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
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
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 systemwhich
permits small, juvenile lobsters to easily escapehas
inadvertently prevented the lobster population from being
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
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 1878.
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 (Homarus americanus)
Cape lobster (Homarus capensis)
European lobster (Homarus gammarus)
New Zealand lobster (Metanephrops challengeri)
Norway lobster (Nephrops norvegicus)
Tomalley (the soft green liver of the lobster)
Bubba the lobster
to Boil Lobster
to Eat Lobster
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.
Lobsters are Real
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