Moreton Bay Bug

moreton bay bug

The meat of bugs, found only in the tail, has a medium-to-strong flavour. They can be bought as frozen meat or whole, to be eaten on their own as an entrÈe, or as part of a main dish.

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.

When cut down the centre lengthways, bugs will grill and barbecue beautifully over a high heat. They are superb served on their own, with the above-mentioned dressings or pesto, or as a warm salad with fresh asparagus and parmesan. To prevent discolouration of the flesh, sprinkle with a little lemon or lime.

The flesh of the bug is an ideal, flavoursome filling for meats, such as an alternative in carpetbag steak or with veal, asparagus and hollandaise (the veal oscar). Bug meat is also an appetising additive to fish cakes served with sweet chilli coriander.

Flavour Medium to Strong

Oiliness Low

Moisture Dry

Texture Firm

Flesh Colour Translucent when raw and white and opaque when cooked. The shell turns red when cooked.

Price Bugs are medium- to high-priced crustaceans. They are higher priced in areas close to where they are caught because they are well known and popular.

Edibility Flesh from the tail

Suggested Wines
A cold seafood platter of saltwater species, including bugs, demands a racy, dry and crisp wine to refresh the palate. Try a leaner style of young semillon sauvignon blanc blend.

Nutrition Facts

per 100g of raw product

Kilojoules na
Cholesterol 65 mg
Sodium na
Total fat (oil) 0.5 g
Saturated fat 29% of total fat
Monounsaturated fat 23% of total fat
Polyunsaturated fat 48% of total fat
Omega-3, EPA 28 mg
Omega-3, DHA 34 mg
Omega-6, AA 43 mg

Cooking Ideas

Grill/barbecue Poach  
Shallow Fry   Steam/microwave

When Caught
Year round, with peak supply of bugs in January and February

Important Features

Wild/Farmed Wild

Habitat Saltwater

Recovery Rate Flesh from tail: 30% of total weight., The head is bigger in larger bugs, resulting in a lower recovery rate.

Moreton Bay Bug Research

FRDC provides a comprehensive search of the latest research papers and images on Moreton Bay Bug


The easiest method of differentiating the two main types of bugs is by looking at the location of the eyes. 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.

Imports Nil

Common Size 8.5 to 11.5 cm

Overseas Names J: uchiwaebimodoki; USA: flathead lobster


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