Lobster: what you don’t know

By John Mark Hanson, Ph.D., Marine Biologist

I recently went on a cruise in the Caribbean and was asked “What do you do for a living?”

I responded that I am a marine biologist who works with lobsters. This puzzled the questioner, who thought lobsters just sort of sat there on the bottom of the ocean and didn’t do much of anything until we caught them. The misconception seemed to be based on the idea that “we see so many lobsters in restaurants that we obviously know everything there is to know about them.” Hardly.

What don’t we know?

A female lobster’s eggs are extruded in late summer or early autumn and carried until early summer the next year.
Photo credit: DFO Gulf</p>

A female lobster’s eggs are extruded in late summer or early autumn and carried until early summer the next year.
Photo credit: DFO Gulf

Such basic information as the development and structure of male and female reproductive systems are little known, diet is poorly understood, determining a lobster’s age is just beginning to be possible, actual catches are not yet recorded, and reliable estimates of population sizes (independent from catches) do not exist.

Here are some things you may not know about lobster:

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