Rock Lobsters vs Maine Lobsters: What Are The Differences?

Rock Lobster
© Gilmanshin/

Written by Jeremiah Wright

Published: April 6, 2022

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Have you ever wondered what the differences between rock lobsters and Maine lobsters are? While these lobsters are strikingly similar and perform important roles in sustaining healthy and diverse marine ecosystems, a few key differences distinguish them. But what are some of these distinctions, and how can you choose the finest option for your delectable home-cooked meal?

This article will look at the physical traits, actions, and looks of these lobsters and the qualities and behaviors that separate them. It’ll also look at their different habitats and locales and their diets and lifespans. Let’s get started!

Comparing Rock Lobsters and Maine Lobsters

Rock lobsters and Maine lobsters differ in appearance, size, habitat, and lifespan.
Rock LobsterMaine Lobster
AppearanceWhite to dark red, brown, or orange.Greenish-brown or black
SizeThey may exceed 60cm or 2 feet in length and weigh up to 15 pounds.They grow up to 8 to 24 inches in length and can weigh over 44 pounds.
DietsSea urchins, snails, worms, and mollusks. Mollusks, small fish, mussels, snails, and sea urchins.
BehaviorRock Lobsters are nocturnal. They hide in coral reefs and structures during the day and are primarily active at night.Nocturnal; stay hidden in holes and crevices in the daytime to avoid predators and exit at night to feed.
LifespanThey have a lifespan of up to 50 years or more.They can live up to 100 years. 
Other NamesCrayfish, Melbourne Lobster, Southern Lobster, Langouste.North American Lobster, Canadian Lobster, True Lobster.

The Key Differences Between Rock Lobsters and Maine Lobsters

The key differences between rock lobsters and Maine lobsters are appearance, size, habitat, and lifespan. Lobsters are crustaceans, and both types are one of the most profitable possessions in the coastal region where they live.

Rock lobsters, also known as langouste, belong to the Palinuridae family of achelate crustaceans in the Decapoda Reptantia. There are about 60 species of Palinuridae. These lobsters have no front claws but possess long antennae for defense. They thrive in warm waters and are characterized by the presence of hard spines on the top of their bodies. 

Maine lobsters (Homarus americanus) are easily recognized due to their large, strong claws, used to crack the shells of other small crustaceans and tear apart small fish. They are cold-water creatures and are much larger than rock lobsters. Additionally, of the species of lobsters, Maine lobsters are more abundant and delicious.

Now, let’s look at these distinctions in detail. 

Rock Lobster vs Maine Lobster: Appearance

You can virtually identify the differences between the rock lobster and the Maine lobster at first glance. Rock lobsters have a long antenna for tracking down food but lack large claws. They appear dark red or black and have two large cream-colored spots at the top of their pointed tails. Maine lobsters are notable for their large, powerful claws, which they use for combat, protection, and feeding. When they’re young, their shells are blue, but they turn greenish-brown or black as they get older.

Rock Lobster vs Maine Lobster: Size

Rock Lobster

Rock lobsters can grow up to two feet long.


The size of these lobsters is one of the variations between them. Rock lobsters can grow up to two feet long and weigh around fifteen pounds, while Maine lobsters usually are 8 to 24 inches long. Remarkably, Maine lobsters are referred to as the largest crustaceans in the world. This is so because the largest ever recorded was caught off Nova Scotia, Canada, weighing about 20.1kg (44.4lbs).

Rock Lobster vs Maine Lobster: Location and Habitat

There is a huge difference between rock lobsters and Maine lobsters based on their geographical location. Rock lobsters are most abundant in the subtropical waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. However, Maine lobsters live on the Western Atlantic Coast of North America. They live in murky crevices or burrows on the sea bottoms. The habitat preference of these crustaceans also differs slightly. While they are both found in caves, crevices, and reefs of the sea floors throughout the world, Maine lobsters tend to inhabit deeper waters than rock lobsters.

Rock Lobster vs Maine Lobster: Behavior and Diets

Both rock lobsters and Maine lobsters have similar behaviors. For example, they are both nocturnal. They are usually found hiding in crevices and structures during the day with only the tip of their antenna visible to avoid predators and attackers such as seals, sharks, and bony fish. According to marine and freshwater research, they emerge at night to feed on sea urchins and mussels. They also feed on small fishes, snails, clams, and worms. A difference lies in their migration. Rock lobsters live in shallower water in spring but migrate to deeper water in winter and fall.

Rock Lobsters vs Maine Lobsters: Lifespan

Maine Lobster

Maine lobsters can live for up to 100 years.

©Breck P. Kent/

On average, rock lobsters can live for over 50 years, while Maine lobsters can live for up to 100 years. It is believed that the oldest ever lobster lived for 140 years. These lobsters may indeed have a long lifespan, but they certainly do not live forever as some people think.

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About the Author

I hold seven years of professional experience in the content world, focusing on nature, and wildlife. Asides from writing, I enjoy surfing the internet and listening to music.

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