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Long ago, lobsters were so plentiful that Native Americans used them to fertilize their fields and to bait their hooks for fishing. In colonial times, lobsters were considered "poverty food." They were harvested from tidal pools and served to children, to prisoners, and to indentured servants, who exchanged their passage to America for seven years of service to their sponsors. In Massachusetts, some of the servants finally rebelled. They had it put into their contracts that they would not be forced to eat lobster more than three times a week.

An adult female lobster will produce approximately 10,000 eggs when she is fertile. Each egg is the size of the head of a pin. As they grow, the eggs are held under the mothers tail with a special glue-like substance. The female will carry her eggs for almost a year. Then the eggs are released as larvae. It has been estimated that less than 1% of the eggs will survive to grow into an adult.

Lobsters grow by molting, or shedding their shells. Just after they molt, they are soft and fragile until their new shell has hardened. During this time, the lobster buries itself in the mud to hide from its natural enemies. When they are young, an immature lobster will molt several times each year. It takes approximately seven years for a lobster to grow to legal harvesting size (1-1 1/4 lb.). At this age, they molt just once a year, usually during the summer months. Each molt will increase their size by 1/4 lb. on average. When lobsters get older, they will often skip years, and molt less frequently.

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Additional Photos by Tom O'Donnell (gunbud) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 5926 W: 8 N: 8034] (34066)
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