It's a Lobster's Life
Published: Feb 13, 2020Find out more about our bright blue resident
Beneath the surface of Living Coasts, lives an arthropod with two rather large claws and a bit of an attitude.
Keeper and Aquarist Sam tells us more about our bright blue resident.
Homer by name…
Homer is a European common lobster (Homarus gammarus) and was named after his Latin species name. He is exceptionally blue, which is one of the reasons our aquarists are so fond of him.
His species can be found in our local waters and all around the British Isles throughout the North-eastern Atlantic Ocean and most of the Mediterranean Sea.
He knows what he wants
Sam: “Homer can be very territorial and will destroy anything he doesn’t welcome in his domain. When we clean his tank, he will try to catch the syphon or the de-algae brush and crush them”.
Homer likes to rearrange his tank and will move the sand, plants and rocks around. He will flip his cave upside down and has been known to use his claws like a bulldozer to push the sand around too!
On the menu
Lobsters are widely caught for food around the world and Homer’s species is no exception.
Here at Living Coasts, Homer has a varied diet of herring, mackerel, sprats, sand eel, squid and mussels. While they are often considered scavengers in the wild, lobsters enjoy live food too and will eat crabs, sea snails as well as small fish.
Age is just a number
Sam “We don’t know exactly how old Homer is as he came to use from another collection in 2016, but we believe he is between 10-15 years old due to his size”.
Lobsters are estimated to live for over 100 years and will often die from disease or parasites rather than old age.
It’s a hard life, most of the time…
Like most crustaceans, Homer has a hard exoskeleton called a husk. To allow them more space to grow, they periodically moult their husks. The moulting leaves their body soft and vulnerable to predators without a hard exoskeleton to protect them. It can take a couple of weeks for it to harden again so they will often hide during this period.
A lobster will often eat its old husk as it is rich in calcium and helps the new husk to develop. They will moult multiple times a year when young but this becomes less frequent as the age and growth slows down.
Did you know?
- Not all lobsters are blue, some are brown, navy, and reddish orange but Homer is especially blue
- A lobster only turns red when it is boiled because of a change to the proteins in its shell reacting to the temperature
- A European common lobster has one larger claw for crushing, while the smaller claw has sharp inner edges and is used for cutting and tearing
- A female lobster will carry fertile eggs for up to 12 months before they hatch
- Lobsters don’t have teeth in their mouths, they are in their stomachs and food is chewed and digested here