Rock lobster. Spiny lobster. Caribbean lobster. They're all monikers for what every Sunshine State home-grown knows only as Florida lobster, a species that inhabit the western Atlantic from North Carolina to Brazil, otherwise known as warm water lobsters.
Tomorrow, August 6th marks the start of a special time of year: the first day of the eight-month spiny lobster season when our coastal waters are flooded by literally hundreds of these clawless crustaceans. This time of year -- late summer through early fall when the season ends on March 31 -- local fishermen have their pick during the crustaceans' annual "walk" as hundreds of lobsters move steadily across the Florida sea floor as part of an annual migration in search of new breeding grounds.
In addition to the lack of claws, the spiny lobster gets its name -- and is best distinguished from the better-known Maine lobster -- by the sharp, short spines along the length of its bright orange-pink tail dotted with green, yellow and blue spots. But what it lacks in tender claw meat, the Florida lobster makes up for with large, meaty tails.