What is a Langoustine?
Just what is a Langoustine? The Latin name being Nephrops norvegicus, Langoustines are also referred to as Dublin Bay Prawn, Norway Lobster or Scampi.
Not one of us!
Langoustine’s are often compared with a prawn; standard or king prawns however they are from the Shrimp family, Langoustine’s are not part of this group!
Another comparison is often crayfish, whilst they are similar in appearance, Langoustine’s breed and grow in saltwater seas and oceans, whereas crayfish breed in freshwater rivers and lakes.
The Langoustine is in fact a member of the Lobster family and in terms of flavour they are very similar. Unlike Lobster however Langoustines are found all year round, typically the lobster season runs from April to early June and then again from August to October.
Where are they?
Langoustines are found locally in the crystal clear ‘Class A’ waters off the North-West Highland Coast of Scotland. Adult langoustine live in semi-permanent burrows, which they dig in muddy-sandy seabeds. They spend most of their time lying in these burrows or by the entrance and leave their shelter at night (or during periods of subdued light) to feed or mate. They feed mostly on worms, fishes and small crustaceans, which they capture with their claws and walking legs but they do not venture far and stay within 100m of their burrows.
According to the FAO 60,000 tonnes of langoustine are caught annually around the world, half of it in UK waters.
Langoustines have a life span of 5 to 10 years. Adults moult once or twice a year. In Scottish waters, females are mature at 3 years of age and mating occurs in spring or early summer. They spawn during autumn and then stay in their burrows for most of the time, eggs assembled under their tail until they hatch in April or May. The larvae develop in the plankton before settling to the seabed six to eight weeks later.
Langoustines can grow up to 25cm in length. They are an orange-pink in colour and have very long and thin claws compared to the length of body.
All langoustines are born male but around aged two they become female and then start to spawn in their last year, so every adult prawn you eat is a female!
Check out this delicious Langoustine recipe here!