10 Facts About Lobsters

Lobsters, beyond their culinary popularity, are intriguing marine creatures with an array of unique characteristics that have fascinated scientists, seafood enthusiasts, and chefs alike.

Beyond their popular culinary uses, these marine dwellers boast a myriad of unique traits and fascinating characteristics. Here, we delve into the world of lobsters to unearth ten intriguing facts about these extraordinary underwater denizens.

1. Lobsters Were Once Considered “Poor Man’s Chicken”

Historically, lobsters were so plentiful they were seen as the food of the poor. Servants, apprentices, and even cats and dogs were often fed with lobsters. However, the advent of railway transport in the mid-19th century transformed lobsters into a luxury food item. Today, lobsters hold a prestigious position in the culinary world, a dramatic shift from their humble past.

2. Lobsters Can Regrow Lost Limbs

Lobsters possess an impressive biological resilience, showcased by their ability to shed off their limbs when injured or threatened, a process known as autotomy. But what’s even more remarkable is their ability to regrow these lost limbs. A new claw, leg, or antenna can regenerate over time, exemplifying the lobster’s extraordinary adaptability.

3. Lobsters Taste with Their Legs

In an unusual twist to taste perception, lobsters use tiny brush-like hairs on their legs, called setae, to taste their food. These sensitive hairs can detect the chemical composition of potential food, thus enabling lobsters to “taste” their surroundings. They also use small sensory hairs on their pincers to explore their environment, further underlining their unique sensory adaptations.

4. Lobsters Have Blue Blood

The fascinating biological characteristics of lobsters include their blue blood, which is due to the copper-based molecule, hemocyanin, that carries oxygen from the gills to the rest of the body. Unlike human’s iron-based, red blood, a lobster’s blood turns a vibrant blue when exposed to oxygen, making their circulatory system a subject of intrigue in marine biology.

5. Lobsters Molt Their Shells to Grow

In order to grow, lobsters shed their old, rigid shell in a process known as molting. After shedding their old shell, they inflate their body with water to expand the soft shell underneath, which then hardens into a new, larger shell. This energy-intensive process is a crucial part of a lobster’s life, with lobsters molting over 25 times before reaching adulthood.

6. Lobsters Are Practically Immortal

The term “immortal” may be a stretch, but lobsters are known for their extraordinarily long lives, with some reaching ages over 100 years. This longevity is attributed to a special enzyme called telomerase, which repairs DNA sequences and inhibits their aging. Not only do lobsters live long, but they also grow larger and stronger with age, a unique trait in the animal kingdom.

7. Lobsters Communicate Through Their Urine

Lobsters use a rather unconventional method of communication – they spray each other with streams of urine. These marine creatures have urine release nozzles right under their eyes, and they use them to send specific signals during social interactions, be it for establishing dominance hierarchies or finding a mate.

8. Lobsters Are Not Always Red/Orange

Contrary to common belief, lobsters are not naturally red. They turn the familiar reddish hue only when cooked. In their natural, underwater habitats, lobsters can exhibit a variety of colors like blue, yellow, green, and even calico or two-toned. This color diversity is influenced by their diet and specific genetic factors.

9. Lobsters Carry Their Young for Nearly a Year

Female lobsters display a unique form of maternal care seldom seen in marine creatures. They carry their eggs under their tails for nearly a year before they hatch into miniature lobsters. During this time, the mother lobster meticulously takes care of the eggs, continuously aerating and cleaning them until they are ready to hatch.

10. Lobsters Can Be Cannibalistic

When it comes to survival, lobsters may resort to a shocking behavior – cannibalism. This unusual behavior has been observed in captivity when lobsters are kept in high-density conditions. In the wild, such behavior tends to occur when food resources are scarce. However, their primary diet consists of fish, mollusks, and other sea creatures.

Final Thoughts

These ten facts about lobsters not only underscore their peculiar biological characteristics but also reflect the diversity of life in the underwater world. Lobsters are indeed far more intriguing than they appear at first glance, proving that there’s much to learn and appreciate about these armored denizens of the deep.