gills, and become land-based crustaceans.


The precise etymology of the term “lobster” is unknown; however, it is thought to derive from the Latin word “locusta,” which may be translated as “grasshopper” or “locust.” Given that lobsters, in appearance, do resemble grasshoppers or locusts, this makes perfect sense. 


All lobsters are omnivorous, meaning that they eat both plant material and animal matter. In fact, they are even capable of eating dead flesh. Although they don’t chew their food, they use their stomach acid to dissolve the protein.


A female lobster carries her baby around for over a year before she finally releases him/her onto the open sea. She does this by secreting a special fluid that hardens into a protective shell. Afterward, he/she must go through several molts (moults) to grow larger and stronger.

In the wild, lobsters live alone except for mating season. They usually mate once per decade. There is no specific age limit for lobsters, however, they tend to reach sexual maturity at 2–3 years old.

What is a Warm Water Lobster?

rock lobsters

The warm water lobster is one of the most popular types of seafood eaten worldwide. This species of lobster is often referred to as rock lobster because it lives in rocky areas near the shoreline. These lobsters are usually about 3 inches long and weigh around 2 ounces each. Their name refers to the fact that their bodies are warmer than cold-water lobsters.

These lobsters are found mainly along the Pacific coast of North America, especially California (usually during the summer months). In addition to being tasty, they are also easy to catch and require little preparation. In fact, most of the lobsters sold in stores are rock lobsters.

Due to their popularity, there are several different kinds of traps used to catch them. One common trap uses a net that drops into the ocean and collects the lobsters as they try to swim away. 

Another method involves placing a cage over the area where the lobsters live. After the lobsters enter the cage, fishermen use a rake to pull them out. When caught, the lobsters are put into ice boxes to keep them alive while waiting for buyers.

The warm water lobster doesn’t come with big claws, but it does have a pair of large “antennae.” These are actually the front legs of the animal, which make up about half of the lobsters’ body length. Warm water lobsters generally live near the ocean floor where there is plenty of food and shelter. As such, they do not require much space to survive.

They are often confused with the spiny lobster, which has smaller claws. Spiny lobsters are mainly found in warmer seas around the world, including Australia and South Africa. Like rock lobsters, they are commonly eaten whole, although some people enjoy eating the tails.

1. Australian Lobsters

Australian lobster
"Australian lobster" by awhiffoflemongrass

Lobsters from Australia may be captured at any time of the year, and their shells can be either red or green in color. The Northwest coast of Australia is where you will find the most of these creatures.

In addition to that, the flavor of this particular variety of lobster is recognized for being very soft and subtle. The weight of the tails ranges from around 8 to 10 ounces on average.

Season: Anytime of the year

The typical cost is sixty dollars per pound when frozen and shipped.

The Standard Price (Live) Is $45/lb On Average.

Flavor: Tender and sweet flesh with a mellow and firm texture.

2. California Lobsters

The California lobster is one of the biggest found anywhere along the coast, all the way from California to Mexico. They may be up to 24 inches in length and are quite popular in China. The maximum length is up to 24 inches. Because of this, the majority of commercially caught and recreationally caught lobsters are destined for this market. many kinds of lobster

Season: October through March

Price (Average): Not Available (Shipped Frozen)

The Typical Cost is $25 per pound for Live Fish.

Creamy, somewhat nutty, subtly sweet, and delicate in flavor.

3. Caribbean Lobsters

The term “Caribbean lobster” gives some indication as to where these crustaceans are most commonly caught: along the coast of the Caribbean and throughout the Gulf of Mexico. In addition to that, you may locate them around the coast of North America.

In order for Caribbean lobsters to successfully reproduce, the water temperature must be at least 73 degrees Fahrenheit (23 degrees Celsius) between the months of April and October.

When they reach a minimum size of around 7.5 centimeters (3 inches), Caribbean lobsters are eligible for commercial fishing (7.6 centimeters). When compared to lobsters that live in colder waters, these lobsters have a shell that is more robust and is striped with brown and gray, with yellow dots on the tail.

Season: August through March

Price Per Pound (Frozen and Delivered): $35 on Average

The Typical Cost is $25 per pound for Live Fish.

Flavor has a little sweetness to it, and the tail flesh is tender and delicious.

4. Pacific Lobsters

lobster in soup

Pacific lobsters typically weigh between 1 and 5 pounds, although it is possible to come across an outlier that weighs 15 pounds. They are harvested for their tails, just as other types of lobsters that live in warm water.

Season: October through March

Flavor: Delicate and sweet.

5. Reef Lobsters

This Reef lobster has beautiful patterns in shades of purple and lavender. Even though they have claws, these are not called clawed lobsters. They are relatively little and more often recognized for their coloration than for the meat they produce. You may find them in the aquarium, as well as in the Indo-Pacific, the Caribbean, and the warmer sections of the Atlantic.

$20 is the Standard Price (Live), on Average (2-inch lobster for aquarium)

6. South African Lobsters

There might be one thing to South African lobsters that might surprise you. Because they lack claws and have lengthy appendages, it is clear that these crustaceans are native to warm water. Nevertheless, they often call icy waters their home.

They require more time than Caribbean lobsters to mature into their full size. In addition to this, their tails are known for having a flavor of their own in addition to their musculature. This variety of lobster is also one of the most common types of frozen lobster that is sold in the United States.

Season: November through April

The typical price (frozen and shipped) is $45 per pound.

Not Available (Live) as an Average Price

Sweet and savory best describe the flavor.

What is a Cold Water Lobster?

different types of lobsters

The term “cold water lobster” usually refers to lobsters caught off the coast of Maine in the Atlantic Ocean. They are considered one of the most popular types of seafood eaten around the world, especially in Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, Taiwan, United States, and Venezuela.

They are typically served steamed whole, boiled alive, or grilled. Maine lobsters are found along the Atlantic coast of North America and Canada. They are harvested commercially in waters off Cape Cod Bay and Georges Bank, both in Massachusetts.

The American Fisheries Society estimates there are about 5 million lobstermen in the United States, including some 20,000 full-time commercial fishermen. About half of the nation’s total harvest occurs in Maine.

While many other types of lobsters spend part of their life cycle in saltwater, cold water lobsters spend their entire life in freshwater.

1. Canadian Lobsters

When it comes to lobsters that live in frigid water, the fact that Canadian lobsters come out on top is hardly surprising. They benefit from a fantastic aquatic habitat to thrive in as a result of the cold weather. They are situated on the east coast of Canada and are most famous for having flesh that is tender and juicy on their claws.

However, in order to protect the lobster population, the harvesting season for these crustaceans is staggered throughout the summer while they are molting.

Season: October through January and June through July

Lobster flesh costs around $65 per pound when purchased frozen and shipped.

$20 per pound is the average price for live fish.

Flavor: Sweet, denser flesh.

2. Furry Lobsters

Because their entire bodies are coated with hair, these crustaceans are sometimes referred to as “furry lobsters.” They are rather little, but their antennae are enormous. They are primarily captured by divers. In fact, they’te not desired for commercial fishing and are actually also forbidden to fish.

3. Maine Lobsters

caught lobsters

Canadian lobsters and Maine lobsters look identical because they are from the same species. Maine lobsters have earned a well-deserved reputation for being among the finest examples of their species anywhere in the world. In addition to having flesh that is tender and juicy in their claws, the meat on their tails is rather tough.

You must get this variety of lobsters if you want to eat “real” lobsters. Lobsters from Maine may often be purchased in stores and restaurants for a price that is at least fifty dollars per pound on average.

The best method to ensure that your Maine Lobsters are of a good quality is to purchase them directly from lobstermen in Maine. You can place an order for Maine lobsters online at Fishermen’s Net, and the company will have the lobsters delivered to your doorstep directly.

Season: Anytime of the year, but notably from June to December

Lobster flesh costs around $70 per pound when frozen and shipped.

$20 per pound is the average price for live maine lobsters

Flavor: Sweet, tender meat.

4. New Zealand Lobsters

The lobsters that call New Zealand their home have stunning shells, and you can find them around the coast of the South Pacific. They have sweet, smooth meat and firm white flesh and are marketed to markets across the world, notably in Asia.

Season: May through February

The average price for frozen whole lobster is $50 per pound, and the price for tail meat is $25 per pound.

Price (Live): $60 per pound on average

Slightly fruity, with a meaty and succulent mouthfeel. Flavor.

5. Slipper Lobsters

In general, Slipper Lobsters have a smooth, flat face and no front claws as other species of lobsters have. The fact that they are difficult to cook and dwell in the mud contributes to the fact that they aren’t exactly considered flavorful. Even though the majority of their fishing takes place in Asia, they are threatened with extinction in almost every region.

November through April is the season tp fish for slipper lobster

Sweet, firm, and white in color, the meat has a hard texture.

6. Squat Lobsters

Nooks are common hiding places for Squat lobsters; there, they forage for food by digging with their claws into the sand. They resemble crabs or hermit crabs more than anything else. There is little question that squat lobsters are not caught for the purpose of commercial fishing; rather, these crustaceans are utilized as feed in fish, shrimp, and prawn farms and are infrequently employed as bait.

Season: Not available for commercial fishing.

What's The Difference Between a Hard and Soft Shell Lobster?

Each species of lobster goes through what’s called a molting stage as they cycle through hard and soft shell stages stage. Molting happens throughout the year, and depending on where you live, the timing of the molts can vary. In some cases, certain species of lobsters will go through a hard shell phase during the springtime months, while others will do so in the fall. This is known as the hard or soft shell season.

During the hard shell phase, lobsters grow thick protective shells, making them harder to crack open and cook. During the soft shell phase, lobsters shed those shells and become easier to work with. If you want to enjoy the best tasting lobster, make sure you know which season your area experiences.

What's The Best Time of Year to Buy and Eat Lobster?

In Maine, where the most famous lobsters are found, they are harvested year round. So why do we see fewer lobstermen during the winter?

This question is answered in part by the fact that lobsters molt twice per year, shedding their hard outer shell and growing a softer one underneath. During the fall, when temperatures drop, lobsters move closer to shore, making it easier for fisherman to catch them.

During the spring, when water warms up again, lobsters move out farther into deeper waters. This makes it harder for fishermen to reach them, since they must go further offshore to find them.

So what happens when there aren’t enough lobsters to satisfy the insatiable appetite of Americans? Well, the price goes up.

So according to the Maine Divers Marine Museum, the best time to buy and cook a lobster is during the summer. Why? Because mother nature doesn’t always cooperate with the needs of man.

Live lobsters are vulnerable to seasonal change, and government regulations can sometimes affect supply and demand. 

The history of Lobsters

Lobsters weren’t always thought of as a delicacy. They were originally seen as a poor man’s food fit for servants and lower class members of society. Lobsters were often served in prisons, where inmates ate them boiled or fried.

In the 19th century, however, New York and Boston developed a taste for them. By 1880, the price of lobsters had risen dramatically.

Today, lobster is still one of America’s most expensive seafoods. While you can buy frozen lobster tails for less than $10, live lobsters cost upwards of $100 per pound.

Fun Facts about Lobsters

  1. Lobsters are social creatures. They live in groups called lobes and will travel up to 20 miles from their home to find food.
  2. The largest recorded lobster was a male caught off the coast of Maine, USA on August 12th 2012 weighing in at over 100 pounds
  3. They can grow up to 10 inches long
  4. They have two claws on each foot
  5. They have an exoskeleton covering their bodies
  6. You can tell if a lobster is male or female by looking at its tail

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