The lob­ster myth

You might think lob­sters mate for life, but they are far from ro­man­tic. We take a look at their strangest fea­tures and the love story myth

World of Animals - - What’s Inside... - Words Sarah Grif­fiths

are lob­sters re­ally ro­man­tic?

There are more than 70 species of lob­ster, and while the Euro­pean lob­ster (Ho­marus gam­marus) and Amer­i­can lob­ster (Ho­marus amer­i­canus) are well known, not least on restau­rant menus, oth­ers, such as the mar­bled mit­ten lob­ster, are much rarer.

All lob­sters share the fan­tas­ti­cally strange at­tribute of be­ing bi­lat­er­ally sym­met­ri­cal, mean­ing their or­gans are ar­ranged in pairs so they are iden­ti­cal on each side of their body. Euro­pean lob­sters are usu­ally blue on top and yel­low un­der­neath and only red af­ter cook­ing. They live in holes or crevices on the con­ti­nen­tal shelf at depths of up to 150 me­tres (492 feet) and emerge at night to hunt. Nat­u­rally ag­gres­sive and cov­ered in ar­mour, com­mon lob­sters are armed with a large asym­met­ri­cal pair of claws, one of which is used for crush­ing and the other for cut­ting. As well as their in­trigu­ing phys­i­cal fea­tures, the lob­ster’s be­hav­iour is equally fas­ci­nat­ing and its love life rather colour­ful.

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