Lobsters are pretty strange animals. But just how strange, exactly?
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Lobsters are weird. Here’s why.
Lobsters Weren’t Always a Delicacy: Though these crustaceans were prized cuisine during the Middle Ages in Europe, they were so abundant in 18th and early-19th century New England that their meat was fed to pigs and their shells used as fertilizer. Indentured servants in Massachusetts were so sick of eating it that they won a court case to keep their masters from feeding them lobster more than three times a week.
Lobsters Pee Out of Their Faces. For Emotional Purposes: A lobster excretes waste from a few spots on its body, but it urinates out of openings on its face called nephrophores. (I feel less wasteful about leaving that part on my plate now.) And it’s not just about getting rid of toxins! Lobsters urinate in each others' faces during fights to express themselves, and lady lobsters’ urine contains pheromones that get dude lobsters in the mood for lobster love.
Lobsters Have Two Stomachs. And Are Cannibals: The first stomach is located in what we'd consider the lobster's head -- right behind its eyes – and contains teeth-like things called a gastric mill that crush the lobster’s prey. Once the food is ground fine, it passes through to the second stomach – a large digestive gland that filters nutrients from waste, sort of like your liver. Oh, and that prey? Is not-infrequently other lobsters, especially when they’re in close quarters.
Lobsters Can Regenerate Limbs: Lobsters aren’t all that attached to their limbs – literally! They can detach a leg, claw, or antenna in an emergency – this is reflex amputation, or autotomy. And they can grow it back during their molting cycle! Lobsters molt in order to grow, splitting and shedding each hard piece of their carapace. If they’ve lost a limb since their last molt, they’ll grow it back as they grow back their shell. No big.
Female Lobsters Practice Reproductive Planning: The female of the lobster species chooses her mate, makes the first moves, and can carry the male’s live sperm around with her for up to two years before using it to fertilize her eggs. The thing is, she’s got some tens of thousands of eggs, so she may collect sperm from multiple males before going ahead with fertilization. The thing is, just 2 of every 50,000 eggs she lays will live long enough to become an adult lobster of catchable size. Their survival depends on the environment she chooses for them, so it’s good that she's picky!
That’s all the lobster stuff we have time for now, but you can learn lots more at HowStuffWorks.com. Like why they turn red when you cook them, whether they’re really immortal, and how long their relationships last. And hey, if you liked this video, let us know in the comments and subscribe so you won’t miss the next one.
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