This squat lobster may look already cooked, but don't break out the garlic butter. Unlike the greenish-brown American lobster, this species, Galacantha subspinosa, is bright red even while alive. (See a picture of an American lobster that was caught "half cooked.")
The tiny crustacean, which can fit in the palm of a hand, is one of ten lobster species collected off the western coast of Australia during research missions in 2005 and 2007. Six of the lobsters—including G. subspinosa—are new to Australia, researchers recently announced. Two more are entirely new to science.
Hundreds of known species of squat lobster are found in oceans worldwide at depths ranging from six feet (two meters) to three miles (five kilometers). Squat lobsters, also known as squatties, are distinguished by their large front claws and compressed bodies. The animals are more closely related to hermit crabs than true lobsters.
As for G. subspinosa, "this genus is one of the most colorful of all squat lobsters," said marine scientist Joanne Taylor of Museum Victoria, who co-authored a paper describing the new lobsters published in the October 12 issue of the journal Zootaxa.