Rare Slipper Lobster Discovered Off Scilly

slipper lobster bryher 2014An unusual visitor from southern Europe has been discovered in Scilly’s waters.

The rare slipper lobster was found in a pot off Bryher during tagging work by the islands’ IFCA.

The find was made by volunteer Mir Walker-Browning, a marine biology student from Southampton University.

Mir says it’s a very significant result, with only 59 records of the unusual species in UK and Irish waters since 1758.

They’re usually seen in warmer waters around the Mediterranean.

There’s been an increase in sightings around Cornwall in recent years, which Mir says could indicate an effect of global warming or overfishing in their usual habitats.

She described the slipper lobster as quite small, around 10 to 14cm long, with a flat head, orange eyes and hinged plates instead of claws. They use these to burrow into the sand.

The lobster was released without being tagged because it’s not one of the species on the monitoring programme.

Mir says it’s likely that it isn’t alone. There are indications that the species could be breeding this far north.