30+ Surprising Lobster Facts and Trivia
You might know that lobster is delicious, but how much do you really know about this creature of the sea? Lobster has made a long journey from being a "throw away" food suitable only for the poor to a delicacy enjoyed by kings. Here's some more stuff you might not know about it though.
Lobster is one of those things that you might not think about all the time, so to get you in the mood I gathered some lobster trivia and facts from around the internet to help get your mouth watering!
30+ Fun Facts and Trivia About Lobsters
Lobsters weren't always a delicacy like they are now! During colonial times, they were fed to servants, goats, and people who couldn't afford "real food".
It was the American railroad industry who popularized it as a luxury, "tricking" it's midwestern passengers who didn't know any better!
The noise you hear as you boil lobster isn't them screaming. It's steam escaping from under the shell or from their stomach but there are no vocal cords to make a scream.
Like any commercial fish, lobsters have regulated sizes. This allows small ones a chance to reproduce and large ones to pass on their genetic heritage.
Female lobsters carry the male's sperm and chooses when to fertilize her eggs.
Lobsters are not monogamous, a female lobster carries more than 8,000 eggs and they could have been fertilized by different males. Unfortunately, less than 1% of those eggs actually will become adult lobsters.
Like crabs, lobsters molt and shed their shells but these are typically not captured for food.
To begin mating, female lobsters shed their shells and send out a pheromone - while lobsters do eat each other, for this period of time, most males would rather mate than kill her.
Lobsters have a nervous system that is similar to grasshoppers and ants but are not insects though they have gotten a reputation as being "bugs of the sea". Their odd look was one reason why early American settlers didn't like to eat them.
Lobsters will cannibalize each other. Aside from keeping the fisherman or server's hand safe, this is why their claws are banded shut.
An adult lobster's "crusher claw" can exert pressure of up to 100 pounds per square inch!
Caribbean "spiny" lobsters have no claws and are sold primarily for the tail meat though Maine lobsters are mostly known for their big meaty claws.
Lobsters eat clams, snails, and crabs that lurk at the bottom of the ocean though they love to eat dead fish that lobstermen use to paid their "lobster pots".
Maine lobsters have a crusher claw and a pincer claw to assist with holding and opening their food.
The concept of a "lobster bake" hasn't changed much in hundreds or thousands of years. Native American Indian tribes would often wrap the lobster in seaweed and bake them over hot rocks.
Lobster was so plentiful back then in New England that they would even use lobsters and their shells as bait and for fertilizer.
Lobster meat is a great source of protein. It provides up to 28 grams of protein per cup though it isn't a great source of Omega-3s compared to other fish (200-500 mg per oz)
While extremely rich tasting, a 3.5 oz serving of lobster has 96 calories and only 2 grams of fat. Though, when you add butter all bets are off :)
Lobsters were once so plentiful along the New England coast that they would wash ashore in piles and they were originally gathered by hand. It wasn't until the mid 1800's when commercial trapping became popular.
As lobster began to become more popular as a food, it was initially canned like tuna is today.
To help ensure a strong population, lobstermen will often mark the tail of a female lobster if she is seen to be a good egg bearer so they will also throw her back.
Lobsters can regrow claws - a one pound lobster can regenerate a lost claw of the same size in about five years.
Live lobsters aren't red - they only turn that way after cooking. IN fact, they can be a variety of colors based on their diet. These include shells that are green, blue, yellow, or even multiple colors.
During World War II, soldiers actually ate canned lobster from their trenches in France.
While not as popularly available as regular "hard shelled" lobster, soft shelled lobster is said to have sweeter more tender meat. They are typically available from July through October.
Striped bass eat baby lobsters - but since they have no teeth, they eat the lobster whole. Gulp!
Lobsters will keep growing till they are killed or die, it isn't unusual to find lobsters of 15-20 pounds! The largest lobster on record weighed in at 44 pounds but scientists have no idea how big it can get.
As lobsters age they don't appear to lose fertility or strength but as they grow, demands for food and territory increase making them targets for other lobsters.
While there is a mystique that surrounds the noble lobsterman, many lobsters are actually farmed today.
Despite what seems like large eyes, lobsters have very poor eyesight. However, they do have great senses of smell and taste.
Lobster blood is clear and that whitish "goo" you eat is actually the blood that has been cooked.
Lobsters are salt-water animals and they will die if placed in fresh water.
There are no teeth or lips, but lobsters have "teeth" in their stomach to help process food.
After molting, lobsters are super hungry and will sometimes even eat their own recently discarded shell to replenish lost calcium and help them build a new hard shell more quickly.
Discarded lobster shells can be used to form the core of golf balls. Since this type of ball is biodegradable it is used on cruise ships and courses near oceans and lakes. Unfortunately they only travel about 70% of the distance that a top golf ball would, so it's probably not going to be something you find in use everywhere anytime soon!
Most states require a license to fish for lobster but in Hawaii you don't need one - unless you plan to sell your catch. In Maryland you can get a residential permit allowing you to operate two traps. In other states, regulations allow commercial fisherman to operate nearly 1,000 traps.
In Maine, you must start as an apprentice for two years before you can captain your own boat and the waiting list is sometimes as long as 10 years to become an apprentice lobsterman.
Lobsters taste great, but they only have a brain the size of the tip on a ball-point pen.
To help be good stewards of the ocean, many lobstermen use traps with biodegradable doors so that when lost they don't turn into a literal death trap for the captured prey.
In Massachusetts during the colonial era, a rule was passed to protect prisoners saying that they would be served lobster no more than three times per week.
- Written by James Hills
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