Locust belongs to the family Nephropidae, sometimes to the Homaridae of large marine crustaceans. It is a large crustacean, many species weigh more than 20 kg and like the crab, is similar to prawns and prawns.

They are highly appreciated commercially by humans as shellfish. The most traded species are Homarus from the northern Atlantic Ocean, and prawns (similar to a shrimp or mini-lobster): the genus Nephrops from the Northern Hemisphere and the genus Metanephrops from the Southern Hemisphere.

Lobster
Lobster

Species

There are 49 species of lobster that can be found in the world's oceans. Lobsters also inhabit fresh and brackish waters. Of 49 species of lobsters, 33 are exploited commercially.

Features

Lobster is a invertebrate animal protected by a hard exoskeleton and like all arthropods they must shed their skin in order to grow, which makes them vulnerable. They also change color during the shedding process. Normally they measure between 25 - 50 cm in length and can reach 60 cm and weigh over 40 kg.

They live for about 100 years, but sometimes they exceed a century. Throughout its life, the lobster continues to grow in size. Due to this we can find lobsters of a huge size. The variety of colors includes red, blue, green, purple, and yellow.

They have 10 walking legs or 5 pairs, the first three pairs are pincer-shaped, the first pair being larger than the others. Although bilaterally symmetrical, some species have uneven and specialized claws. Despite all its legs, it moves very slowly walking along the bottom of the sea. However, if it is threatened and needs to flee it is able to swim quickly backwards curling and uncoiling its abdomen.

It has the cephalothorax that joins the head, the thorax (covered by a chitinous shell) and the abdomen. The head has antennae, atencula and the jaw. The antennas are used as sensors, since they live in murky places at the bottom of the ocean. The lobster eye has a reflective structure on a convex retina. In contrast, most complex eyes use refractive ray concentrators (lenses) and a concave retina. The abdomen contains swimmers and its tail is made up of uropods and the telson.

We found the mouth under the cephalothorax, next to the antennae. The jaws are used as teeth, and like ruminants, they chew the food a couple of times to pass it to the first stomach called the cardiac stomach where the food is finished grinding. Once ground, it passes to the second stomach, called pyloric, to end up in the intestine.

Due to the hemocyanin, which contains copper, lobster blood is blue like that of snails and spiders. They have an organ called the hepatopancreas, which performs the same functions as the pancreas and liver of mammals. He is known to chefs as "Tomalley".

Most lobsters are nocturnal animals, that is, they rest during the day in burrows dug by themselves and go hunting at night.



They are solitary animals. Individuals stay among rocks during the day to avoid predators (mainly cod) and venture out at night in search of food.

Lobsters rarely interact with each other. Studies show that when introduced into a community, locusts have a social hierarchy. This social system plays an important role when the mating season arrives. A male who has a higher status among his neighbors will have a safe haven and will be able to mate with multiple females. One theory about the mechanisms that maintain this social hierarchy is that locusts recognize each other by the chemicals they excrete. A lobster has been shown to recognize another lobster that it has been reunited with previously for up to two weeks.

Behavior

They are solitary animals. Individuals stay among rocks during the day to avoid predators (mainly cod) and venture out at night in search of food.

Lobsters rarely interact with each other. Studies show that when introduced into a community, locusts have a social hierarchy. This social system plays an important role when the mating season arrives. A male who has a higher status among his neighbors will have a safe haven and will be able to mate with multiple females. One theory about the mechanisms that maintain this social hierarchy is that locusts recognize each other by the chemicals they excrete. A lobster has been shown to recognize another lobster that it has been reunited with previously for up to two weeks.

Habitat

The habitat of the lobster can vary according to the species, since some species can live in brackish waters and others in fresh water, therefore, they live all over the world but their distribution will depend on the species. Commercial species like Homarus americanus y Homarus gammarus inhabit the Atlantic Ocean and the common Caribbean lobster (Panulirus argus) lives from Brazil to the United States, passing through the Caribbean. Other lobsters such as the spiny one inhabit warm seas, being very abundant in Australia.

Some species seek rocky, sandy, or muddy bottoms that are close to shore and beyond the edge of the continental shelf, as they prefer shallow waters. While other species inhabit coral reefs, mangroves etc.

Caribbean common lobster
Caribbean common lobster

Food

The lobster is an omnivorous animal. In captivity some individuals have been seen who have resorted to cannibalism.

They have an excellent sense of smell and touch. They use both senses to detect prey. Lobsters eat mostly meat, such as fish, mollusks, worms, and crustaceans. They also consume algae and other marine vegetation when food is scarce.

Three stomachs make up the digestive system, which is located within the cefalotórax (head and thorax). The first stomach (forguet) grinds food into small particles with grinding teeth. The second stomach (middle intestine) has glands to digest the particles. The glands are the green portion of the lobster that some humans eat (called the "tomalley"). The third stomach (hindgut) receives unabsorbed particles that pass into the anus.

The lobster diet is usually night. It is usually a scavenger that feeds on dead animals, but it is also capable of capturing its own prey. The lobster's diet consists mainly of clams, crabs, snails, small fish, algae, and other plants called eel grass. Since lobsters sometimes eat their own shed shell, they were thought to be cannibals, but this has never been recorded in the wild. However, they will eat other lobsters when in captivity.

Predators

The main predator of the lobster is humans, due to its consumption throughout the planet. Naturally, the predators are seals and fish such as cod and haddock.

In captivity it is possible to find raccoons laying siege to lobster pounds at low tide, although they are unable to hunt wild lobsters. Lobsters in captivity will eat each other if left unchecked, but totally cannibalistic behavior has never been seen in the wild.

Reproduction

The lobster reaches sexual maturity at different ages depending on the species. For example, the species Homarus gammarus it reaches it when it is about 80 - 85 c in length. When they mate, it is the female that carries the eggs under her abdomen for a year, before being released as larvae into the water.

The larvae are tiny and will go through several stages before becoming an adult, as they must shed their exoskeleton several times to grow. In the last stage they will achieve the appearance of an adult and begin their benthic life. Only a small number will ever fully grow.

State of conservation

The number of common lobsters has been greatly reduced due to overfishing; they are fished commercially using baited 'lobster pots'. As the life cycle is not fully known, it is extremely difficult to sustainably manage the fishery for this species.

Even with all that, it is listed as Least Concern (LC).

Relationship with humans

For centuries, the human being has perfected the breeding, fishing and the way of cooking lobster, it is a delicious and elegant dish.

Lobster has become a dish with unbeatable characteristics.
Lobster has become a dish with unbeatable characteristics.

History. How did you go from being poor food to fancy food?

Lobsters were so abundant in the old days that people considered them garbage. It was suitable only for the poor and served servants or prisoners. In 1622, the governor of the Plymouth plantation, William Bradford, was embarrassed to admit to newly arrived settlers that the only food they 'could give their friends was a lobster ... no bread or nothing but a cup of water clean ». Later, it is rumored that some in Massachusetts rebelled and the colony was forced to sign contracts that promised that hired servants would not be fed lobster more than three times a week.

"The lobster shells around a house are seen as signs of poverty and degradation," wrote John J. Rowan in 1876. The lobster was an unknown, vaguely disgusting ocean dweller that fed on the bottom of the sea and in a way it resembled (and resembles) an insect, its distant relative. The same word comes from Old English loppe, which means spider.

People ate lobster, certainly, but not happily and not, usually, openly. During the 1940s, for example, American customers were able to buy canned lobster meat, and it was a fairly cheap can. In the 53s, when consumers could buy Boston baked beans for 11 cents a pound, canned lobster sold for just XNUMX cents a pound. People fed their cats lobster.

It is true that lobster was cooked dead then, like most meats, and not alive, as it is now, which is perhaps why it became so tasty.

But the lobsters were still plentiful, even if they were smaller. And when railroads began to spread across America, transportation managers realized an interesting thing: If no one knew what lobster is, trains could serve it to passengers as if it were a rare and exotic item, despite that it was very cheap for those who run the railroad to get it. Inside passengers were intrigued. This lobster was delicious. Passengers, unaware that lobster was considered garbage on the coast, began to love and ask for it even after leaving the train. It became a popular meal. By the 1880s chefs had discovered that lobster was much better, and looked much more appetizing, if cooked alive than if it was killed first and cooked later. Restaurants began serving lobster in the 1850s and in the 60s in the salad section, such as bread and butter pickles or cottage cheese.

And then something interesting happened. Americans had grown to like lobster, even in this cheap form of salads, so they demanded more. And the fishermen noticed that there were fewer lobsters, which drove the price up.

But the lobster did not completely lose its reputation for trash. During the Great Depression, poor Maine families would sneak out to the ocean in the dark to empty and reset their lobster traps and take home the day's loot to feed their families. It was still seen, in Maine at least, as food for the poor. It was considered embarrassing for children to have to go to school with sandwiches made from lobster meat.

During World War II, however, lobster was not rationed like other foods, so people of all classes began to eat it with enthusiasm and discover its deliciousness. By the 1950s lobster was firmly established as a delicacy; lobster was something movie stars ate when they went out to dinner. It was the kind of thing that the girls of the new rich families asked for their weddings, something the Rockefellers served at their parties.

In most restaurants now lobster is sold at "market price," as the menu says, and people eat lobster thinking that this is the way a luxury New England vacation should be conducted. And indeed it is. As Foster Wallace wrote, "Lobster is elegant, a delicacy, just a step or two from caviar."

Not everyone plays along. Brooke Burke, co-host of Dancing With the Stars, once proclaimed, “I am horrified by lobsters. And shrimp and lobsters are the cockroaches of the ocean. Orthodox Jews still don't eat it because it is supposedly unclean.

List of other interesting animals