Maine is the lobster capital of the world! (Well, Mainers believe that anyway.) But the recession has hit the market hard … very hard. So my thirteen this week is about the spiny creature of the sea–the lobster. I’m not sure if it will encourage you to have lobster at your family get-together, but at the very least, I hope it will give you food for thought. hee hee
1. Lobsters are part of the order of Crustaceans, which means, like insects, they have their skeleton on the outside.
2. Lobsters are generally a dark green to black color and turn red only after cooking. But sometimes nature “burps” out color variations.
3. Lobsters have no taste buds. They walk on their food using the little hairs on their legs to decide whether they should eat it.
4. It is estimated that the October lobster catch earned Maine fishermen less than $20 million, down more than 67 percent from a high of more than $60 million in October 2005. (So come to the Maine lobster festival and eat more lobster!)
5. It is possible to sex a lobster. Turn it over and looking at the first set of swimming appendages on the underside. Soft feather ones indicate a female. Hard appendages indicate a male. (Yeeeeeah … so not going there.)
6. Lobsters molt – That is in order for them to grow, their shells must crack along their back (carapace) and between the tail and the carapace and they must pull their bodies out. The new shell hardens enough to function within a few days, but takes a full 6-8 weeks to be true protection (hence the term “soft-shelled” lobster). Lobsters do this approximately once a year.
7. Lobsters have two different claws … the crusher claw used to break the shells of other crustaceans such as crabs (yes, they’re also cannibals) and a ripper claw used for pulling out the meat. Rubber bands on lobsters in market are meant to keep them from eating each other, not necessarily to protect your fingers.
8. Female lobsters lay thousands of eggs which attach to her swimmerettes. (It’s against the law to harvest a “berried” female and the lobsterman must put a v-notch in her tail to indicate a reproducing female.) Even after the eggs hatch she won’t lose the egg casings until her next molt.
9. Lobster blood is a clear fluid. When the animal is boiled, the blood turns to an opaque whitish gel. It has no discernible flavor and is perfectly safe to eat.
10. Lobsters have a very weak heart which pumps blood up to the back and gravity feeds it back down. Because of this, if you put a lobster on it’s rostrom (nose) the blood flows to its brain and it falls asleep.
11. When lobsters need to get away from danger they flip their tales which propels them very quickly backwards. (Which means they can grow to a very large size.)
12. Lobsters have the ability to regenerate body parts such as antennae, legs and claws, though it won’t be replaced until the next molt.
13. Enjoying a lobster feed on the beach with some steamed clams and some corn-on-the-cob is truly the Maine way … and having these guys there with you is the Nina way! 😉