Upon the death of a lobster the tail loses its elasticity and
ability to curl under the body. When plunged into boiling water, a
live lobster curls its tail under. It remains in that position during
and after cooking.
Lobsters are not poisonous if they die before cooking, but cooking
should not be delayed. Many lobsters sold commercially are killed and
frozen before cooking. Lobsters and other crustaceans do spoil rapidly
after death, which is why many buyers insist on receiving them alive.
If the lobster is "headed" before or soon after death, the body meat
will keep fresh longer. This is because the so-called head includes the
thorax, the site of most of the viscera and gills, which spoil much
more rapidly than claw or tail meat. Freezing slows deteriorative
changes and harmful chemical actions that follow death.
Not yet, but research is underway to develop rearing techniques
and to assess the economic feasibility of rearing the American lobster
commercially. In the opinion of many scientists working with the
American lobster, commercial aquaculture can be achieved in the near
future with a sufficient level of effort. Future projections for the
culture of the spiny lobster are not, however, optimistic. Unlike the
American lobster which has a relatively short larval life (several
weeks), the spiny lobster has a larval life of about six or seven
months. The technical difficulties presented by the fragile, demanding
requirements of the early life stages discount the use of traditional
hatchery methods with any degree of success or practicality.
Attempts have been made to do so, but success has been limited.
The Canadian government discontinued in mid-1973 a six-year-old
experiment in which the lobsters were reared successfully in the
waters off British Columbia. The decision to drop the project was
evidently dictated by economics.
After molting, lobsters will eat voraciously, often devouring their own
recently vacated shells. This replenishment of lost calcium hastens the
hardening of the new shell which takes about 14-30 days from the actual loss of
the old shell.
Most crabs "walk" or run across the ocean bottom. Some, such
as the commercially caught blue crab of the Atlantic coast (a member of
the one family of "swimming crabs") can swim. Their rearmost pair of
legs is modified for swimming and legs are paddle-shaped .