Lobsters belong to the family Nephropidae with a long body and a muscular tail. Lobsters are mostly marine, benthic and nocturnal creatures. They eat fish, mollusks, seaweed and also scavenge on dead animals. But, do lobsters die of old age? Read below to find out!
1. How Long do Lobsters Live?
Do lobsters die of old age? Before answering this, let’s look at how long they live. Homarus Americanus, the American lobster can live up to 100 years, which is five times as long as the Caribbean lobster, which can not live longer than 20 years. Lobsters have a special ability that complements the myth of immortality as they live a very long time because they can grow rather than age. American lobsters prefer to live in cold Atlantic waters off the northeast coast, to slow down their metabolism, allowing them to age slowly and live longer. They can even escape predators and diseases easily. Lobsters in warmer waters, such as the Caribbean lobster, have a faster metabolism & smaller life span. (See The Lobster (2015) Movie Explained)
2. What is their Anatomy?
A lobster’s anatomy includes two body parts, viz cephalothorax & abdomen. The cephalothorax is the fusion of the head and thorax.
- The lobster’s head has antennae, mandibles, antennules.
- Three of their five pairs of legs have claws.
- Their muscular long body is covered with shells.
- The shell of a lobster is very robust and it takes a few years for it to grow and develop.
3. Do Lobsters Die of Old Age?
Scientists have still not found a valid method for determining the age of lobsters. The difficult part is to trace the ring parts that remain after shedding, which can help determine the age of the creatures. Lobsters which are seen in grocery stores and restaurants are aged between 5 and 7 years old and weigh around 45 pounds.
- Previous research suggests that large European lobsters (males in the wild) live to an average of 31 years, while females live to an average of 54 years.
- The largest lobster ever found was caught in Nova Scotia in 1977, It weighed around 44 pounds and was 40 inches long, it was about a size of a 3-year-old child.
Their death by old age has not been recorded yet. The only way they die is by being caught & processed into food, shell infection, or caught by predators. Crayfish takes four to five minutes to die in boiling water, lobster takes about three minutes. (See Oldest living species alive today)
4. What is Shell Disease?
Shell disease is when bacteria invade the lobster shell and form scar tissue, leaving the lobster susceptible to other diseases. In extreme cases, rotting the entire shell, which can kill the animal. (See What is Blobfish?)
Lobster absorbs their immense size but they get rid of their exoskeletons as they age. When they shed their skin, lobsters have to shrink their extremities to draw water from their bodies. They grow by molting their exoskeleton. An average lobster can molt 44 times before it’s a year old.
5. How is their Environmental Tolerance?
Lobsters can respond to sudden stimuli by twiddling their tails when they are in boiling water, but the institute suggests that lobsters do not have a complex brain that would allow them to process pain like humans or other animals. They are tolerant to many environmental conditions as they suffer worse water quality and pollution than most aquatic animals. Often, due to global warming, as the sea temperature gets warmer, lobsters especially American lobsters, move towards higher altitudes to escape the heat. (See How Do Fish Sleep with Their Eyes Open?)
- Lobster larvae are susceptible to various toxins present in surface water because they remain in surface water for a month after hatching. Thereafter, they move to the seabed where they will remain for the rest of their lives.
- Research suggests that lobsters do not slow with age, weaken or lose their fertility. Au contraire, older lobsters are more fertile than younger ones. This does not make them immortal in the traditional sense although it explains the question do lobsters die of old age, which they do not.
6. Can a Lobster Live Out of Water?
If you keep lobsters in cold temperatures, they will remain in hibernation until you are ready to cook them. It is best not to defrost and heat them for at least two minutes in boiling water. Now, that you know the answer to do lobsters die of old age, it is time to know the time a lobster lives without water. It does not last that long, but it is enough for delivery purposes. Even 20 to 24 hours is too much time, but that is enough to transport lobsters to any part of the country to meet all needs regardless of geographical locations. (See How Quickly Do Moths Eat Clothes?)
- Lobsters can survive in saltwater for up to 48 hours when refrigerated.
- If your shipment of lobster is stored outdoors, it can be kept alive for another 24 hours before cooking.
- They can live for up to 36 hours after having been removed from the seawater, so buy them the day before you want to cook them, and don’t wait too long.
Remember that the longer you cook them, the sweeter they taste. (See 45 Types of Fish)
7. How to Preserve Lobsters to Cook?
- Freeze the lobster for 30 to 60 minutes, then place the head outwards in a pot of boiling water. Boiling water kills the lobster while the cold puts the lobster at rest so that it cannot thrash around.
- Once the lobster is cooked, remove the meat from the shell and cut it into small pieces.
- Put the lobsters in a saucepan of water, boil them and start the timer.
- Cook or steam the lobster alone for 5-7 minutes in water with 1 tablespoon salt. Lobsters stored this way will remain sluggish and moist when cooked before 24-48 hours.
- Live lobsters can be stored for up to two days by placing them in the coldest part of the refrigerator or by packing them in an open container when purchased.
- Do not immerse the lobster in water or put ice in an airtight container, otherwise, it will suffocate and die. Store lobsters in a strong paper bag or a lobster pot if you have one.
- If the lobsters start to give a foul odor, it’s best to dispose of it. (See 7 Recipes for Fresh Tomatoes from Garden)