There are several crustaceans known as “squat lobsters” living at various depths in oceans around the world. Eumunida picta is native to the Gulf of Mexico and can be identified by a flattened body and five pairs of legs. The first pair of legs are elongated and have pincers, while the others are used for walking. Like other lobsters, this species has a broad tailfan which is folds under its body. The carapace is bright red and segmented.
At such extreme ocean depths, the animal has adapted an opportunistic feeding strategy, often scavenging on dead animals or detritus which floats down from above.
This species can be found in the deep-sea regions of the Gulf of Mexico, the western Atlantic Ocean and areas of the South Pacific. In the Americas, it can be found as far north as the Massachusetts coastline and as far south as Columbia. These lobsters usually inhabit areas with reefs, coral forests and methane seeps. Specimens of this animal have been found as deep as 25,000 feet (7,620 m).
Photo credit: NOAA Ocean Explorer.