Are Lobsters Bugs? What's The Deal With Lobsters And Cockroaches?

Tanya Parkhi
Feb 29, 2024 By Tanya Parkhi
Originally Published on Oct 20, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Live baby orange crayfish.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.2 Min

Grouped together with fish, lobsters are considered a delicacy in many parts of the world, and a lobster meal in a fancy restaurant can often set you back by a lot!

However, with its exoskeleton (shell), a segmented body, and jointed appendages, this popular seafood creature can display quite similar characteristics to a spider or scorpion at times. If there are so many similarities between lobsters and common bugs, then why do we eat one but not the other?

Though it is true that all these creepy crawlies are related, there are a number of differences between sea critters like lobsters and crabs and other regular insects such as beetles, spiders, and grasshoppers. It is quite normal in some cultures to eat bugs as a part of one's daily diet, however eating an insect is not that common in Western culture at the moment. Lobsters have often been likened to cockroaches with their similar pairs of antennae, exoskeleton or shell, and segmented bodies. These two animals do share a lot in common. However, one of them is relished and the other is considered as a pest. To find out if lobsters really are bugs, read on!

If you enjoyed this article, do check out our other pages on Caribbean spiny lobster facts and are lynx and bobcat the same here on Kidadl!

Why are lobsters related to bugs?

Lobsters and other bugs, though not that closely related, are all part of the phylum Arthropoda, which contains all sorts of insects, crustaceans, and arachnids. All the mentioned creatures do look similar, as they all have hard exoskeletons or shells covering their insides and multiple jointed legs which help them to scurry across surfaces. They have distinctly segmented bodies, and if you open up a lobster by cutting it in half you will find that both halves are symmetrical!

Lobsters are often called sea bugs and have been likened to cockroaches from time to time because of their similarities. Scorpions, which look more similar to lobsters than spiders, are classified as arachnids as well. So then why are lobsters in a separate class?

Crustaceans like shrimp, lobsters, and crabs are classified as this because they are mainly found in the water. All arachnids are inherently terrestrial in nature and their bodies only have two distinct sections, whereas those of crustaceans have three.

Scorpions, centipedes, and spiders are indeed edible and are eaten by people in some parts of the world, however, they are not as popular as lobsters, shrimp, clams, and crabs. This is mostly due to the size difference. Lobsters are quite large and meaty and have an lovely taste, whereas bugs do not. Most bugs are quite tasty and eating one one their own would probably not even have any taste unless it was seasoned.

Another reason that humans refuse to go near spiders is because of an inherent fear that many of us possess, which has been instilled in us for centuries. Old beliefs that spiders carry disease, as well as their creepy tendency to appear out of nowhere, has indeed made them quite scary figures in our minds and their terrifying appearance doesn't help either!

Why are Florida lobsters called bugs?

Lobsters have a remarkably similar nervous system to grasshoppers, which is why these arthropods are frequently called bugs.

Being a coastal area, lobsters are a quite popular delicacy in Florida. The Caribbean spiny lobster species is the most abundant species of lobster found here. These sea creatures, though lobster-like in appearance, are actually more like crayfish. They may seem and taste like true lobsters once cooked, however, they are not at all closely related to the Maine lobster, a true lobster species. The most noticeable difference you will find is that Florida lobsters do not have the signature large, meaty claws which all lobsters are known for, rather having tiny claws. The only edible meat they have is in their tails, whereas the Maine lobster's meat can be obtained from its claws, tail, as well as body. Due to this, these lobster imposters are fondly called 'sea bugs' by the locals.

A way in which the lobster and cockroach are similar is that they both tend to turn into cannibals when there is no other food source available and can turn on their own kind if ravenous. Lobsters are scavengers and will feed on dead and decaying animal matter as well, searching along the ocean floor for food.

A beautiful blue Crayfish.

Do lobsters have two hearts?

Lobsters do not have typical four-chambered hearts as most animals do. They have a sac-like organ that pumps blood in the center of their circulatory system.

Lobsters however have a number of tiny hearts and each of these organs are located at the base of their appendages such as their legs, wings, and antennae. The blood continues to flow in one direction with the aid of these 'hearts'. Its heart is located on its dorsal side i.e. its back, and is quite long, running from the length of its body from its tail to its brain. They also have blood which is blue due to the presence of copper in it.

Another eerie fact about these arthropods is that they urinate from their faces! They have nozzle-like structures under their eyes, and use peeing in each other's faces as a form of communication!

Do lobsters suffocate out of water?

Lobsters can actually survive out of water for a couple of days, as long as their gills are kept moist. They can extract oxygen from the air through their five pairs of gills, which is why they are kept in wet newspaper, on ice, or wrapped in seaweed once on land so that their gills do not dry out.

On the other hand, they can be kept in seawater, however, if they are held in a closed container with no air circulation then they are likely to suffocate to death because their oxygen supply will eventually run out.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for are lobsters bugs? what's the deal with lobsters and cockroaches? then why not take a look at are cats allergic to chocolate? what kibble is safe for your kitten?, or are raccoons nocturnal? interesting facts you may not know?

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Written by Tanya Parkhi

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Economics

Tanya Parkhi picture

Tanya ParkhiBachelor of Arts specializing in Economics

Tanya is a skilled content creator with a passion for writing and a love for exploring new cultures. With a degree in Economics from Fergusson College, Pune, India, Tanya worked on her writing skills by contributing to various editorials and publications. She has experience writing blogs, articles, and essays, covering a range of topics. Tanya's writing reflects her interest in travel and exploring local traditions. Her articles showcase her ability to engage readers and keep them interested.

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