Kanaloa Squat Lobster

Kanaloa Squat Lobster18″x24″

Kanaloa Squat Lobster
Babamunida kanaloa


French Frigate Shoals, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands
Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument

NOAA Vessel Oscar Sette, shipboard studio

Archival Pigment Print

During a three-week expedition to French Frigate Shoals (northwestern Hawaiian Islands) in 2006, researchers used lobster traps (retrofitted for capturing smaller organisms) to collect marine animals.  Dropped to depths unattainable via scuba diving, the traps yielded a wealth of crustaceans poorly known to science. One such animal was the squat lobster in this photograph, collected at about 240 meters (790 feet) depth. It was the first known specimen of the species: While the lobsters had been previously seen by researchers in submersibles, they’d always eluded capture by the vessels’ suction devices. With this specimen, scientists could formally describe the species. They did so three years after collecting it, at which time the animal photographed here was still the only specimen known.