Rings in stom­ach could be key to telling lob­sters’ ages

Cape Breton Post - - WORLD -

ORONO, Maine — Re­searchers are test­ing a tech­nique they say could de­ter­mine the age of lob­sters. Lob­sters can live to be more than 100 years old. Their ages are typ­i­cally es­ti­mated based on size, as they shed their shells and grow larger as they get older. Univer­sity of Maine re­search pro­fes­sor Rick Wahle and grad­u­ate stu­dent Carl Hunts­berger say that method of es­ti­mat­ing a lob­ster’s age is in­ex­act. That presents a prob­lem for sci­en­tists and fish­ery man­agers look­ing to mea­sure the health of the lob­ster pop­u­la­tion. Wahle and Hunts­berger are test­ing a new method based on re­search by Univer­sity of New Brunswick sci­en­tist Raouf Ki­lada. Ki­lada found tree-ring-like mi­cro­scopic bands within lob­sters’ stom­achs. Hunts­berger says pre­lim­i­nary data show the bands in­di­cate an­nual growth pat­terns.

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