29 Lobster Facts That Will Leave You Amazed


Healthy, versatile, and delicious, lobster is truly one of nature’s best gifts with the uncanny ability to turn any meal into an extra special occasion.

Chances are you already know how deliciously decadent a fresh steamed lobster with melted butter can be. It’s no wonder that lobster is such a popular dish across America and the world.

You may have mastered the way to crack open a lobster claw but how much do you really know about this tasty treat?

While lobster graces the menu of many restaurants, few people know very much about everyone’s favorite crustacean. We are here to fix that. We’ve collected some facts about lobsters that you probably didn’t know. These fascinating lobster facts will help you appreciate these delicacies even more the next time you take a bite.

Lobsters Have a Closer Relationship to Insects Than Fish

Lobsters are invertebrates, animals without a backbone. Their exoskeleton serves as protection, much like the exoskeletons of insects, to which they are more closely related. Insects and lobsters belong to the Arthropod phylum.

Despite their similar exoskeletons and legs, insects and lobsters are fundamentally different creatures. Lobsters, for example, have ten legs but insects only have six.

Lobster Blood Is Colorless

When exposed to oxygen, it develops a bluish color.

Each of a Lobster’s Claws Serves a Different Purpose

Ever notice that a lobster will have one claw that’s larger than the other? Well, this is because the larger of the two claws are used for crushing food (like crabs and clams) while the smaller claw tears the soft flesh of the food source.

Lobsters Can Regenerate Their Limbs

If a lobster loses a claw or a leg it is able to grow it back. However, it takes about five years for a lobster to regenerate a claw that is the same size as the one it lost. Lobsters that are missing a claw are referred to in the industry as “cull.” Cull can still be caught and consumed and are often marked down in stores. However, if you are serving lobster at a dinner party you may want to purchase lobsters with all their claws.

Lobsters Molt to Grow

Lobsters have a soft exoskeleton that they periodically shed in a process called molting. During molting, lobsters retreat to a hiding place as their new shell hardens and their body grows.

The molting process itself puts a lot of stress on a lobster’s body and about 10% to 15% of lobsters die naturally while shedding their shell. Lobsters molt very frequently in the first few years of their life and then about once a year after they have reached a mature size.

Picture from: bubblydiver.com

After Lobsters Molt,They Are Starving and Deficient in Nutrients

They often eat the shell they have just molted to replenish their calcium levels before they go in search of food.

Not All Lobsters Have Claws

There are two kinds of lobsters: clawed lobsters and spiny lobsters (or rock lobsters). Clawed lobsters are generally found in cold marine waters and are known as the American lobster (found on the east coast of North America from Newfoundland to North Carolina). The spiny lobster, which doesn’t have claws, is found in warm waters off Florida, in the West Indies, and off southern California. The item marketed as “lobster tail” is usually from a spiny lobster.

There’s a Nickname For Lobsters that Have Just Molted

They’re called shedders.

Lobster Communicate by Using Their Antennae

Lobster’s use their long antennae to communicate with each other. They wave their antennae around to convey different messages such as aggression or submission.

Lobsters Are Cannibals

Lobsters are opportunistic eaters and are known to engage in cannibalism. They may prey on smaller, weaker lobsters, if given the opportunity.

Lobster’s Chew with Their Stomach

Different from human beings, lobsters chew food with their stomachs. The grinding structure used for breaking up food is known as the gastric mill. You can imagine this part of lobsters as a set of teeth on their stomachs which is located right behind their eyes. Usually in a one pound lobster, this gastric mill is about the same size as a walnut.

Lobsters Are Not Actually Red

Contrary to popular belief, lobsters are not naturally red. They are usually a brown or greenish color and it is only when they are cooked that their shell turns into a vibrant shade of red.

Lobsters Smell with Their Legs

Lobsters use small chemosensory hairs on their legs and feet to identify their food. This is particularly useful in locating small creatures or food that is dissolved into the water.

Lobsters also use the antennae on the front of their heads to smell food further away. Combined, these features make their sense of smell so precise that they can seek out a single amino acid just by smelling.

When consuming their prey, the hairs on a lobster’s front walking legs allows them to taste the food.

Photo credit: stock.adobe.com

Lobsters Have a Complex Social Hierarchy

Lobsters have a pecking order within their population. The largest and strongest lobsters are typically dominant and have access to better resources and mating opportunities.

Lobsters Can Suffocate in Water

Though water is the natural habitat for lobsters, they can still suffocate in it. However, suffocation does not occur from breathing water. It happens when there is insufficient or lack of oxygen in the water. Lobsters need oxygen to survive and when there is a depletion in the water they are placed in for an extended period they can die in it.

Lobsters Never Stop Growing

As far as scientists know, lobsters continue to grow throughout their entire lives. Lobsters will continue to eat, grow, and molt indefinitely until they die of natural causes or are caught.

The largest lobster recorded so far was caught in Nova Scotia in 1977. This monstrous lobster was 3.5 feet long and weighed over 44 pounds.

Growing larger and stronger with age is a unique trait in the animal world.

Lobsters Are Biologically Immortal

As lobsters get older, as mentioned above, they show no signs of aging. Older lobsters continue to eat, have a stable metabolism, and have high energy. Lobsters continue to mate and reproduce with equal vigor as they age. In fact, older and longer female lobsters can carry more eggs than younger smaller lobsters

Because lobsters do ot show characteristics of aging, or senescence, they are said to be biologically immortal.

Most lobsters die from external causes including predators, humans, and disease, but it is still possible for a lobster to die from old age. This typically occurs when an aging lobster is unable to continue molting and rots inside of its shell.

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Lobsters Can Live to Be Over 100 Years Old

Lobsters are known for their longevity; they can live to be over 100 years old! Lobsters have rings across their bodies that indicate their age. The oldest recorded lobster was estimated to be 140 years old. This is due to their slow growth rate and the fact that they don’t stop growing until they die.

Lobsters Can 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 use them to send specific signals during social interactions, be it for establishing dominance hierarchies, or finding a mate.

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Lobsters Are Only Able to Breed Seasonally

A female lobster mates when she is in the soft-shell state, right after she has shed her shell. She releases her urine (which acts as a pheromone) to attract male lobsters for breeding. This has the bonus of protecting her from being eaten by other lobsters before her new shell has grown because male lobsters would rather mate with her than eat her.

Once the female lobster has mated, she carries the live sperm in her body for up to two years. At any time she may decide to fertilize her 3,000-75,000 eggs. By law, a female lobster carrying eggs must be thrown back if it is caught.

Lobster Claws Are Strong

You likely already know that you don’t want to be pinched by a lobster claw, but did you know just how strong they actually are? An adult lobster can exert up to 100 pounds of pressure per square inch with their pinchers – ouch!

Lobsters Live on the Ocean Floor

Lobsters inhabit locations from rocky, coastal crevices to the sandy and muddy depths offshore. Each habitat offers abundant food sources, a defense against predators, or favorable conditions for reproduction.

Instead of swimming, lobsters walk on the ocean floor using specialized legs called pereiopods. They also detect nearby movement using their antennae. As nocturnal animals, most lobsters spend their days inside caves, crevices and under rocks.

Source: cimi.org

Lobsters Can Swim Backward

While most lobsters crawl forward, they can also swim backward. If a lobster feels threatened or startled, it will dart backward by curling and uncurling its tail. This allows it to keep its antennae on the predator or other threat in front of it while escaping.

Lobsters Use Their Bladders to Swim

While lobsters are typically bottom dwelling creatures, they can swim short distances by quickly contracting their abdomens and expelling water from their bladders.

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The Green in Cooked Lobster Is Liver

Technically, the green in cooked lobster is the tomalley; it is one of the edible parts in lobster. Specifically, it is known as a digestive gland which includes the intestine, liver, and pancreas.

The First Lobster Catch Was Over 400 Years Ago

The first Maine lobster catch was recorded by James Rosier in 1605. The lobster industry truly took off in the 1700s. Traditional fishing boats continued to be used by lobstermen in the North Atlantic through the 1900s.

Lobster Meat Is Healthy

In addition to its rich and delicious taste, lobster is good for you, too. Lobster is high in protein and low in fat. Lobster also contains healthy omega-3 fatty acids and iron.

When shopping for lobster, seek wild caught lobster that was not raised in a farm. Farm-raised lobster often contains antibiotics or hormones that many people want to avoid.

Lobster Used to Be Caught by Hand

While many people associate soft shells with crabs, lobsters can also be purchased with soft shells. Soft shell lobsters are caught just after molting, typically in July and October. While not as common as hard shell lobsters, soft shell lobster is said to have sweeter and more tender meat.

In conclusion…

Clearly, lobsters are more than just a delicious meal. As you can see, lobsters are fascinating creatures with some truly impressive qualities. From their ageless existence to their ability to regenerate limbs, lobsters are truly one of nature’s most peculiar creations.

So the next time you’re settling down for a delectable lobster dinner, you’ll have a newfound appreciation for these remarkable marine marvels.