Caught and Coloured: Zoology Illustrations from Colonial Victoria

Southern Rock Lobster, Jasus edwardsii

Image Details
  • Plate Number: 150
  • Media: Drawing - Pencil, water colour and varnish on paper
  • Lithographer: Arthur Bartholomew
  • Primary inscriptions: Drawing 427 A Bartholomew / Sept 16 1869
  • Secondary inscriptions: Outside view of left antenae / correct colour of antenea / left posteria claw
  • Tertiary: [McCoys illeg notes]
Transcript from the Prodromus of Zoology

Plates 149-150. Southern Spiny Lobster (Melbourne Crawfish), Palinurus lalandi (now known as the Southern Rock Lobster, Jasus edwardsii novaehollandiae) found on the rocky coasts of Victoria

This fine and very interesting species has not been properly figured before, and is consequently a source of some perplexity to naturalists. It was first described from the Cape of Good Hope by Prof. Milne Edwards, from the specimens in the Paris Museum named in manuscript P. Lalandi by Lamarck.

I suggest the trivial name of Southern Rock Lobster for this species, which, abounding in Victoria, Tasmania, and New Zealand, as well as the Cape of Good Hope, (and St. Paul's according to Heller,) does not appear to have been noticed as far north as Sydney, where it is replaced by a totally different species, the Common Sydney Crawfish P. Hügelli, of which I have one specimen from our coast and one from Tasmania, as excessively rare occurrences as stragglers.

Very abundant in pools on the rocky coasts of Victoria, and is the common Melbourne Crawfish of the fishmongers.

Current Scientific Information

Southern Rock Lobster, Jasus edwardsii novaehollandiae


Large, clawless red lobster (crayfish) up to 500 mm long.

Habitat and range

In caves on exposed rocky coasts down to about 90 m, sometimes to 150 m depth. Central New South Wales to Western Australia including Tasmania.


This is the only species of rock lobster on the Victorian coast, and is the usual species sold in fish shops and restaurants here. Egg-laying occurs from May to July, and the females carry the eggs on the pleopods and are said to be 'in berry'. The larvae hatch from July to December. This Australian form is one of two subspecies; the other is in New Zealand waters.