You Can Tell The Difference Between A Male And Female Lobster
How do you tell the difference between a male lobster and a female lobster? Look under its tail. Lobsters have swimmerets on the undersides of their tails that are used for swimming and during mating. Males have modified swimmerets that are slender and hard, while the female’s swimmerets are flat and feathery in appearance.
Basics Of Lobster Anatomy
To better understand the anatomy of lobsters, it is worth knowing that they are in the same group of species as things like insects, crabs, barnacles, and shrimp. Lobsters have a hard outer shell called an exoskeleton but dont have an inner skeleton or bones like a mammal. They also have blue blood due to the presence of copper in it.
Another interesting fact is that their nervous system is simpler than that of an insect. Neither insects nor lobsters have a brain. And they have around 100,000 neurons compare this to 100 billion in a human being. Neurons are the basics of the brain and nervous system and are used to do everything from responding to our environment to telling our muscles to work. The fewer the neurons, the less aware and intelligent a species is.
Do Lobsters Die Or Live Forever
It would be great if an animal could live forever. You can imagine scientists lining up to examine the creature piece by piece and trying to figure out how we can make ourselves immortal. But
Do lobsters live forever? Although there was scientific research hinting at this notion, the lobstersactually do not live forever. You see, lobsters have to molt to grow. And as they grow older, they have to expend more and more energy to do so, making them, in the end, more susceptible to death as they grow older. Eventually, the lobster will die from exhaustion during a molt.
Older lobsters are also known to give up kinda and stop molting altogether, which means that the shell will eventually become damaged, infected by bacteria, or fall apart and die.
The biggest European lobster males can live in the wild for an average of 31 years, and the females for an average of 54 years. Its not bad, but its no immortality.
Do Lobsters Mate For Life?
Contrary to popular belief, lobsters do not mate for life. They go through a complex mating ritual, and a few days before molting, the female lobster will choose a mate and remain in his shelter until the molt. After she takes off, another female can have her turn.
Can Lobsters Breathe Air?
Lobsters can actually breathe air and can survive for a long time out of water. Although they dont have lungs but gills, they can extract oxygen from both seawater and air. There is a catch, though the gills have to stay cool and moist.
Keep Them Cold Very Cold
Lobsters live and thrive in cold water. These sea creatures are poikilotherms, meaning they cannot regulate their body temperatures. So in the winter months, they migrate to warmer, deeper offshore waters. In the summer months, when lobsters are most active, they migrate inshore and get stuck in traps searching for food. This why summertime is often considered peak lobster season.
To quiet the cantankerous crustaceans, keep them very cold, either on ice or in the fridge. A lobster held at 48° F, for example, is fairly active. Yet at 40° F its metabolism slows down and becomes considerably less active. Sluggish,inactive lobsters are easier and safer to handle.
Death may ensue when a lobster is exposed to a rapid rise in temperature, while stress is reduced to decreases in temperature. Therefore before cooking, keep lobsters in the coldest part of your refrigerator. And to sedate or even dispatch a lobster, chill it in the freezer for 10-15 minutes.
Why Do We Boil Lobsters Alive
There are a couple of reasons why lobsters are recommended to be boiled alive. Chefs discovered back in the 19th century that lobsters look and taste better when cooked alive. The other reason is the dangerous bacteria that finds a home in the dead lobsters body.
The bacteria can cause nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, and sometimes even death, and it starts appearing after only a few hours from when the lobster died.
Even cooking the lobster meat wont kill all of the bacteria. So the recommendation is just to keep the animal alive right up until youre going to prepare it.
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Study Finds It Unlikely Lobsters Feel Pain
A new study out of Norway concludes its unlikely lobsters feel pain, stirring up a long-simmering debate over whether Maines most valuable seafood suffers when its being cooked.
Animal activists for years have claimed that lobsters are in agony when being cooked, and that dropping one in a pot of boiling water is tantamount to torture.
The study, funded by the Norwegian government and written by a scientist at the University of Oslo, suggests lobsters and other invertebrates such as crabs, snails and worms probably dont suffer even if lobsters do tend to thrash in boiling water.
Lobsters and crabs have some capacity of learning, but it is unlikely that they can feel pain, concluded the 39-page report, aimed at determining if creatures without backbones should be subject to animal welfare legislation as Norway revises its animal welfare law.
‘No brain, no pain’Lobster biologists in Maine have maintained for years that the lobsters primitive nervous system and underdeveloped brain are similar to that of an insect. While lobsters react to different stimuli, such as boiling water, the reactions are escape mechanisms, not a conscious response or an indication of pain, they say.
Its a semantic thing: No brain, no pain, said Mike Loughlin, who studied the matter when he was a University of Maine graduate student and is now a biologist at the Maine Atlantic Salmon Commission.
This is exactly like the tobacco industry claiming that smoking doesnt cause cancer, she said.
Lobsters Cant Go Into Shock
When other animals, including humans, experience extreme pain, their nervous system may shut down as a coping mechanism. Zoologists have found that lobsters and other crustaceans dont have this ability to go into shock so when they are exposed to cruel procedures their suffering is prolonged.
The lobster does not have an autonomic nervous system that puts it into a state of shock when it is harmed. It probably feels itself being cut. … I think the lobster is in a great deal of pain from being cut open … feels all the pain until its nervous system is destroyed.
Scientists have found that it can take lobsters between 35 45 seconds to die when plunged into a pot of boiling water and if they are dismembered their nervous system can still function for up to an hour.
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Do Lobsters Feel Pain Heres What Science Has To Say
Switzerland is the latest country to ban the boiling of live lobsters for cooking. As a result, cooks and chefs in the country are now obliged to stun the animal before placing them in boiling water.
Now the question that most people are probably asking is whether or not lobsters can actually feel pain the same way humans and other animals do. Here’s what scientists have to say about it.
Lobsters Are Sensitive Creatures
Despite their knight-like appearance, lobsters are actually sensitive and delicate animals. Although they cant see or hear very well they do have an exquisite sense of touch, thanks to hundreds of thousands of tiny hairs that stick out from gaps in their shells. Lobsters are also sensitive to changes in temperature detecting temperature shifts as small as one degree which is partly why they migrate up to 160 kilometres every year to find the perfect breeding ground for their fragile young. This certainly puts death in a scalding pot into perspective.
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Do Boiling Lobsters Feel Pain
May 11, 2005 — Drop a lobster in boiling water and the lobster will thrash around wildly. Pierce an earthworm with a fishhook and the worm will twist and writhe in excruciating pain.
Or will it? Do these animals really feel pain? Or are their movements just muscles automatically contracting due to an outside stimulus?
“You’re dealing with the fundamentals of pain and what pain is,” said Tony Yaksh, professor of anesthesiology at the University of California at San Diego. “It’s complicated — how do you define pain?”
What is Pain — And Who Feels It?
A recent scientific report from Norway has added fuel to this long-simmering debate. The study, funded by the Norwegian government, finds that animals like lobsters have nervous systems that are too simple to process what we call “pain.”
According to Yaksh, primitive animals like lobsters have the ability to perceive and respond to a “noxious stimulus,” that is, any agent that can cause physical harm like tissue damage.
“When you deal with a non-verbal animal, and when you see a lobster in boiling water, you know that’s a noxious stimulus,” said Yaksh.
But scientists like Yaksh stop short of calling what the lobster feels “pain” — or pain as humans know it. The difference, Yaksh explained, is in our feelings. “There’s a strong emotional component to what we call pain,” he said.
Working on a Chain Ganglia
When stimulated, these chain ganglia cause muscles to contract. “It’s a very quick neuron response,” Stevens said.
Blade Right Between The Eyes
The other common way to kill a live lobster is with a very sharp knife. This method instantly kills the creature with one swift cut before cooking. As mentioned above, a stay in the freezer will put the lobster in a dormant state, making it easier and safer to handle.
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The Muscular System And The Lobster’s Tail
The muscular system of the lobster brings about movements and constitutes the motor component of all behavior. It is also the culinary part of the lobster – – particularly as the muscle, or meat, is relatively fat-free. However, it is important for another reason and that is that the lobster, over its lifespan of 50+ years, shows few conventional signs of aging or of muscular disease. They have two basic muscle fiber types which are grouped in bundles: fast and slow and the muscles are composed of single-type bundles or mixed bundles. In clawed lobsters, the muscles of the prominent claws change from mixed bundles to primarily slow bundles in the crusher claw and fast bundles in the cutter or seizer claw. Neuron specialized for muscle penetrate into the muscles and are either excitatory or inhibitory . This entire neuro-musculatory system undergoes remodeling over the entire lifespan of the lobster and particularly at periods of growth, where the animal sheds its old shell and puts on a new, larger shell.
Lobsters Seek Out Safe Spaces When Stressed
Every year, millions of lobsters meet their fate in a cooking pot. Its enough to make any lobster anxious and yes, new research has revealed crustaceans may experience anxiety considered a complex emotion in much the same way humans do. And they react to it just like many of us, too by seeking out a safe space! French researchers have even discovered that stressed crayfish react positively when dosed with anti-depressant drugs the very same ones used to treat anxiety in humans.
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Why Are Lobsters Cooked Alive And Do They Feel Pain
Asked by: Martin Egan, Ireland
Lobsters and other shellfish have harmful bacteria naturally present in their flesh. Once the lobster is dead, these bacteria can rapidly multiply and release toxins that may not be destroyed by cooking. You therefore minimise the chance of food poisoning by cooking the lobster alive.
That’s great for us but what about the lobster? It has been argued that lobsters do not possess a true brain and so can’t feel pain. It is fair to say that they are not self-aware in the same way that we are, but they do react to tissue damage both physically and hormonally, so they are obviously capable of detecting pain on some level. In fact, the hormone that they release into the bloodstream, cortisol, is the same one that humans produce when hurt. But the most visible sign of distress is the twitching tail, which evolved as an escape reflex.
Researchers at the University of Maine found that putting the lobster on ice for 15 minutes before dropping it into boiling water produced the shortest tail-twitching interval . Contrary to the popular urban myth though, placing the lobster in cold water that is then slowly brought to the boil does not anaesthetise the animal and appears to extend its suffering.
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Lobsters Facts And Statistics
- Pain typically leads to stress. When decapods undergo stressor a taxing demand, they release crustacean hyperglycemic hormone , epinephrine, and serotonin. CHH is similar to the hormones that humans release in a fight-or-flight response, cortisol and corticosterone.
- Decapod crustaceans such as lobsters are aware of their choices and can make difficult decisions. In scientific experiments where they were given the option to do so, decapods have voted against electric shock, the presence of predators, and bright environments.
- Canada and the United States produced 62 percent of lobsters globally in 2013, at 145,221 tons. That number was 86,000 in 2007.
Lobsters In Popular Culture
In addition to being popular food, lobsters have a long tradition in popular culture. Here are a few of their most notable appearances:
Big Lobster Sculptures: There are several impressive sculptures crafted in the likeness of oversized crustaceans. Despite its billing, at 35 feet, the “World’s Largest Lobster” in Shediac, New Brunswick, a concrete-and-reinforced-steel structure created by Canadian artist Winston Bronnum is not the largest lobster. That honor goes to a sculpture measuring approximately 62′ x 42′ x 51′ erected in Qianjiang, Hubei, China in 2015 second place goes to “Larry the Lobster” in Kingston, SE, South Australia, who measures in at 59′ x 45′ x 50′.
Lobsters in Literature: Lobsters make an appearance in Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” in a scene that involves Alice, the Mock Turtle, the Gryphon, and a dance called “The Lobster Quadrille” in which dancers are partnered with lobsters. “You may not have lived much under the sea,” the Mock Turtle said. “and perhaps you were never even introduced to a lobster” “so you can have no idea what a delightful thing a Lobster Quadrille is!”
Lobsters in Music: Released in April 1978, the B-52’s had a hit with a song called “Rock Lobster.” It was the B-52’s first single to make the Billboard Hot 100, where it reached a respectable number 56, and eventually went on to reach number 147 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
The Brains Of Shrimps And Insects Are More Alike Than We Thought
- University of Arizona
- Crustaceans share a brain structure known to be crucial for learning and memory in insects, researchers have discovered.
New research shows that crustaceans such as shrimps, lobsters and crabs have more in common with their insect relatives than previously thought — when it comes to the structure of their brains.
Both insects and crustaceans possess mushroom-shaped brain structures known in insects to be required for learning, memory and possibly negotiating complex, three-dimensional environments, according to the study, led by University of Arizona neuroscientist Nicholas Strausfeld.
The research, published in the open-access journal eLife, challenges a widely held belief in the scientific community that these brain structures — called “mushroom bodies” — are conspicuously absent from crustacean brains.
In 2017, Strausfeld’s team reported a detailed analysis of mushroom bodies discovered in the brain of the mantis shrimp, Squilla mantis. In the current paper, the group provides evidence that neuro-anatomical features that define mushroom bodies — at one time thought to be an evolutionary feature proprietary to insects — are present across crustaceans, a group that includes more than 50,000 species.
Crustaceans and insects are known to descend from a common ancestor that lived about a half billion years ago and has long been extinct.
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Is It Wrong To Boil Lobsters Alive
It would be unthinkable to buy a chicken or lamb to kill at home but you can have living crustaceans delivered to your door via Amazon. Has society gone to pot over shellfish?
Robert Elwood once boiled a lobster alive lobsters being one of the few creatures we eat that we are allowed to slaughter at home. It is the usual way to kill, and cook, them. Would I boil a lobster now? asks Elwood, emeritus professor at the school of biological sciences at Queens University Belfast, referring to the work he has done for more than a decade on crustaceans and pain. I wouldnt. I would kill it before boiling.
The question of whether lobsters feel pain and the way people should treat them has been raised again recently. Last week, a London-based company had to , which are confined in packaging and posted to consumers. Other fishmongers in the UK, not on Amazon, also courier live lobsters to people at home. Last month, Switzerland banned the practice of boiling lobsters alive, which is already illegal in New Zealand. From 1 March, as part of an overhaul of animal protection legislation, the animals must be stunned electrically before cooking.
There is as much evidence for pain in crustaceans as there is in many vertebrates
This article was amended on 13 February 2018. An earlier version referred to the UK in a mention of the Jersey Normandy fishery the crown dependency of Jersey is not part of the UK but is in the British Isles.