An Up-Close Look at a Live Maine Lobster
Have you ever held a live Maine lobster? If you live in New England, then the answer is likely a resounding yes. If you’re not from around these parts, then it’s possible you have never seen a live lobster in action. It’s pretty cool.
A live Maine lobster, when held, tends to fan out in such a way that exposes all of its exterior appendages—most notably exposing the many body parts contained in its undercarriage. These body parts, although fairly alien looking, play a major role in the mobility of a lobster, as well as its internal functions related to digestion.
At Weathervane Seafood Restaurants, we consider ourselves experts in fresh Maine lobster. Our years of experience working with these classic crustaceans have taught us to appreciate each and every one of their attributes.
The following is an up-close and personal look at a live Maine lobster—including explanations as to why each body part is integral to their survival:
Crusher Claw —The crusher claw features a set of large, rounded molar-like teeth perfect for pulverizing shells of a lobster’s favorite meal—clams. The size of these strong claws varies by the age and gender of the lobster. If a lobster ends up losing is crusher claw, never fear, a missing claw regenerates to replace the type of claw that was lost. (*Major source of edible meat)
Pincher Claw — Also known as the Seizer Claw, this claw has a serrated edge with great tufts of sensory hairs lining its sharp, pointed teeth. The size of these sharp claws also varies by the age and gender of the lobster. If a lobster ends up losing its Pincher claw, like the Crusher Claw, a new claw regenerates to replace the lost claw. (*Major source of edible meat)
Rostrum — Located between the eyes, this appendage looks like it would be the lobster’s nose, however, the rostrum simply protects the eyes when lobsters clash.
Mouth — The mouth of a lobster is located just below the rostrum (nose-like appendage), under the eyes and between the antennas. It includes the maxillipeds and mandibles. Lobsters use the maxillipeds to bring food into the opening of the mouth and the mandible serves as a jaw-like structure that helps a lobster crush and ingest its food.
Antenna — Lobsters technically have three pairs of antennas: a large pair and two small pairs. The larger antennas are used for touching—allowing a lobster to find its way around. The smaller antennas help them recognize various chemical signals in water. They are sensitive to odors and help them locate food.
Eyes — Lobsters have a pair of eyes located at the base of their antennas. These eyes are incredibly sensitive to light, are unable to see images clearly and cannot distinguish between colors. A lobster’s eyes can, however, detect movement and shadows.
Walking Legs — A lobster has four pairs of walking legs—which are essential to its mobility. Two of the outer pairs, however, come equipped with small claws that help with moving about the ocean floor. (*Small source of edible meat)
Tail — A lobster uses its tail to help it move about under water. If it needs to make a quick getaway, a lobster will contract its tail forcefully and scoots backwards. (*Large source of edible meat)
Swimmerets — Located under the abdomen, these fin-like appendages come in five pairs. The first pair is different from the other four sets in that it can be used to differentiate males and females, called gonopods, these swimmerets are used for mating. If the first set of swimmerets is large, hard and whitish, then the lobster is a male. If they are small and soft, then the lobster is a female. Swimmerets in general help a lobster move and circulate water inside their shells. Females use the swimmerets to carry and ventilate eggs.
As you can see, each and every appendage of a lobster’s exterior plays a major part in its survival.
Over the years, we have amassed such an enormous wealth of experience and knowledge about lobster that we’ve developed the Lobster Lore Program—an interactive learning opportunity for school children that sends our employees to local schools to teach how lobsters play a very special part in the marine ecosystem.
For more information about lobsters, please visit http://www.lobsterfrommaine.com