keithjennison May 24, 2009

The lobster is a crustacean related to the crayfish, the crab and the shrimp, and all live in salt water oceans. Their meat is available and marketed either canned, frozen or more popularly, as lobster dinner purchases. As with most lobsters crabs products, the more commercially important live Maine lobsters are, the higher the price for them will go.

The most popular species with consumers is the American lobster and several types of spiny lobsters, also called the rock lobster or marine crayfish.

the lobsters
As with a suit of armor, a lobster’s exoskeleton is made of many solid pieces. Some of those pieces are permanently attached to one another and are immovable, while others are connected by a flexible “skin” that lets a lobster move freely. The American lobster exoskeleton is made of 21 different pieces.

Breaking down how each piece fits, consider that the head has 6 pieces, the middle section, also known as the thorax has 8 pieces, and the tail has 7 pieces. The carapace is the thickest part of a lobster’s shell and is located on its back. It acts as a natural protective shield.

The lobsters’ abdomen is covered by six overlapping shell rings that are joined together. Their shell is the only structural support a lobster has. Unlike humans, whose muscles are attached to our internal skeleton, a lobsters muscles are attached to its outer shell.

rock lobster
Their abdomens are covered with six shell rings that are joined together, yet overlap.

Their abdomen is commonly called a lobster tail. With a spiny lobster, this is usually the only part that is eaten. That is not the case with American lobsters. There is a large amount of meat in the lobster claw as well as in the tail of American lobsters, which is considered a delicacy.

A good way to identify a lobster is by the number of its legs, as they have five pairs. The American lobster has front legs that end in large claws, while the next two sets of legs have smaller pincers on their tips. Both clawed lobsters and those without claws have delicate, leg-like limbs called “swimmerettes” under their abdomen, which they use for swimming and navigation.

crabs lobsters
American lobsters, such as Maine lobsters, live in the cool waters of the North Atlantic Ocean. They inhabit sandy, muddy and rocky areas of the ocean bottom from Virginia in the United States to Newfoundland in Canada.

Spiny lobsters are found in warmer waters throughout the world and live in coral reefs, on rock ledges and in crevices. The lobsters choose to live in areas that give them the most protection from enemies.