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Taxonomische classification
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(Linnaeus, 1758)

Diagnosis:
Subdorsal carinae of carapace spinulate. Left and right first chelipeds unequal, one a crushing claw, the other a cutting claw. Palm of first chelipeds with distinct longitudinal grooves, ridges and rows of spines. Antennal spines without strong posterior carina. Abdominal somites dorsally with distinct transverse grooves, a blunt carina separates the tergites from the pleura. First abdominal sternite of the male without a median spine.

Type:
Type locality for Cancer norvegicus: "in Mari Norvegico", restricted by lectotype selection by Holthuis (1974: 824) to Kullen Peninsula in southern Sweden, 56°18'N 12°28'E. Lectotype and paralectotypes lost.
Type locality for Astacus rugosus: Sicily. Type no longer extant.
Type locality for Nephropsis cornubiensis: "off the Dudman" [ = Dodman Point, Cornwall, UK, 50°13'N 4°48'W]. Type specimen supposed to be deposited "in the museum of the Athenaeum at Plymouth", but probably no longer extant.
Type locality of Nephrops norvegicus meridionalis: Spain (both the Atlantic coast: Huelva, San Sebastian and Coruña, and the Mediterranean coast: Rosas, Barcelona, Alicante; and Spanish Morocco: Melilla). Type material in Zariquiey collection of the Instituto de Investigaciones Pesqueras, (at present: Instituto de Ciancias del Mar), Barcelona.

Geographical Distribution:
Eastern Atlantic region: from Iceland, the Faeroes and northwestern Norway (Lofoten Islands), south to the Atlantic coast of Morocco; western and central basin of the Mediterranean; absent from the eastern Mediterranean east of 25°E; also absent from the Baltic Sea, the Bosphorus and the Black Sea. A record from Egypt is doubtful.

Habitat and Biology:
Depth range from 20 to 800 m; the species lives on muddy bottoms in which it digs its burrows. It is nocturnal and feeds on detritus, crustaceans and worms. Ovigerous females are found practically throughout the year, the eggs laid around July are carried for about 9 months.

Size:
The total body length of adult animals varies between 8 and 24 cm, usually it is between 10 and 20 cm.

Interest to Fisheries:
The species is of considerable commercial value and is fished for practically throughout its range. According to FAO statistics 59767 tons were caught in 1987, 62382 tons in 1988, mainly in the northeastern Atlantic (Fishing Area 27). The species is fished mostly in spring and summer. On the continental shelf, the fishery is most efficient in the very early morning, at twilight or in nights with full moon; on the continental slope, however, the fishery is most productive in daytime. It is caught mostly by trawling, more rarely with lobster pots. Sold fresh and frozen; also canned, either as plain peeled tails or prepared as "bisque de langoustines". Under the Italian name Scampi (plural of Scampo) it was sold all over Europe as a highly esteemed food; but soon the name Scampi became also used for large Penaeid shrimps.

Norway lobster (Nephrops norvegicus)