This species has a broad, geographic range across the Eastern Atlantic Ocean. They are found within the continental shelf to depths of 150m, though is more commonly found at depths above 50m. It is typically found on rocky substrates, but may also burrow into cohesive mud or form depressions in sand. This species uses rocky reefs for shelter, especially during moulting.
Here at Living Coasts our lobster, Homer, is fed dead fish and squid, usually only a few times a week.
Feed on crabs, sea snails, mussels, worms, starfish and scavenge on carcasses.
The long antennae are used for probing the near surroundings. The most important sense is smell (olfaction) and the shorter, double-set of hairy antennae are the lobster’s ‘nose’. Also the fan of short hair on the tail and walking legs are finely tuned smell and taste receptors.
Lobsters are solitary creatures. They hide away in cracks, crevices and dens during the day, and feed and are active at night. Lobsters are protected by a tough outer shell called the exoskeleton. As they grow the shell becomes too small, so the lobster will moult and grow a new, larger exoskeleton. They will eat their old exoskeleton to absorb the calcium from it.
Mating usually occurs in the Summer; producing eggs (up to 100,000) which are carried by the females for up to a year before hatching into planktonic larvae.
Mating generally happens when the female has just moulted and her shell is soft, making it easier for the male to deposit his sperm.
The greatest threat is the commercial scale exploitation of this species as a human food source. This species is harvested throughout its range, but the main fisheries occur around the United Kingdom, Ireland, France and the Channel Islands.
Despite commercial exploitation of this species for food, the global annual catch of this species has shown a steady increase over the last 30 years.
A number of countries have imposed national minimum legal size limits, closed fishing seasons, and have prohibited the collecting of berried (egg bearing) females. In an effort to protect lobster spawning potential in some areas, berried females caught may be V-notched on the tail before being returned to the sea. Under local by-laws or voluntary bans, such lobsters may not be landed until the V-notch has grown out.
- Latin Name: Homarus gammarus
- Order: Decapoda
- Family: Nephropidae
- Conservation Status: Least Concern
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