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Common Name: American Lobster

Scientific Name: Homarus americanus


Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Arthropoda

Class: Malacostraca

Order: Decapoda

Family: Nephropidae

Genus: Homarus

Species: H. americanus


Homarus americanus is the scientific name for American lobster. The American lobster is a marine animal so it lives in salt water. Lobsters range in size from 2-12 inches and weigh from 1-10 lbs. The color of a lobster is a greenish black with an orange underbelly. People might tell you that they are red. Well, they are when it is cooked but underwater they aren’t red. If it has a mutation you will find the lobster blue. Blue lobsters are VERY rare. Since they live in salt water, there is usually a rocky bottom where holes in between rocks are. They live on the bottom so when they see their predators they can hide in between the rocks.


The lobster’s parts to an American lobster are somewhat simple. They are characterized by their hard shells and jointed body. That is why they are decapods. They are identified by the following: 10 legs, large claws, and characteristic tail. Not all lobsters have claws though, more than half don’t. But the American lobster does. But, all lobsters have ten legs and a similar body structure within the cephalothorax and abdomen. The eyes of an American lobster are set on moveable stalks which allow a bigger range of vision. However, the eyes become less functional and less useful when their environment gets brighter. So, the adaptation of the American lobster is they live on the bottom where it is dark so it has a wide range of vision and it’s clearer. But, they still have poor vision and because they do, they rely on their other four senses. The American lobster lives in cold shallow waters. They live by the Atlantic coast of North America. So in the US, they might be known as the northern lobster, the Atlantic lobster, or the Maine lobster. They live there because there are many rocks and other places to hide from their predators.


They are nocturnal and solitary. The population of the lobster is 42,445. They have grown in the past, the 20th century, and might still be growing. Their main predator is the codfish. But in the 20th century, there was an overfishing of codfish leaving the lobsters a bigger number. The American lobsters eat snails, mussels, worms, sea urchin and clams. Their keen sense of smell and their hearing helps them make a competition. Also, they are fast and if they see their predators they can hide fast too. Others of the same kind make it compete for food because they will not eat each other unless they are desperate. Codfish, humans, eels, and seals are the biggest threats to American lobsters, or any lobster. To avoid getting eaten they go in between rocks to hide by using their fast flips. Some humans, if they were scuba diving, will grab in the holes, but sometimes there are sea urchins in there with the lobster so the human hand will get pricked. What stood out about the American lobster is that they shed 2-3 times in their life (unless they get caught, of course). I learned that a lobster’s brain is the size of a grasshopper’s brain! They don’t think much either. It’s amazing of what a lobster can do.


Author: Lauren T.

Published: 02/2008


Sources: "American Lobster." Wikipedia.Org. 28 Jan.-Feb. 2008. 30 Jan. 2008 . Farnand, Keith. "A Natural History of Lobsters with Reference to the American Lobster." 2 Feb. 2008 “The American Lobster." The World Book. 12 vols. Chicago: World Book Inc."


Photo Credit: Taken at the New England Aquarium (Boston, MA, December 2006. Copyright © 2006 Steven G. Johnson

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