lobster claw

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Homarus americanus

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Crustacea
Class: Malacostraca
Order: Decapoda
Suborder: Pleocyemata
Infraorder: Astacidea
Family: Nephropidae


Clawed lobsters comprise a family (Nephropidae, sometimes also Homaridae) of large marine crustaceans. They are important as an animal, a business and a food.

Clawed lobsters should not be confused with spiny lobsters, which have no claws (chelae), and are not closely related. The closest relatives of clawed lobsters are the reef lobster Enoplometopus and the three families of freshwater crayfish.

Smaller varieties are sometimes called "lobsterettes". Lobsters are invertebrates, and have a tough exoskeleton, which protects them. Like all arthropods, lobsters must molt in order to grow, leaving them vulnerable during this time. Lobsters are considered a food delicacy around the world. In Europe, they are extremely expensive; in some parts of North America, much less so.

Lobsters live on rocky, sandy, or muddy bottoms from the shoreline to beyond the edge of the continental shelf. They generally live singly in crevices or in burrows under rocks.

Lobsters are primarily scavengers, feeding on mollusks and decaying animal matter, but will also eat live fish, dig for clams, and feed on algae and eel-grass. An average adult lobster is about nine inches (230 mm) long and weighs 1.5 to 2 pounds (700 to 900 g). Lobsters grow throughout their lives, though, and are long-lived. They can thus reach impressive sizes. According to the Guinness World Records, the largest lobster was caught in Nova Scotia, Canada and weighed 20.14 kg (44.4 lb).

The environmental conditions of the lobsters can vary from ocean to ocean, but the lobster's temperature environment does not fluctuate much since their home is large mass of water, the ocean.

Like all arthropods, lobsters are largely bilaterally symmetrical; clawed lobsters often possess unequal, specialized claws, like the stone crab. The anatomy of the lobster includes the cephalothorax which is the head fused with the thorax, both of which are covered by the carapace, and the abdomen. The lobster's head consists of antennae, antennules, mandibles, the first and second maxillae, and the first, second, and third maxillipeds. Because a lobster lives in a murky environment at the bottom of the ocean, its vision is poor and it mostly uses its antennae as sensors. The abdomen of the lobster includes swimmerets and its tail is composed of uropods and the telson.

The lobster industry

Most lobster comes from the north-eastern coast of North America with the Canadian Maritimes and the U.S. state of Maine being the largest producers. They are caught using lobster traps. These devices made of shrimp mesh and wire (wooden traps, now obsolete, were traditionally used) are baited and lowered to the sea floor. They allow a lobster to enter, but make it impossible for the larger specimens to turn around and exit. This allows the creatures to be captured alive. The traps have a buoy, sometimes referred to as a "pot", floating on the surface and lobster fishermen check their traps daily. Studies have shown that the inefficient trap system—which permits small, juvenile lobsters to easily escape—has inadvertently prevented the lobster population from being overfished.

As food

Prior to the 20th century, lobster wasn't popular as food. In the Maritimes, eating lobster was considered a mark of poverty. In some parts of the Maritime provinces of Canada, lobster was used as a fertilizer for farmers' fields. Outside of the rural outports lobster was sold canned, losing much of its flavour.

The reputation of lobster changed with the development of the modern transportation industry that allowed live lobsters to be shipped from the outports to large urban centres. Fresh lobster quickly became a luxury food and a tourist attraction for the Maritimes and Maine and an export to Europe and Japan where it is especially expensive.

Lobster is most commonly cooked by placing a live whole lobster in a pot of boiling water. Some consider this method cruel, and more humane ways of killing them include inserting a knife into the back of their head and slicing downward, and freezing them for 15 minutes before boiling. The apparent cruelty of boiling lobsters alive was challenged in a Norwegian study released in February of 2005, which determined that lobsters cannot feel pain due to their diminished central nervous system capacity.

Lobster is best eaten fresh, and they are normally purchased live. Restaurants that serve lobster keep a tank of the live creatures, often allowing patrons to pick their own. The shell of the lobster makes eating them a slow process, requiring a number of implements. The majority of the meat is in the tail and the two front claws, but smaller quantities can be found in the legs and torso. Lobsters are often eaten plain or with butter or white vinegar. Lobster can also be cut up and used in a wide array of dishes. One popular way of serving lobster was to combine it with steak in what became known by the 1960s as surf and turf.

In Canada, Shediac, New Brunswick promotes itself as the "Lobster Capital of the World".
"Lobster Newberg. Also "lobster a la Newburg". The dish was made famous at Delmonico's Restaurant in New York in 1876 when the recipe was brought to chef Charles Ranhofer by a West Indies sea captain named Ben Wenberg. It was an immediate hit, especially for after-theater suppers, and owner Charles Delmonico honored the capatain by naming the dish "lobster a la Wenberg." But later Wenberg and Delmonico had a falling-out, and the restauranteur took the dish off the menu, restoring it only by popular demand by renaming it "lobster a la Newberg," reversing the first three letters of the captain's name. Chef Ranhofer also called it "lobster a la Delmonico," but the appelation "Newberg" (by 1897 it was better known under the spelling "Newburg") stuck, and the dish became a standard in hotel dining rooms in the United States. It is still quite popular and is found in French cookbooks, where it is sometimes referred to as "Homard saute a la creme."...The first printed recipe appeared in 1895.”—Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink, John F. Mariani. New York: Lebhar-Friedman, 1999. Pages 187–8.

In the Indian subcontinent, especially in West Bengal and Bangladesh, a delicacy of lobsters is called "Golda Chingrir Malai Curry" and is cooked with coconut milk and spices.

Lobster Types
American Lobster (Homarus americanus)
Blue Lobster
• Cape lobster (Homarus capensis)
• European lobster (Homarus gammarus)
• New Zealand lobster (Metanephrops challengeri)
• Norway lobster (Nephrops norvegicus)

See also
Spiny Lobster
Red Lobster
• Tomalley (the soft green liver of the lobster)
• Bubba the lobster
How to Boil Lobster
How to Eat Lobster
Live Maine Lobsters
Surf and Turf
Live Maine Lobsters

Scientists say lobsters feel no pain
A marine biologist at the University of Aberdeen, says crabs and lobsters have only about 100,000 neurons, compared with 100bn in people and other vertebrates. While this allows them to react to threatening stimuli, he said there is no evidence they feel pain.

Baked Stuffed Lobster
Seafood Stuffed Lobster

Blue Lobsters are Real

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It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Lobster".

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