The name scampi can refer to several varieties of lobster; crustaceans with 10 legs, the first pair of which, by far the largest, terminate in long, thin pincers.
They can be found in the north-eastern Atlantic (from Iceland to the south of Portugal), North Sea and Mediterranean, at depths that vary according to water temperature and the nature of the seabed. They only leave their "den" in the seabed silt at half-light, at dawn or dusk, so can only be caught at these times.
Scampi has not always been considered a delicacy. Until the late 19th century, it was considered an incidental and unworthy catch, and thrown back into the sea. Only since the Second World War has scampi really come to be appreciated for its lean and delicate meat.        

A Gourmet's notebook