What is a lobster

lobster

Characteristics

What do lobsters look like?

Lobsters belong to the class of the higher crustaceans and there to the order of the decapod crabs.

There are two types: the European lobster and the American lobster. Both are very similar, but the American species is significantly larger.

Lobsters grow up to 60 centimeters long and weigh up to six kilograms.

Individual specimens can be much larger: the largest caught European lobster was 126 centimeters long and over nine kilograms, the largest American lobster even weighed a little over 20 kilograms.

The body of the lobster is divided into three sections: a fairly long abdomen with the tail fan, a front body on which the five pairs of legs sit, and the head with a pair of long and a pair of short antennae.

The first of the pairs of legs is converted into huge scissors, but they are of different sizes.

The bigger one is the cracking scissors. The animals open their prey to me. They hold the prey with the smaller, toothed scissors.

The larger scissors are also used for defense.

The second and third pair of legs, the walking legs, have small attachments of scissors, the fourth and fifth pair of legs do not have scissors. These are the so-called swimming legs. They look like little paddles.

The shell of the Hummer is smooth and very hard.

It can be colored quite differently. The color spectrum ranges from dark purple to strong blue. But there are also yellowish animals or even white ones.

Lobsters are yellowish to brown in color on the sides and are often reddish mottled.

Where do lobsters live?

The European lobster is at home on the European and North African Atlantic coasts from northern Norway to Morocco. He also lives in the Mediterranean, the North Sea and the western part of the Black Sea.

The American lobster can be found on the eastern Atlantic coast of North America. But since 1999 it has also appeared on the North Sea coast off Sweden, Denmark and Norway. Presumably the animals were abandoned there by humans.

Lobsters live exclusively on the ocean floor.

They usually live at a depth of four to 50 meters. Sometimes they go even deeper: European lobsters at a maximum depth of 150 meters, American ones at a depth of 480 meters.

Lobsters need water temperatures of five to 20 degrees Celsius.

What types of lobsters are there?

There are two types: the European (Homarus gammarus) and the American lobster (Homarus americanus).

Lobsters are related to other marine crustaceans, such as lobsters.

How old do lobsters get?

Lobsters can live to be 60 to 100 years old.

behavior

How do lobsters live?

Lobsters are solitary and nocturnal animals. They spend the day in rock caves. At night they come out looking for food. Lobsters move on the seabed, they cannot swim. They are very local and move within a maximum of four to five kilometers.

Only in winter do they hike a little further and seek refuge in deeper water. The American lobsters cover longer distances than the European ones.

Most lobsters are peaceful. Only when a conspecific comes too close do they push each other away and defend themselves with their scissors.

Lobsters use their antennas to explore their surroundings: with the long ones they can feel, with the short ones they perceive chemical signals.

Lobsters grow their lives. But the older they get, the slower they grow. If they no longer fit into their shell, they shed their skin. In the first years of life this happens up to nine times a year, later only once a year. The new armor is still soft and it takes about three weeks to harden.

With each moult, the length of the carapace increases between ten and 20 percent.

Friends and enemies of the lobster

Natural enemies include fish such as cod, haddock and flounder. However, their main enemy is humans. Because lobsters are considered a delicacy, they are hunted by humans. To ensure that the number of animals does not decrease too much, only animals that are larger than 21 centimeters may be caught.

Lobsters are lured into special baskets with the help of bait, from which they can no longer get out. They also survive out of the water and are sold alive. The scissors are tied to prevent them from injuring each other.

Before being eaten, lobsters are thrown into boiling water to kill them. Animal rights activists criticize this cruel method because the animals suffer pain and only die after a few minutes.

How do lobsters reproduce?

Lobsters can only mate if a female has just moulted and her shell is still soft. Mating takes place in autumn. The males first woo the females and create so-called mating caves for this purpose. The actual pairing can take up to seven days.

After mating, the males guard their females until their shell has hardened.

When mating, the females ingest the males' sperm and store them in a semen bag.

Only next summer do they produce 10,000 to 60,000 eggs and attach them to the underside of their abdomen and to their swimming legs.

They give up the sperm and fertilization takes place outside the body.

After nine to eleven months, the seven to eight millimeter small larvae hatch and float in the water.

They molt three times, then sink to the bottom and revive life on the ocean floor. The warmer the water, the faster they grow.

The animals are sexually mature after five to seven years. The males are then 17 centimeters, the females about 22 centimeters long.

maintenance

What do lobsters eat?

Lobsters feed on marine invertebrates such as sea urchins, starfish, worms, mussels, but also on smaller crustaceans.

Once a lobster has cut the prey with its two large claws, it swirls it into its mouth with the help of many small appendages.

If lobsters are kept too close in aquariums, they will also attack conspecifics.