A year in the life of a lobster: Part 2 – Lobsters in winter

What lobsters are doing in winter depends a great deal on where they are living.

The lobsters that live next door to me in the lobster pound seem to be downright inactive, but that doesn’t really mean they aren’t doing anything at all.  When I get the opportunity to look closely, I see them flick and rake; rub and scrape.

LD2-winter-lobster-tempFlicking and raking serve to monitor their surroundings.

Lobsters take a whiff to catch water-borne odors by “flicking” their short antennae up and down.  They move their walking legs through the water in a “raking” motion to sense more chemical information.

Rubbing and scraping is necessary for antifouling.ask-the-lobster-doc-Cowan

The way a lobster grooms reminds me of cats.

Lobsters scrub their antennae clean by pulling them through mouthparts.  They wipe their eyes and faces using the little pincers at the ends of their legs.  They scrape backs and sides by reaching up and over with their legs in a way that makes them look like they are doing lobster yoga.

If lobsters didn’t groom themselves regularly, they would become as fouled as the underside of a float.  Carrying around a load of mussels, barnacles, seaweed and such would be quite debilitating.

Even though it’s really cold in the pound in winter, lobsters still sense their environment and groom their body parts; they just don’t do it as fervently as in summer …


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