When you ask the average person to name their favorite type of animal, they seldom say “large marine crustaceans.” This is unfortunate, though, because lobsters are awesome and they aren’t getting the proper love and respect they deserve. Surely there are people out there other than Colin Farrell who can identify with the amazing lives of lobsters.
There is a multimillion dollar industry centered around the harvesting of these bottom-dwellers, but most people couldn't name any facts about lobsters other than they’re delicious. That’s a shame, because awesome lobsters are so much more than an expensive entree. They can live for decades, grow to incredible sizes, and may even offer solutions for dealing with environmental pollution. Before you write them off as creepy creatures of the sea, consider there may be some things you never knew about lobsters that could completely change your perspective.
Lobsters are probably most famous for being a really expensive delicacy, but that was not always the case. Lobsters were once so abundant in North America the Native Americans would use them as fertilizer, bait, and a good source of protein. They showed the settlers how to cook lobster, a process that included wrapping them in seaweed and steaming them over a fire, which would eventually evolve into the famous New England clambake.
In the early days of colonization, there were so many lobsters they became the staple food of servants, prisoners, and slaves. People were being fed so much lobster they revolted. Laws were passed limiting the amount of lobster that could be fed to prisoners, and many workers demanded in their contracts they were to only be fed lobster three times a week.
Females are known to squirt males with pungent urine in an effort to begin the courtship process. Dr. Ellen Prager, a marine biologist and professor, described the practice to NPR. "She shoots when she comes up to a den that might have a male in it. She actually seduces him with her pee and instead of clobbering her over the head with his claw, he says, 'Come in, come in' and gets all touchy-feely.”
It’s not all about romance though. Lobster urine contains a lot of information, and spraying pee in someone's face is apparently a valid form of communication for them. Males have been known to pee in each other faces to display aggression and dominance over rivals.
Lobsters are simple minded creatures, and that's not a diss. Their brains are extremely primitive, closely resembling those of insects. Their "brains" are really just a cluster of nerves that regulate their entire existence. The collection of ganglia (nerve endings) that make up the brain is about the same size as a grasshopper brain. This lack of sophistication has led many to believe that lobsters actually can’t feel pain, although this claim has been disputed in the past.
Lobsters have a lot of limbs. Between the claws, legs, antennae, and swimmerets, it’s a wonder they can keep track of them all. Amazingly, the American lobster has two sets of legs that have the unique ability of being able to “taste” for their food. The tasting legs are set just behind the claws and are full of receptors designed to help the lobster locate food in the area. The legs are just a few of the sensory tools that lobsters use to detect prey, the others being their antennae, eyes, and mouths.