European Lobster – Profile | Traits | Facts | Ecology | Lifecycle

European lobster
(Last Updated On: April 26, 2021)

European lobster, the scientific name Homarus gammarus, often called the common lobster, is a species of clawed lobster from the eastern Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, and parts of the Black Sea. It is carefully associated with the American lobster, H. americanus.

European Lobster Profile

It might develop to a size of 60 cm (24 in) and a mass of 6 kilograms (13 lb) and bears a conspicuous pair of claws. In life the lobsters are blue, solely changing into “lobster red” on cooking.

Mating happens in the summertime, producing eggs that are carried by the females for as much as a year before hatching into planktonic larvae. Homarus gammarus is an extremely esteemed meal and is extensively caught utilizing lobster pots, principally across the British Isles.

European lobster

European lobster Description

A blue-coloured lobster face-on: the claws are raised and open. The inside edges of the stocky right claw are lined in rounded protrusions, whereas the left claw is barely slimmer and has sharp teeth.

On this European lobster, the right claw (on the left aspect of the picture) is the crusher and the left claw is the cutter.

Homarus gammarus is a big crustacean, with body size as much as 60 centimeters (24 in) and weighing as much as 5–6 kilograms (11–13 lb), though the lobsters caught in lobster pots are often 23–38 cm (9–15 in) long and weigh 0.7–2.2 kg (1.5–4.9 lb).

Like different crustaceans, lobsters have a tough exoskeleton which they have to shed with a view to developing, in a process referred to as ecdysis (molting).

This might happen a number of occasions a year for younger lobsters however decreases to as soon as each 1–2 years for bigger animals.

The first pair of pereiopods is armed with a big, asymmetrical pair of feet. The bigger one is the “crusher”, and has rounded nodules used for crushing prey; the opposite is the “cutter”, which has sharp interior edges and is used for holding or tearing the prey. Usually, the left claw is the crusher, and the right is the cutter.

The exoskeleton of the European lobster is mostly blue above, with spots that coalesce, and yellow beneath. The red shade related to lobsters solely seems after cooking.

This happens as a result of, in life, the red pigment astaxanthin is certain to a protein complex, however, the complex is damaged up by the warmth of cooking, releasing the red pigment.

The closest relative of European lobster is the American lobster, Homarus americanus. The two species are very comparable and will be crossed artificially, though hybrids are unlikely to happen within the wild since their ranges don’t overlap.

European lobster

The two species will be distinguished by various traits:

The rostrum of H. americanus bears one or more spines on the underside, that is missing in H. gammarus.
The spines on the claws of H. americanus are red or red-tipped, whereas these of H. gammarus are white or white-tipped.
The underside of the claw of H. americanus is orange or red, whereas that of H. gammarus is creamy white or very pale red.

European lobster Biology

Common total size: 23 to 50 cm. Occurs on the continental shelf at depths of 0 to 150 m, often no deeper than 50 m. Found on arduous substrates reminiscent of rock or arduous mud.

Nocturnal and territorial dwelling in holes or crevices. Females with eggs are often discovered all through the year. The eggs are laid around July and carried for 10 to 11 months.

Indiscriminate scavengers, omnivorous or carnivorous. Feeds totally on malacostracan crustaceans, gastropod molluscs, and polychaete annelids; however diet identified to incorporate carrion, echinoderms, lamellibranchs, and plant matter. Females with eggs are often discovered all through the year.

The eggs are laid around July and carried for 10 to 11 months. Coupling happens a couple of days after the feminine molts. Estimates primarily based on samples of >10.5 cm TL. Note that captive people spawn about 6 weeks after coupling.

European lobster

European lobster Life cycle

A gray-green translucent animal is seen from the aspect. The eye is giant and shining and is in a recess of the massive carapace and its long rostrum.

An abdomen, comparable in size to the carapace, tasks from the rear, and beneath the carapace, there’s a mass of legs, some with small claws.

Female H. gammarus attain sexual maturity once they have grown to a carapace size of 80–85 millimeters (3.1–3.3 in), whereas males mature at a barely smaller size.

Mating usually happens in summer between a lately moulted feminine, whose shell is subsequently comfortable, and a hard-shelled male.

The feminine carries the eggs for as much as a year, relying on the temperature, connected to her pleopods. Females carrying eggs are stated to be “berried” and will be discovered all through the year.

The eggs hatch at night, and the larvae swim to the water floor the place they drift with the ocean currents, preying on zooplankton. This stage includes three moults and lasts for 15–35 days.

After the third moult, the juvenile takes on a kind nearer to the adult and adopts a benthic way of life. The juveniles are hardly ever seen within the wild and are poorly identified, though they’re identified to be able to dig in-depth burrows.

It is estimated that just one larva in each 20,000 survives within the benthic section. When they attain a carapace size of 15 mm (0.59 in), the juveniles depart their burrows and start their adult lives.

European lobster

European lobster Distribution

Homarus gammarus is discovered throughout the north-eastern Atlantic Ocean from northern Norway to the Azores and Morocco, not together with the Baltic Sea.

It can also be present in many of the Mediterranean Sea, sorely lacking from the part east of Crete, and alongside solely the northwest coast of the Black Sea.

The northernmost populations are discovered within the Norwegian fjords Tysfjorden and Nordfolda, contained in the Arctic Circle.

The species will be divided into 4 genetically distinct populations, one widespread population, and three which have diverged attributable to small efficient inhabitants sizes, presumably attributable to adaptation to the native environment.

The first of those is the inhabitants of lobsters from northern Norway, which have been known as the “midnight-sun lobster”. The populations within the Mediterranean Sea are distinct from those within the Atlantic Ocean.

The final distinct inhabitants are discovered within the Netherlands: samples from the Oosterschelde have been distinct from these collected within the North Sea or the English Channel.

Attempts have been made to introduce H. gammarus to New Zealand, alongside different European species such because the edible crab, Cancer pagurus.

Between 1904 and 1914, one million lobster larvae have been launched from hatcheries in Dunedin, however, the species didn’t grow to be established there.

European lobster

European lobster Ecology

Adult H. gammarus live on the continental shelf at depths of 0–150 meters (0–492 ft), though not usually deeper than 50 m (160 ft). They desire arduous substrates, reminiscent of rocks or arduous mud, and live in holes or crevices, rising at night to feed.

The diet of H. gammarus principally consists of different benthic invertebrates. These embrace crabs, mollusks, sea urchins, starfish, and polychaete worms.

The three-clawed lobster species Homarus gammarus, H. americanus, and Nephrops norvegicus are hosts to the three identified species of the animal phylum Cycliophora; the species on H. gammarus has not been described.

Homarus gammarus is vulnerable to the illness gaffkaemia, attributable to the bacterium Aerococcus viridans. Although it’s regularly present in American lobsters, the illness has solely been seen in captive H. gammarus, the place the prior occupation of the tanks by H. americanus couldn’t be dominated out.

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