Lobster, Rock Lobster, or Crayfish?

One of the questions we frequently receive is about the key differences between these delicious crustaceans. Let’s break it down!


Lobsters are marine animals living in cold oceans and seas. The European or Breton lobster (Homarus gammarus) occurs around Europe, while the American lobster (Homarus americanus) is found on the Atlantic coast of North America, from Canada to North Carolina. 

They are known for their large size and impressive claws, which they use to crush and tear food. 

Their exoskeleton’s coloration depends on their environment to act as camouflage. European lobsters are blue in deep waters, while American lobsters are brown or green.

Rock Lobster (Spiny Lobster)

Here in Australia, what we commonly refer to as “crayfish” are actually ocean-dwelling rock lobsters, also known as spiny lobsters. 

Unlike lobsters, rock lobsters don’t have large front claws. The southern rock lobster, with its orangey-red colouring, is caught in New Zealand and Australia’s south-east coast, while the western rock lobster is abundant in Western Australia. 

Their meat is prized for its sweet, succulent flavour and is often considered a delicacy in many cuisines around the world.

Crayfish (Freshwater Crayfish)

Also known as “crawfish” in the US, crayfish are freshwater crustaceans. Unlike lobsters and rock lobsters, crayfish never reside in the ocean. 

They can be found in rivers, streams, and lakes, where they thrive in freshwater habitats. Crayfish can have various local names and species, such as yabbies and marron. 

They are characterised by their smooth carapace and prominent pair of claws. Crayfish meat is often likened to a cross between lobster and shrimp, with a sweet and delicate flavour.

What did you catch?

You come back from fishing, and you don’t know if you have a rock lobster, a crayfish or a lobster in your basket. In the wild, two easy characteristics may help you to recognise them: the claws and type of water where the animal lives.

You caught it in salt water and it has no claws… It is a rock lobster.

You caught it in salt water and it has claws… It is a lobster.

You caught it in freshwater and it has claws… It is a crayfish.


Grab your Christmas Crays!

Check out our Back of Boat locations to pick up your fresh lobsters just in time for Christmas.

To find out more and to pre-order click on the link below.