What are some other names for lobsters?

The Homarus Americanus, The American Lobster, is also known as the Massachusetts lobster, the Maine lobster, the Canadian lobster or the North Atlantic lobster.

Where are lobsters caught?

The American Lobster is found on the east coast of North America, from Newfoundland to North Carolina. In 1996, more than 70 million pounds of lobsters were landed in the U.S., Approximately 80% of U.S. Iandings come from Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Maine.

lobster boat

What do lobsters eat?

Lobsters usually move around and hunt for food at night. It was once thought that lobsters were scavengers and ate primarily dead things. However, researchers have discovered that lobsters catch mainly fresh food (except for bait) which includes fish, crabs, clams, mussels, sea urchins, and sometimes even other lobsters!

How is the health of the lobster resource?

graph of lobster landings
Table: American Lobster, Gulf of Maine-Middle Atlantic

Lobster landings have increased significantly in the last decade; however, the number of traps fished and general efficiency of the fishing industry have also increased. In the Northeast it is one of several fishery resources that is considered to be generally overfished. Fishermen and managers, however, are working together to develop management measures which will help insure adequate egg production to sustain the resource and fishery. Presently major conservation measures include safeguarding lobsters smaller than 3-1/4" carapace length (Carapace length is measured from the rear of the eye socket to the rear of the main body shell). Any lobster that is smaller in carapace length than 3-1/4" must be returned unharmed to the sea. These lobsters are known as "shorts" or "sub-legals". Egg-bearing females are also protected and if caught, must be placed back in the sea. Lobster traps must have escape vents to allow sublegal size lobsters to exit the trap while it is still on the bottom (they can come in, eat, and leave). Not all "shorts" leave, however, and so the lobsterman must then throw them back when they pull their trap onto the boat. Lobster traps must also have biodegradable escape panels which will create a large opening and neutralize the fishing potential of a lost trap.

Where do lobsters live?

Small lobsters (less than 1-1/2" carapace length) hide in and about sea weeds and rocky habitat that provide adequate food and shelter from predators. Adolescent lobsters (1-1/2" to 3- 1/2" CL) dominate coastal habitats and offshore areas. They may exhibit minimal migratory behavior. Larger, more mobile, adult lobsters may inhabit deeper waters and may return seasonally to shallow warmer waters.
man holding lobsters

When do lobsters mate?

A female lobster mates primarily when she is in the soft-shell state right after she has shed her shell (molted). Female lobsters can carry live sperm for up to two years. At any time she may decide to fertilize her 3,000-75,000 eggs. By law, a female lobster carrying eggs must be thrown back if it is caught.

Are lobsters different colors?

Red as a lobster: is just a tale. Lobsters come in just about every color but red. They can be blue, light yellow, greenish-brown, grey, dusty orange, some calico, and some with spots. However, they all turn red when they hit hot water. The hot water cuts the link between astaxanthin, a red substance contained in the lobster's shell, and protein which in cold water brings out the predominant coloring.

Can lobsters grow new legs?

Yes this is called of reflex amputation (autotomy). They can discard a limb, this can be a lifesaving phenomenon. Lobsters have the ability to regenerate some of their body parts, for example, the claws, walking legs, and antennae. the fact that lobsters are capable of limb loss and regeneration is indicative of a very primitive nervous system and their differential sensitivity to pain compared to humans or other types of animals (they can "drop" a claw, etc. and go off like nothing happened. Could you drop an arm or leg like that?).

Do lobsters have teeth?

The teeth of a lobster are in its stomach. The stomach is located a very short distance from the mouth, and the food is actually chewed in the stomach between three grinding surfaces that look like molar surfaces, called the "gastric mill".
lobster pot

Can lobsters smell their food?

Lobsters "smell" their food by using four small antennae on the front of their heads and tiny sensing hairs that cover their bodies. Their sense of smell is so fine that they can sniff out a single amino acid that tags their favorite food.

Do lobsters lay eggs?

A freshly laid lobster egg is the size of the head of a pin (1/16"). A 1-pound female lobster usually carries approximately 8000 eggs. A 9-pound female may carry more than 100,000 eggs. The female lobster carries the eggs inside for 9 to 12 months and then for another 9 to 12 months externally attached to the swimmerets under her tail. When the eggs hatch, the larvae will float near the surface for 4 to 6 weeks. The few that survive will settle to the bottom and continue to develop as baby lobsters. From every 50,000 eggs only 2 lobsters are expected to survive to legal size.

Do many young lobsters survive to old age?

Lobster babies swim at water surface for 25 days. Only one percent make it to the bottom. These young lobsters shed their shells about ten times in their first year. A near-shore lobster has a 90% chance of ending up on someone's dinner plate.

What is the largest lobster ever caught?

The Massachusetts Lobstermen's association claimed a record when they caught "Big George" in 1974 off Cape Cod. The lobster weighed 37.4 pounds with a total length of 2.1 feet.

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(File Modified Jun. 16 2011)