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Balmain Bug (Ibacus peronii) Photographs and Information

Also known as a Bay Lobster, Bug, Shovelnose Lobster, Slipper Lobster, Squat Lobster and Mud Bug, Flapjack.  See Also:  Moreton Bay Bug

The Balmain Bug is a type of slipper lobster and is closely related to the rock lobsters. It is a popular, edible crustacean common throughout Sydney fish markets and fish shops.

The Balmain Bug has no pincers and uses its short, wide antennae to dig into sand and mud on the ocean floor in search of food.

The Balmain Bug is found from Southport in Queensland, through to New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania to Geraldton in Western Australia. Also found in New Zealand.

What's the Difference between Moreton Bay Bugs and Balmain Bugs?
Moreton Bay bugs have their eyes set towards the edge of the head, while Balmain bugs have them set toward the middle of the head. The Moreton Bay bug is also a little thinner in the body than the Balmain bug. Females have a pore on the inside base of each third leg, males do not.

How to tell Balmain and Moreton Bay Bugs apart: Balmain is a narrow peninsula and Balmain Bugs’ eyes are narrow, located close together in the centre of their heads. Moreton Bay is a wide bay and Moreton Bay Bugs’ eyes are set broadly apart on either side of their shells. Slipper Lobsters’ eyes are in between, closer to the edges than the centre, but not on the actual edge.

slipper lobster, cooked balmain bugs, mud bugs, cooked crustaceans

wpeC.jpg (3471 bytes)

Map showing where Balmain Bug (Ibacus peronii) is found in Australian waters.

Scientific Name Ibacus peronii
Location Southern half of Australia
Season All year round
Size To 250mm total length
Australian Species Code 00 703028
Taste, Texture delicate sweet taste, medium texture.


Nutritional Information
For every 100 grams raw product
for Bug meat.

Kilojoules 399 (95 calories)
Cholesterol 121 mg
Sodium 185 g
Total fat (oil) 0.8 g
Saturated fat 36% of total fat
Monounsaturated fat 23% of total fat
Polyunsaturated fat 41% of total fat
Omega-3, EPA 39 mg
Omega-3, DHA 49 mg
Omega-6, AA 45 mg

Other Balmain Bug Links:

Lobster, Bugs & Slipper Lobster Recipes
 from How To Cook Fish & Seafood

About Balmain Bugs:

Balmain bug - up close

A marine crustacean with a reddish brown shell, broad flat head with eyes close to the centre, short narrower tail and 5 pairs of small legs. Currently only available wild-caught, though aquaculture research is underway. Found mainly on the continental slope, from 15m-650m, most commonly less than 150m, south from Fraser Island in Queensland to Geraldton in WA (with a pocket further north on the North West Shelf from Port Hedland to Broome) though caught primarily off the NSW coast as bycatch of fish and Prawn trawling (and specifically targeted in some areas). They often bury themselves in sand or mud during the day and become active after dark. Ibacus peronii is the largest and commercially most important member of the seven Ibacus species found in Australia (others include Ibacus alticrenatus and Ibacus chacei).

Cooking Balmain Bugs:

The meat of bugs, found only in the tail, has a medium-to-strong flavour. They can be bought as frozen meat or whole. They are best prepared by poaching, steaming, barbecuing or grilling. As bugs provide good presentation and marry well with other seafood, they are excellent for cold seafood platters served with a light lemon mayonnaise, aioli or dill vinaigrette.

Commercial Fishing for Balmain Bugs:

Distribution - Balmain Bugs, also known as slipper lobsters and shovelnose lobsters, are distributed throughout the southern half of Australia from Queensland to Western Australia. They inhabit soft sand and muddy environments in water depths ranging from 15 to 650 metres, but found most commonly at depths of 150 metres. They are sometimes confused with the Moreton Bay Bug (Thenus orientalis), however this bug is more elongate than the Balmain Bug and its eyes are at the carapace margin rather than the carapace midline as seen in the Balmain Bug.




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