“It’s a known fact that lobsters fall in love and mate for life. You can actually see old lobster couples walking around their tank, holding claws,” Phoebe said in a Friends episode describing Ross and Rachel’s connection. But do lobsters mate for life? As it turns out lobsters are only monogamous for about two weeks and are actually quite promiscuous (1). A female lobster will release pheromones to attract potential mates and males will fight one another to reproduce with that female. The female will molt her shell and will mate with the male and the eggs will be released after about 15 months (2).
Lobster History and Overview
In colonial times, lobsters were bountiful and cheap and were even fed to prisoners. Without all the butter that typically gets loaded onto these delicious crustaceans, they are a good source of protein, omega-three fatty acids, and iron. One of the largest lobsters recorded weighed 44 pounds off the coast of Nova Scotia in 1977. There was a lobster named Rocky that was caught off the coast of Maine in 2012 (3). Lobsters can live upwards of 100 years (4).
The American lobster classification (5)
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Arthropoda
- Class: Crustacea
- Order: Decapoda
- Family: Nephropidae
- Genus: Homarus
- Species: Americanus
With lobster being plentiful historically, Native Americans had used lobster as fertilizer before Europeans arrived in North America. They had also utilized them for bait for fishing. Another way that lobsters have been used is for their shells. A biodegradable golf ball composed of lobster shells was created for a more eco-friendly version that could go the distance of 70% of a regular golf ball (6). These could be used on cruise ships and other golfing areas around bodies of water for a more eco-friendly version.
Do lobsters scream?
No, the noise that you hear when cooking a lobster is the air escaping from its stomach (7). They chew with their stomachs with a gastric mill since they don’t have teeth. As invertebrates, they have a very simple nervous system that doesn’t allow them to feel the same pain as a human would.
Crawfish vs lobster – what are the differences?
Crawfish (commonly called crayfish) live in freshwater and lobsters live in saltwater. The lobster and crawfish are both of the crustacea class, but the family of the crawfish is Astacidae in North America (8). The lobster diet consists of plants, fish, mollusks, and other live animals. Sometimes the lobster will eat other lobsters as well. The crawfish diet consists of decomposing animals and plants including fish. The crawfish is not cannibalistic like the lobster.
Some famous lobsters in pop culture include:
- Larry the Lobster from Spongebob Squarepants
- Lobster Mobster from Disney’s The Little Mermaid television show
- Lobster Telephone by Salvador Dali
- “Rock Lobster” a song from the B-52s
- The Still Life of Cat and Lobster by Pablo Picasso
The Rise of Lobster
From Pablo Picasso’s painting of “The Still Life of Cat and Lobster” to our friend Larry the Lobster on Spongebob Squarepants, lobsters have risen in popularity since colonial times. Lobsters became more of a delicacy in the mid-1800s when canning became popular and transportation by train was available. During World War II lobsters were not rationed and the prices for them sored with demand. Today the crustacean is charged at a premium at restaurants (9).
Thanks for learning more about our favorite crustacean under the sea. Subscribe to our YouTube channel Woof of Mouth for other videos.
- Sipher, Devin. (2008). Out of My Shell Over You. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/06/fashion/weddings/06lobster.html.
- Maine Lobstermen’s. (2020). Lobster 101: Reproduction and Life Cycle. Retrieved from https://mlcalliance.org/all-about-lobster/lobster-101-reproduction-and-life-cycle/.
- The Telegraph. (2012). Lobster ‘The Size of a Small Child’ Caught in Main. Retrieved from https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/wildlife/9102632/Lobster-the-size-of-a-small-child-caught-in-Maine.html.
- Woodmans. (2020). 100 Fun Facts About Lobsters. Retrieved from https://www.woodmans.com/100-lobster-facts/.
- The American Lobster. (2020). Overview of homarus americanus: American Lobster. Retrieved from http://www.parl.ns.ca/lobster/overview.htm.
- NPR. (2011). Biodegradable Golf Balls Bad News for Lobsters. Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/2011/04/03/135087148/biodegradeable-golf-balls-good-for-earth-bad-for-lobsters.
- Waxman, Olivia. 11 Lobster Facts That Will Leave You Shell-Shocked. Retrieved from https://time.com/3184569/11-lobster-facts-that-will-leave-you-shell-shocked/.
- Difference Between. (2020). Difference Between Crawfish and Lobsters. Retrieved from http://www.differencebetween.net/science/nature/difference-between-crawfish-and-lobster/.
- Willet, Megan. (2013). The Remarkable Story Of How Lobster Went From Being Used As Fertilizer To A Beloved Delicacy. Retrieved from https://www.businessinsider.com/the-history-of-gourmet-lobster-2013-8.