AskDefine | Define lobster

Dictionary Definition



1 flesh of a lobster
2 any of several edible marine crustaceans of the families Homaridae and Nephropsidae and Palinuridae

User Contributed Dictionary



lopustre, lopystre, a corrupt derivation of locustalocust, crustacean’.


  • (UK) /ˈlɒbstə/


  1. A crustacean of the Nephrodidae family, normally red in colour, with claws, which is used as an expensive seafood.
  2. A soldier or officer of the imperial British Army (due to their red or scarlet uniform).




Extensive Definition

Clawed lobsters compose a family (Nephropidae, sometimes also Homaridae) of large marine crustaceans. Lobsters are economically important as seafood, forming the basis of a global industry that nets US$1.8 billion in trade annually.
Though several different groups of crustaceans are known as "lobsters," the clawed lobsters are most often associated with the name. Clawed lobsters are not closely related with spiny lobsters or slipper lobsters, which have no claws (chelae), or squat lobsters. The closest relatives of clawed lobsters are the reef lobster Enoplometopus and the three families of freshwater crayfish.


Lobsters are invertebrates and have a hard protective exoskeleton. Like most arthropods, lobsters must moult in order to grow, leaving them vulnerable during this time. During the molting process, several species may experience a change in color.
Lobsters live on rocky, sandy, or muddy bottoms from the shoreline to beyond the edge of the continental shelf. They generally live singly in crevices or in burrows under rocks.
Lobsters typically eat live food, consisting of fish, mollusks, other crustaceans, worms, and some plant life. Occasionally, they will scavenge if necessary, and may resort to cannibalism in captivity; however, this has not been observed in the wild. Lobster skin in the stomachs of lobsters has been found before, although this is because lobsters will eat their shed skin after molting. Lobsters grow throughout their lives and it is not unusual for a lobster to live for more than 100 years. They can thus reach impressive sizes. According to the Guinness World Records, the largest lobster was caught in Nova Scotia, Canada, and weighed 20.14 kg (44.4 lb).
Being arthropods, lobsters are largely bilaterally symmetrical; clawed lobsters often possess unequal, specialized claws, like the king crab. A freshly caught lobster will have a claw that is full and fleshy, not atrophied. The anatomy of the lobster includes the cephalothorax which is the head fused with the thorax, both of which are covered by the carapace, of chitinous composition, and the abdomen. The lobster's head consists of antennae, antennules, mandibles, the first and second maxillae, and the first, second, and third maxillipeds. Because a lobster lives in a murky environment at the bottom of the ocean, its vision is poor and it mostly uses its antennae as sensors. Studies have shown that the lobster eye is formed with a reflective structure atop a convex retina. In contrast, most complex eyes use refractive ray concentrators (lenses) and a concave retina. The abdomen of the lobster includes swimmerets and its tail is composed of uropods and the telson.
In general, lobsters move slowly by walking on the bottom of the sea floor. However, when they are in danger and need to flee, they swim backwards quickly by curling and uncurling their abdomen. A speed of 5 meters per second has been recorded.
Lobsters come in a variety of colors including, but not limited to, red, blue, green, purple, yellow, and magenta.


The genus Symbion, the only member of the animal phylum Cycliophora, has only been found on the gills and mouthparts of lobsters.
Lobster is a valued foodstuff; well-known recipes include Lobster Newberg and Lobster Thermidor. Lobster is best eaten fresh, and they are normally purchased live. Lobsters are usually shipped and sold with their claws banded to prevent them from injuring each other or the purchaser. Lobsters cannot open and close the claws when they are banded, which causes the claws to begin to atrophy inside the shell. Very fresh lobsters will not show this, and the claws will be full. Many restaurants that serve lobster keep a tank of the live creatures, often allowing patrons to pick their own.
Lobsters are generally prepared and cooked while they are still alive, thus a lobster can have both its claws cut off and its body will still be moving. If the lobster is to be boiled or steamed, most cooks place the live lobster into the pot; this will kill off the lobster. If the lobster is to be fried, grilled, or baked, it is best not to boil the lobster before further cooking. Freezing the lobster may toughen the meat.
When boiling a lobster, the general rule of thumb is to simmer the lobster for 7 minutes for the first pound and 3 minutes for each additional pound. The Moche people of ancient Peru worshipped the sea and its animals. Lobsters were often depicted in their art. In the Japanese 1966 film Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster and the 1970 film Space Amoeba, the Toho monsters Ebirah and Ganime, respectively, are both giant mutant lobsters. A recurring character on the television show "Spongebob Squarepants" is a bodybuilding lobster named Larry.


External links

  • Marine Lobsters of the World
lobster in Old English (ca. 450-1100): Loppestre
lobster in Arabic: جراد البحر
lobster in Indonesian: Lobster
lobster in Catalan: Nefròpid
lobster in German: Hummerartige
lobster in Modern Greek (1453-): Αστακός (μαλακόστρακο)
lobster in Esperanto: Omaro
lobster in French: Nephropidae
lobster in Russian: Омары
lobster in Icelandic: Humrar
lobster in Latin: Locusta marina
lobster in Lithuanian: Omaras
lobster in Malayalam: കൊഞ്ച്
lobster in Dutch: Zeekreeften
lobster in Norwegian: Hummere
lobster in Norwegian Nynorsk: Hummarfamilien
lobster in Polish: Homary
lobster in Portuguese: Lavagante
lobster in Simple English: Lobster
lobster in Finnish: Hummerit
lobster in Swedish: Hummer
lobster in Tagalog: Ulang
lobster in Urdu: کَر کند
lobster in Chinese: 海螯蝦

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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