Lobsters: Introduction, Biology and Characteristics

Clawed lobsters are very common but economically important groups of crustaceans, contributing millions of dollars to the American Economy. Lobsters are invertebrates and have a tough exterior skeleton which basically protects them. However, they are vulnerable to attack during growth into an adult, full sized lobster. Young Lobsters are termed as "lobsterettes" and are usually vulnerable in these stages.

Lobsters dwell on the muddy, rocky and sandy shoreline, either singly in crevices or in burrows under rocks. Though it has been believed that lobsters are scavengers and feed on decaying animal skeletal and such like, recent observations have been done to justify that they feed on live fish, algae, sea-urchins, small crustaceans and even other lobsters. Lobsters are usually eaten fresh and hence are bought alive. Their claws can be deadly and hence are banded away or tied together while being exported or transported to prevent the lobsters from killing each other or to prevent them from harming the owner. While being sold or while displaying on menu, they are usually kept alive in glass tanks so as to enable patrons to choose their favorite lobsters alive.

Historically, eating lobsters was a sign of poverty in early North America and was not a very popular food, however owing to increasing exports and expansion of transportation technology; it now is a rich delicacy and is consumed in many parts of the world. In the U.S, two kinds of lobsters abound; the "True" or "American" Lobsters and the Spiny Lobsters. The Spiny lobster is usually found to thrive in warm waters off Florida coastline, The West Indies and off Southern California. It might be interesting to note that Inshore Lobsters seldom move from one place to another or max out to a mile or so. However, the deepwater types display migratory patterns; the farthest recorded travel has been about 230 miles off California Coast.

Apart from these said differences, most Lobsters display similar characteristics and behavior patterns. There are however quite a few interesting facts about lobsters that could be sensational. Lobsters will eat any thing next to it, including smaller lobsters if given a chance - hence care should be taken to avoid stacking all lobsters together, it might help compartmentalizing them. Lobsters show immediate hierarchy and dominance while in groups and tend to prowl on the ocean bed in the dark.

Female Lobsters have sustained and long pregnancy periods of up to 20 months and when ready, almost 15000 to 22000 eggs are produced from her ovaries, while she retains and carries them for almost 9 to 11 months.

The world of Lobsters can be truly mysterious. There is a lot more to it than what the tenacious claws tend to show.

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