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Sculptured Slipper lobster live in the coral rich reefs of Gorontalo, Indonesia’s hidden paradise. However, divers rarely see this crustacean because it is nocturnal.
The Sculptured Slipper lobster at a Glance
The Sculptured Slipper lobster has a distinctive appearance. Its body is flat like slipper. Also, it appears to have two mittens that it holds in front of its eyes. Its body is mottled with various patches of yellow, brown, and black. Many short hairs and tubercles cover its body, and the lower edges of its body appear to have short teeth. These teeth appear banded in yellow, orange, and lavender. In addition to two distinct eyes, it has a pair of short antennae that it can raise or lower between its mittens.
Although it can scurry on its six legs, its fastest movement is swimming backwards. To do that, it uses the muscles in its tail.
The usual length for a Sculptured Slipper lobster is between ten and fifteen centimeters. Males can grow up to twenty centimeters.
They are typically active at night and found above 20 meters in depth. Although in other places in the world, they frequent sandy bottoms with mixed coral and rocks, in Gorontalo we have only spotted them in coral rich areas.
As a bottom dweller, its preferred meal consists of molluscs, shrimps, crabs, and even urchins.
Names and Locations
The scientific name for Sculptured Slipper lobster is Parribacus antarcticus. It is the dominant species. There are five other species of the Parribacus genus. Although the scientist Lund named it antarcticus in 1793, this slipper lobster does not live in Antarctica!
In Indonesia, it is called by various names, depending on location. These include udang laut lebar, miyu uhut, ketam gonosso, udang pasir laut, and uhut. Gorontalo people call it hele paupau.
Although English speakers commonly call it a slipper lobster, it is not actually a lobster. It lacks claws and only has a pair in pinchers, which are slightly smaller than its legs. Its meat is only found in its tail.
Parribacus antarcticus lives in separate populations in warm oceans worldwide. One is off the east coast of Africa, including Madagascar. In the central Indian Ocean, Sri Langka is its home. Its largest range is the Indo-Pacific Ocean, including Polynesia. The Hawaiian islands also host the Sculptured Slipper lobster. Lastly, it lives in the southern Carribean from Florida to Brazil.
For your chance to see a slipper lobster in Gorontalo, please make your dive reservations directly with Miguel’s Diving.