Blue Lobster at the Jersey Shore and Other Cool Facts
Best you didn't know all of these things about lobsters! The NJ Sea Grant Consortium brings us the real facts.
The American lobster is an incredible crustacean. Here are some cool facts to mull over as you chow down on a steamed one with drawn butter...
-- Lobsters come in a wide range of colors including green, orange, yellow, brown, blue and red. Although rare, a blue lobster caught last year in NJ now lives at the Adventure Aquarium in Camden.
-- Not all lobsters come from Maine. Many are caught in New Jersey, in fact about $2.3 million dollars-worth last year. But Maine still leads the pack. Last year their catch was worth about $434 million!
-- Many fear that warming seas are causing lobsters to move even further north to find their optimal temperature zone, which is 54 - 64 degrees. Consider this: 50 years ago, the bulk of the east coast lobster population was located off the coast of Long Beach Island!
-- That green stuff inside your lobster is the tomalley, which is the equivalent of our liver and pancreas. It is used for digestion and the FDA does not recommend eating it because it could hold toxins.
-- Lobsters are scavengers and, when food is scarce, they will eat each other.
-- Lobsters weren't always fancy food. In colonial times, lobsters, or "sea bugs", were fed to poor people, prisoners, and servants. Or they were used as fertilizer. Indentured servants in one Massachusetts town even successfully sued their owners to feed them lobster no more than three times a week!
-- In an emergency, lobsters can self-detach a limb. It will grow back during future molts. They can also regenerate eyes and antennae.
-- So how does molting work? Lobsters have to molt, or shed, their entire shell to grow. First they shrink their body by releasing excess fluid. Next they fold themselves in half and wiggle through a slit on top of their tail. Just-molted lobsters, or 'jellies', are soft, extremely vulnerable, and stay hidden. Sometimes they'll eat their old shell to help build their new one. They also suck in lots of water to puff themselves up. By the time a lobster reached about a pound (which takes 5 - 7 years) it may have shed its shell over 25 times.
-- Lobsters cannot scream. They have no vocal chords. The sound some people swear they hear when they plunge a lobster into boiling water is actually air being released from their stomachs through their mouths. And yes, it is now illegal to boil a live lobster in Switzerland!
-- Lobsters have two stomachs, and one is in their head! The stomach in their head even has teeth to crush food. Their second stomach is right behind the first and is for digestion.
-- Lobsters pee out of their faces. Sheesh...doesn't that sounds appetizing, lol.