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Aquatic Cuisine: What Do Lobsters Eat Before We Eat Them?

Aquatic Cuisine: What Do Lobsters Eat Before We Eat Them?

Think of a steamed lobster with seared mushrooms in front of you, with the tasty combination of thyme and butter. Lobster toast on your other side and Maine Lobster Roll a few inches away from the knife and fork that you are holding. Just the thought of these things makes me hungry. One can never deny the tasty goodness of these aquatic animals.

But, have you ever wondered what these scrumptious creatures eat?



How Does a Lobster Look Like?

Before discussing the main objective of this article, we would first like to further elaborate a lobster. Now, these sea creatures are, as taxonomists would classify, are crustaceans, and they fall under the family Nephropidae. This means that these aquatic animals don’t have backbone or spine in their bodies, what they only have is their exoskeleton, or their outer shell, which gives them the structural support they need to wander, thrive and survive in the ocean.

So if you’re ever wondering, ‘oh like crabs and shrimps?’, you are absolutely right. The only difference is that lobsters, compared to other crustaceans, have longer bodies that could span from 25-50 cm and muscular segments, and that they have five pairs of legs and an enormous first pair, compared to the other four.

As you can also observe, lobsters do have antennae which serve as sensors that help them amplify all the movements around them. You see, as a typical crustacean, they have to molt, or shed their exoskeleton to grow, and I have pointed out the presence of these antennae because they would need that to protect themselves from their predators in the oceans. Therefore, if you have already enjoyed a big lobster on your plate, you have got to thank those antennae which seemed useless when taking a bite of it.

It is also important to note that lobsters’ colors are originally blue. They have the protein crustacyanin which suppresses the astaxanthin that is present in their shells. However, when cooked, this crustacyanin are broken down, and since nothing inhibits astaxanthin, its orange pigment becomes more evident in their shells.

Is it True that Lobsters’ Blood is Blue?

Although it might sound weird, lobsters’ blood is really blue. Interestingly, they share these characteristics with other species from arthropods and mollusks ( like snails and tarantulas, which obviously are not as delicious as lobsters) because they, too contain hemocyanin in their blood. To put it in a simpler sense, they have Copper in their blood, and when this undergoes oxygenation, this causes their blood to have a blue color.

Where Do Lobsters Live?

You can find lobsters in all oceans. As long as there is water, sand, mud, and food, they will thrive. They usually stay under burrows or rocks on the floor of the ocean.

What Do Lobsters Eat?

Before I explain to you the diet of a lobster, allow me to reiterate the environment where it lives. These crustaceans live in the bottom part of the ocean, and with this knowledge, plus the fact that they have hard shells which hinder them from swimming in the vast ocean to hunt for food, they usually eat what’s immediately available to them.

Hence, lobsters are omnivores. They eat both meat and plants that are close to where they live. Some good examples of their diet in their natural habitat includes crabs, fish, mussels, sea urchins, worms and some plant life. Lobsters can even eat another lobster in the absence of any source of food. However, lobster skin that is found inside the stomach of a lobster does not necessarily mean that they have resorted to cannibalism because they also often eat the skin that they shed.

How Do Lobsters Get Their Food

Form follow function, as the rule of anatomy states, so we can instantly conclude that their enormous claws are the ones that help them look and gather their food.

Lobsters have three claws that are bigger than the rest of its legs, and the first in line are the biggest of them all. The first claw, or the crusher claw, aids the lobster to grab and crush their prey. The so-called large ‘teeth’ could instantly crumble a carapace or another bone of their target. The second and the third claw, on the other hand, has smaller teeth that allow them to shear and tear the flesh of their meal. They also use this claw when they prey on minute creatures in the ocean which are fast swimmers; the size of these claws enables them to grab their target as quickly as possible.

How Do Lobsters Digest Their Food?

Have you ever seen a lobster with teeth? I suppose none of us have because another interesting fact to know about lobsters is that they do not have teeth. So how will they eat then? How do they masticate their food? Well, that is not a problem to them, because their teeth are located inside their stomachs.

The anatomy of a typical lobster includes the head, thorax, and the abdomen. Now, these three are closer to one another, so their stomach is not that far from their mouth. Therefore, when they ingest their food, it goes straight to their stomach where it is further broken down. This is called the Gastric Mill. Interestingly, their stomach has three grinding molar-like surfaces, so their stomach technically chew their food for them.

How Do Lobsters Taste Their Food?

Lobsters have no tongue nor taste buds, unlike mammals, but they do have unique legs. These legs enable them to taste their food, with the presence of chemosensory leg and feet hairs that are present in their body.

Lobsters as Food

Historically speaking, lobster is the go-to food for prisoners back in the colonial era. This is because lobsters back then were cheap and plentiful. In the contrary, people of today consider lobsters as one of the most amazing fine dining dishes in the world.

With the information that was supplied by this article, by now I am pretty sure that you too are amazed by these wondrous marine animals. These facts prove that lobsters are far more interesting than being present in our dining table.

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