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Lobster FAQ

Lobsters are fascinating creatures. Beyond just being known for their longevity and delicious taste, they are among some of the world’s most interesting marine crustaceans. At ShopLobster in Maine, we have gathered some of the greatest facts about these sea-faring creatures to share with you. 

How big can lobsters grow?​

Lobsters can grow to be very large, with some species reaching over 3 feet in length and weighing over 40 pounds. The largest lobster ever caught was over 44 pounds and more than 3 feet long, but this is extremely rare. Generally, lobsters raised for commercial purposes are harvested at around 1-2 pounds and are around 7-9 years old.

How long do lobsters live?

Lobsters can live for quite a long time, with some individuals living for over 100 years. However, the average lifespan of a lobster is around 50 years. Factors such as differences in habitat, diet, and temperature can all affect the lifespan of a lobster. For example, lobsters that live in colder waters tend to grow more slowly and live longer than those that live in warmer waters. Additionally, larger species of lobsters tend to live longer than smaller ones.

How do you tell how old a lobster is?

There are some ways to estimate a lobster’s age: size, molting, and the statolith (explained below). For size, lobsters typically grow about one pound every five to seven years. By measuring the length and weight of a lobster, marine biologists can estimate their age. For molting, young lobsters molt frequently, as often as 10-12 times in their first year.

Inside a lobster’s head is a small structure known as the statolith, which contains growth rings similar to those found in trees. By dissecting a lobster and examining the statolith under a microscope, scientists can determine its age.

Why are some lobsters blue?

Some lobsters are blue due to a genetic anomaly that causes them to produce an excessive amount of a certain protein called crustacyanin. Crustacyanin is responsible for the blue coloration in the lobster’s shell. Normally, crustacyanin binds with other pigments in the shell to create a brownish or greenish color, but when a lobster produces too much of it, the shell turns blue. Read more about the ultra-rare blue, orange, and even calico lobsters here.

Can you eat raw lobster?

While it is technically possible to eat raw lobster, it is not recommended. Lobsters, like any other seafood, may carry harmful bacteria and parasites that can cause foodborne illness. Cooking lobster thoroughly kills any potential pathogens and ensures that it is safe to eat.

Can a lobster live with just one claw?

Yes, a lobster can survive with just one front claw, or even none. Lobsters have the ability to regenerate lost claws over time, so the loss of a claw is not usually fatal. However, the process of regenerating a claw can be energy-intensive for the lobster, so it may take a while for the claw to fully grow back.

Can a lobster grow a new claw?

Yes, a lobster can grow a new claw if it loses one. Lobsters, like other crustaceans, have a remarkable ability to regenerate their limbs. They can regrow legs, antennae, and claws if they lose them due to injury or predators.

Can lobsters swim or do they just crawl?

Lobsters typically crawl along the ocean floor, but they are also capable swimmers. While they are not as efficient at swimming as some other species, such as fish, they can certainly move through the water. Lobsters have a pair of swimmerets, or small legs, located on their tails, which they use to swim backward.

What do lobsters eat?

Lobsters are omnivores and feed on a variety of prey, including fish, crabs, clams, mussels, snails, and worms. They are also known to scavenge on dead animals or leftover bait in lobster traps. Lobsters have powerful claws that they use to crush the shells of their prey to access the meat inside. Lobsters are also known to engage in cannibalism.

How can you tell a male from a female lobster?

Swimmerets are the small feathery appendages found on the underside of the lobster’s tail and are a differentiator. Male lobsters have a pair of large, hard swimmerets near the tail’s base, while females have smaller, softer swimmerets. Additionally, male lobsters also tend to have wider claws than females, and their first pair of walking legs may be larger and sturdier.

Are lobsters monogamous?

Lobsters are not monogamous. In fact, they are known for their promiscuous behavior. During mating season, male lobsters will often fight for the attention of female lobsters, and the winner will mate with multiple females. Female lobsters, in turn, will also mate with multiple males to increase their chances of successful fertilization.

Do male lobsters fight like elk or other males from different species?

The fights between male lobsters are ritualistic and consist of pushing, shoving, and antennae fencing. The goal of the fight is not to injure the opponent, but rather to establish dominance via displays of strength and aggression.

Do lobsters live in groups?

Lobsters generally prefer to live solitary lives, but they can sometimes be found living in groups. Juvenile lobsters can sometimes be found living together for protection, but they will eventually disperse as they grow older. During mating season, male lobsters may gather in the vicinity of a female to compete for her attention, but they do not form a social group.

How do lobsters mate?

Lobsters mate through a process called copulation, which involves the male lobster depositing his sperm directly into the female’s reproductive system. The courtship ritual begins when a male lobster approaches a female and begins to stroke her with his legs and antennae, trying to gain her attention.

Do lobsters lay eggs?

Yes, lobsters do lay eggs. Female lobsters can lay thousands of eggs at a time, which are held on the underside of their tails in a mass called a “berried” or “sponge” lobster. The eggs are fertilized by the male lobster during mating, and the female will carry them for several months before releasing them into the water. The eggs will then hatch into larvae, which float and feed on plankton for several weeks before settling on the ocean floor.

Do lobsters care for their young?

Yes, female lobsters do care for their young. After mating and laying eggs, female lobsters will carry their eggs underneath their tails until they hatch, which can take several months. During this time, the female will take great care to protect her eggs from predators and provide them with oxygen-rich water by fanning her tail. Once the eggs hatch, the baby lobsters, or larvae, will remain under their mother’s care for a short period of time until they are ready to fend for themselves.

How powerful are a lobster’s claws?

Lobsters have very powerful claws that they use for a variety of purposes, including defending themselves, capturing prey, and manipulating objects. Their crusher claws are so strong that they have been known to break through the shells of other crustaceans and even crack open the shells of clams and mussels.

Why do lobsters have one big and one small claw?

The two large front claws of a lobster are used to catch and eat their food, battle predators and even fight other lobsters. The crusher claw is the larger and stronger of the two and, as suggested by the name, is used for crushing shells of mollusks or other crustaceans. The smaller claw is referred to as the cutter claw or pincer claw, and is responsible for holding and tearing.

Do lobsters have natural predators?

Yes, lobsters have natural predators in the ocean. Common predators of lobsters include large fish, such as cod and flounder, as well as octopuses, eels, seals, sea otters, and some species of sharks. The exact predators that prey upon lobsters can vary depending on the species and the region where the lobsters are found.

How long can a lobster live out of water?

Lobsters can live out of water for a relatively long time, usually around 24-36 hours. Their gills must stay moist in order for them to breathe, which is why they are typically wrapped in damp seaweed or stored in a moist container when transported. If they are kept out of water for too long, they can become stressed, dehydrated, and will eventually die.

Can a Maine lobster survive in freshwater?

In short, no, lobsters can not survive in freshwater. As saltwater animals, they are accustomed to this type of environment. The long answer, lobsters live in a state of isotonic stability with the water around them. This means water moves between the saltwater and body tissues in equal amounts. In low salinity environments, such as freshwater, lobsters are unable to prevent fluid accumulation in their cells causing them to die.

What is the preferred temperature range for a Maine lobster?

The preferred temperature range for a Maine lobster is between 41-55°F (5-12°C). Lobsters are cold-blooded creatures, and they have a hard time surviving in water temperatures that are too warm or too cold. In their natural habitat, lobsters can be found in the frigid waters of the North Atlantic Ocean, where the water temperature remains relatively stable throughout the year.

How many different species of lobster are there?

According to the Marine Education Society of Australasia, there are 75 different species of lobster found around the world.* Some of the most commonly known species include the American lobster, European lobster, spiny lobster, slipper lobster, and rock lobster. Each type of lobster varies in size, color, habitat, and flavor. *

Why don’t rock or spiny lobsters have front claws?

While they belong to the same family, rock and spiny lobsters are different from clawed lobsters because they represent a different infra-order called Achelata. Rock lobsters are found in warmer climates, and can be found in the Indian, Atlantic, and Pacific Oceans as well as the Mediterranean and Red Seas. Unlike Maine lobsters, which belong to the infra-order Astacidea, rock lobsters lack true front claws.

The Anatomy of a Lobster Blog

Lobsters are a type of shellfish characterized by their hard exoskeleton and two large claws. They belong to the family Nephropidae and are found in oceans around the world. Lobsters are important commercially and are considered a delicacy in many countries. They are usually steamed or boiled and served with butter or other sauces. In this article, we’ll break down the anatomy of a lobster and how to tell the difference between a male and a female.

Although lobsters lack a vertebral column, they do have a complex nervous system and exhibit some surprising behaviors. For example, lobsters have been observed engaging in social hierarchies and even “lining up” in order of size. They also have a remarkable ability to regenerate limbs and other body parts.

The Anatomy of a Lobster

The bilateral symmetry of Homarus americanus is a key characteristic of its body plan. As a result of this symmetry, the lobster has two identical halves of its body. This is because the organs are arranged in a way that is symmetrical and each half is a mirror image of the other. This symmetry provides benefits for the lobster in many ways. For example, each half of the body can work independently, which allows the lobster to move and navigate with great flexibility. Additionally, each half can have its own set of sensory organs, such as eyes and antennae, which allows the lobster to detect and respond to its environment more effectively.

Overall, the bilateral symmetry of Homarus americanus is a feature that has helped the species to survive and thrive in its environment. By having two identical halves, the lobster is able to move, sense, and respond to its surroundings in a way that is both efficient and effective. While there are other factors that contribute to the success of this species, its bilateral symmetry is undoubtedly an important part of its survival strategy.

The Lobster’s Body

The lobster is made up of two main parts, the cephalothorax, and the abdomen. The cephalothorax consists of the head and mid-section and is covered by a hard shell called the carapace. The abdomen is commonly referred to as the tail. The somites make up the 14 segments that are fused together to form the cephalothorax. Each somite has a pair of appendages located on different areas of the lobster’s body.

The First Part, or Segment, of the Body

The eyes of the lobster are located on the first segment and are housed at the end of two movable stalks found on either side of the rostrum. Lobsters have compound eyes made up of thousands of little lenses joined together. Despite having these complex eyes, lobsters actually have poor vision in bright light. Lobsters cannot see specific images but can detect motion in dim light.

The Second Segment of the Body

The cephalothorax of a lobster is integral to its survival as it contains the sensory organs and mouthparts required for essential tasks such as finding food, selecting mates, and determining danger. The antennules, found on the second segment, are responsible for detecting distant odors and chemical messages in seawater. With over 400 different types of receptors present on the antennules, lobsters can distinguish between species and are equipped with a sense of smell that humans would find astonishing. Additionally, the longer antennae on the third segment have sensory functions as well.

The Last Three Segments of the Body

The last three segments of the cephalon and first three segments of the thorax hold the vital mouthparts of the lobster, which have various tasks of gripping, passing food along, crushing, and ingestion. A deep understanding of the cephalothorax’s structure and function is crucial in comprehending a lobster’s behaviors and how it goes about fulfilling its biological needs.

Lobster Legs and Claws

The lobster’s walking legs and claws are situated in the remaining segments of its cephalothorax, specifically on segments 10-14. These five legs, including the claws, attach to the lobster’s body on either side. The first three pairs of legs terminate in pincers that are sharp, small, scissor-like claws capable of handling and tasting food. The interior of the pincers consists of tiny hairs that sense touch and taste. 

The largest and sharpest pincers are located on the first legs and are known as claws. The smaller of the two claws is referred to as the pincer claw while the larger is the crusher claw. The crusher claw is more significant and powerful than the pincer claw, and its primary function is to break the shells of the lobster’s prey. The razor-shaped pincer claw, on the other hand, is useful in tearing into the soft flesh of the prey.

How to Tell the Difference Between a Male and Female

What is the easiest way to tell the difference between a male and female lobster? Check out their swimmerets, which are small, feathery appendages located on the underside of the tail. In females, the first pair of swimmerets are soft and translucent, while in males they are larger and hard and used to transfer sperm to the female during mating. Additionally, female lobsters tend to have wider tails and smaller claws than males. However, it can be harder to differentiate between male and female lobsters when they are young or of similar size. In this case, an experienced lobster fisherman or biologist may need to inspect the gonads of the lobster to determine its sex.


Lobsters are fascinating and complex creatures. And now you know that there’s much more to lobsters than a fancy dinner entree! With more information we can come to appreciate these animals and in turn have a greater respect for them and our oceans. works alongside real fishermen with the goal of bringing awareness to these complex creatures through sustainable fishing practices and education. Visit today for more information and to order fresh lobster right to your door.