Sunday, October 2, 2011


Lobster Q&A

Source: National Marine Fisheries Services' Northeast Fisheries Science Center

How many kinds of lobsters are there in the United States?

Two kinds of lobster-like crustaceans exist in U.S. waters: the “true” or American lobster and the spiny lobster. The true lobster has claws on the first four legs, lacking in the spiny lobster; the spiny lobster has a pair of horns above the eyes, lacking in the true lobster. The item marketed as “lobster tail” usually is a spiny lobster. The spiny lobster is found in warm waters off Florida, in the West Indies, and off southern California.

How far do lobsters travel?

Inshore lobsters tend to stay in one place, seldom moving more than a mile or so, but deepwater lobsters farther out on the Continental Shelf follow a seasonal migratory pattern shoreward in summer, returning to the Shelf again in the autumn. The record travel so far is 225 miles covered by a lobster tagged off the Continental Shelf and recovered at Port Jefferson, Long Island, New York.

What color is a lobster's blood?

Colorless. When exposed to oxygen, it develops a bluish color.

What is “tomalley”?

Tomalley is the lobster's liver. It turns green when cooked and is considered a delicacy.

How does a lobster grow?

Lobsters grow by molting. This is the process in which they struggle out of their old shells while absorbing water, which expands their body size. This molting, or shell-shedding, occurs about 25 times in the first 5–7 years of life. Following this cycle, the lobster will weigh approximately one pound. It may then only molt once per year and increase about 15% in length and 40% in weight. They can grow to be 3 feet or more.

How many times must a lobster molt before it reaches market size?

Between 20 and 30 molts take place before a lobster reaches the one-pound market size.

How old is a one-pound lobster?

No one knows exactly, but aquarium studies suggest 5 to 7 years.

How many one-pound lobsters are needed for a pound of lobster meat?

Five, on the average.

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