Northern Lobster - Homarus americanus
Lobsters are part of the Arthropoda phylum. They are related to insects! Like insects, they have an exoskeleton. Like most arthropods, the lobster is
bilateral. That means that if you cut a lobster in half from head to tail, the two halves would be exactly the same!
The northern lobster is found from the coast of Labrador, Canada south to Virginia.
The northern lobster is found on the rocky bottoms of cold, shallow waters from the shoreline to the continental shelf. It prefers rocky areas where is can find places to hide from predators!
Many people think the lobster is a scavenger and eats only dead animals. The lobster is not a picky eater, but it does eat mostly live food! It eats a wide variety of live food including crabs, mussels, starfish, marine worms, shrimp, and even some plants. It may also eat some dead meat or carrion.
The female lobster can only mate right after molting. She uses chemical communication to attract a mate and releases a pheromone or chemical that lets the male know she is ready to mate. The male deposits his sperm in the female. The female can carry the sperm in a seminal receptacle for up to 15 months. When she releases her eggs, they pass by the seminal receptacle and are fertilized by the sperm. The female can carry tens of thousands of eggs at a time.
Lobster larvae molts four times in the first 10 to 20 days. In these first days, the larvae are found near the surface of the water. Eventually, the young lobster is large enough to sink to the ocean floor. The young lobster molts 10 more times in its first year. At the end of its first year, it is about an inch in length. It takes a lobster up to six years to grow to a weight of one pound! Lobsters can live as long as 50 years!
The lobster is a solitary creature. It can also be very aggressive with other lobsters! Lobsters may threaten and shove at each other with their claws.