Lobster is an invertebrate animal that belongs to the crustacean family. There are 49 species of lobster in the world’s oceans. Lobsters inhabit both fresh and salt water. Of the 49 lobster species, 33 are exploited in commercial networks. In the 18th century, lobsters were considered the food of the poor (as servants and convicts). Lobster is now served as a delicacy, leading to a steady decline in numbers in the wild. About 200,000 tonnes of lobster are caught each year. However, lobsters have not been identified as an endangered species.
Lobsters were once considered the poor man’s chicken. In Colonial times, it was fed to pigs and goats and only eaten by paupers.
Depending on the species, lobsters vary in size from 0.8 to 3.25 feet in length. Most species are somewhere in between.
In Maine, a lobster’s body must be at least 3 1/4 inches to keep, and can’t be over 5 inches.
Lobsters can be divided in two groups: clawed and spiny. Clawed lobsters have claws and they inhabit cold waters.
Lobsters shed their shells, or molt.
Spiny lobsters have long antennas instead of claws and they could be found in the tropical (warm) waters.
A female lobster can only mate just after she has molted.
Clawed lobsters have two unequal claws. They are used for catching and slicing of prey.
Lobsters can swim forward and backward. When they’re alarmed, they scoot away in reverse by rapidly curling and uncurling their tails.
Lobsters are ten-legged creatures, just like shrimps and crabs, their closest relatives.
Because its nervous system is similar to that of grasshoppers and ants, lobsters are sometimes called “bugs.”
They might look simple, but they have brain and nervous system, heart, stomach and intestines just like people.
When food is scarce, lobsters can turn cannibal and dine on smaller lobsters.
Just like in other Arthropods, body of the lobster is protected by outer skeleton called “exoskeleton”. It is also known as a shell.
Lobster eggs are called roe, just like fish eggs.
Shell cannot expand in size as the lobster grows and it sheds periodically. Lobsters without shells are very vulnerable and they usually hide until new shell is formed. This process is called molting and it happens once per year.
Former President and First Lady George and Barbara Bush loved to eat lobster served up fresh at Mable’s restaurant in Kennebunkport, Maine.
Lobster has a long tail composed of seven pieces with a fan-like tip.
Spiny Caribbean lobsters have no claws and are sold mainly for their tails.
Deep-sea lobsters are blind. Other species have compound eyes. They cannot see clear image, but can detect movement even at night.
Lobsters are usually caught in an underwater trap called a “lobster pot,” baited with dead fish.
Lobsters have excellent sense of smell and touch. They use both senses to detect prey.
Native Americans ate lobsters after wrapping them in seaweed and baking them over hot rocks.
Lobsters mainly eat meat, such as fish, mollusks, worms and crustaceans. They also consume algae and other type of sea vegetation.
Lobster meat is a great source of protein, providing 28 grams of protein per cup.
Most people think that lobsters are red in color. They are actually brown or olive-green, with reddish shades. They turn red after cooking, because heat destroys all pigments except red.
Even full-grown lobsters can fall prey to codfish and the occasional octopus.
During a mating period, female becomes vulnerable because she throws away her shell. After a week of mating, new shell will develop and female will have large number of eggs deposited inside her body.
In some states you need a saltwater fishing license to catch lobsters; in Hawaii, no license is required unless you want to sell your catch.
Low percent of released eggs reach maturity. Out of 10 000 eggs, only 10 will survive until the adulthood.
A residential license in Maryland allows you to use two lobster pots to trap lobsters.
Lobster reaches the size of the adult animal after 7 years of constant growth.
Larry the Lobster is the lifeguard on SpongeBob SquarePants.
Lobsters in the wild can survive up to 100 years. Huge percent of lobsters live much shorter because they end up in the fishing nets much earlier.
There are around 6,000 licensed lobstermen in Maine.