What Do Lobsters Eat? Examining Their Amazing Diet | Kidadl


What Do Lobsters Eat? Examining Their Amazing Diet

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Lobsters are interesting creatures as everything about this species is unique, from its claws to its diet.

Do you know that a female lobster is a multitasker when it comes to mating? Mating takes place when female lobsters start luring the male lobsters.

They reproduce frequently throughout their lifespan. The lifespan of lobsters varies across species, as American lobsters can live for over 100 years while the Caribbean spiny lobster lives for only around 15 years or more.

But apart from the mating process, the diet of lobsters is also unique. They are omnivorous in a sense. Lobsters eat a variety of food items, whatever they can find, to be exact. The high lobster landings keep humans happy. But let us find out what keeps these lobsters happy. To be clearer, let us find the answer to the question: 'what do lobsters eat?'

You must also read our fascinating articles about what does lobster taste like, and are lobsters bugs.

Do lobsters kill each other?

What do lobsters eat? These crustaceans eat a variety of things. Lobsters have an omnivorous diet. They have a huge variety of food options. You might be surprised to learn that one of the unexpected foods of lobster species is the lobster itself! That’s right. Lobsters eat other lobsters.

Although it might come as a surprise to you, in the animal world, there are plenty of omnivorous animals that eat each other. In the same way, lobsters are cannibalistic. They literally kill other lobster species and eat them. When they are in search of food and a lobster happens to be in front of them, they will eat the other lobster. Lobsters do not hesitate to kill other lobster species. Lobsters eat other foods too, but the possibility that they can kill their own is scary.

Baby lobsters are the ones that are most affected by this behavior. Many lobsters will eat the baby lobsters as food. Lobsters keep growing constantly. The bigger lobster species among lobster species might find it easy to kill and eat the smaller lobsters. Why do lobsters eat each other? Well, we don’t know exactly why lobsters are cannibalistic in nature. 

High population density and rising temperatures may be factors in these crustaceans' erratic behavior. Whatever the reason is, lobsters seem to enjoy eating lobster meat just like humans. On the other hand, lobsters cannot eat humans but might try to hurt anyone holding them with their claws.

How do lobsters eat and digest food?

You might be wondering how a lobster eats its favorite food, and what is the food digestion mechanism in a lobster? In crustaceans like lobsters and crabs, there are scary claws present. These claws help them catch live prey. What happens after they catch their food?

The claws catch the food source and rip the food apart. The teeth of a lobster are located in the stomach, which is a short distance from the mouth. The digestive system of an American lobster consists of three parts, which are called the foregut, midgut, and hindgut. In an American lobster, the foregut contains a gastric mill that helps in grinding food. In the midgut of the American lobster, these ground food particles are again made into fine particles. Lobsters smell using the four antennules in the front of their heads.

The small sensory hairs in their bodies also help them to smell. They smell the food and catch it using their claws. The crabs also possess the same features. Apart from the claws, the two sets of walking legs behind the claws also help lobsters smell. In the mouth, the food goes inside the stomach, and the teeth inside the stomach called the gastric mill, help lobsters eat and digest the food. Clawed lobsters find it easy to catch prey with their claws.

Compared to European lobsters, the claws of American lobsters are larger and flat. The green substance that humans love to eat in lobsters is actually the lobster’s liver. It is both the liver and pancreas of the lobster and plays a key role in its digestion.

Are lobsters dangerous to humans?

The clawed lobsters are definitely scary to look at. The lobsters grow to be quite large. But are they a threat to human beings?

It is safe to say the biggest threat to lobsters is humans. Humans enjoy eating tasty American and European lobsters. Lobsters tend to be very tasty meals for humans. In fact, Maine lobsters are caught and eaten by humans in great numbers. There are numerous lobster traps set up to catch lobsters. But lobster meat can become poisonous to humans. After the lobster dies, the bacteria in its body can multiply in great amounts.

So, if you eat lobsters after a while, there is a chance of food poisoning. It is because of this that live lobsters are sold. The lobsters can get bad quickly after they die. The live lobster is cooked alive. Lobster blood is usually colorless. But when they are exposed to oxygen during the cooking process, the blood turns a shade of blue.

Lobster in water.

What kind of things do lobsters eat?

We know that humans eat lobsters. Let us talk about what do lobsters eat. As mentioned above, lobsters eat lobsters, but what else? Apart from these facts, what is the real diet of a lobster? What do lobsters consume?

Lobsters were thought to be scavengers since they feed mainly on small fish that are dead or other dead items. But they are also predators who catch prey if the opportunity arises. Some of the food items that lobsters love are clams, sea urchins, starfish, small fish, shellfish, crabs, mussels, segmented worms, and horseshoe worms. The old shell of the lobster is also a food source for them. The lobster’s shell has calcium in it.

To consume the calcium in the old shells, lobsters will eat them after they get a strong new shell. The old shells of lobsters are a healthy food source for them. It is odd but healthy. Lobsters also eat crabs, but these crabs that lobsters eat can sometimes become their predators also, especially for baby lobsters. In times when food is scarce, an American lobster can also eat plants to survive. Lobsters eat shrimp too. These crustaceans will also eat bait food that humans put in. Lobsters can easily move through traps.

So lobsters tend to eat the bait food, which is mainly salted small fish. Baby lobsters can move through the traps more easily than adult lobsters since they are smaller in size. In conclusion, lobsters eat a variety of food items. Whatever they come across ends up being their food, whether it's dead or alive.

Do lobsters eat octopuses?

We have talked about how lobsters eat whatever they find. Lobsters live under the sea bed where there are many food items for them to consume. Lobsters eat mollusks that live on the sea bed and many other items they come across. Mollusks include a variety of animals like snails, squids, clams, and octopuses. But do lobsters eat octopus too?

The octopus eats lobsters sometimes, and interestingly, it can be the other way round also. Lobsters eat baby octopuses, but not all of the lobster species. The Maine lobster and the Caribbean spiny lobster are known to eat small or young octopuses. Technically, the spiny lobster species is not a true lobster species. In terms of appearance, spiny lobsters are just like true lobsters. But they are considered to be false lobsters. Apart from spiny lobsters, furry lobsters are also considered false lobsters.

The appearance of both spiny lobsters and furry lobsters is not that of true lobsters, but they are closely related to the original species. Anyhow, both spiny lobsters and Maine lobsters eat young octopuses but are unable to prey on adult octopuses. Since lobsters eat a wide variety of foods, they will happily consume octopuses.  the octopus is also a predator of lobsters. So, the octopuses that these lobsters eat are young ones of this species.

There are around 85,000 species of mollusk and most of them are found on sea beds. Both spiny lobsters and Maine lobsters enjoy eating these mollusks whenever they can find them. 

Do lobsters eat oysters?

Oysters are a food option for humans. These shelled mollusks have been eaten along with champagne in many places. Although many people don’t find them very tasty, guess who likes to eat oysters?

Lobsters eat oysters if they can open them. Due to the powerful claws that these crustaceans have, they can open and eat the live dredge oysters. Oysters are mollusks that live under the sea bed. What makes these species quite hard to consume compared to others is the shell that they have. The shells of the oysters are sometimes hard to open. But for a lobster, the shells are not an issue. So, you can find lobsters eating these oysters.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for what do lobsters eat then why not take a look at how long do lobsters live, or how many legs does a lobster has?

Written By
Supriya Jain

<p>As a skilled member of the Kidadl team, Shruti brings extensive experience and expertise in professional content writing. With a Bachelor's degree in Commerce from Punjab University and an MBA in Business Administration from IMT Nagpur, Shruti has worked in diverse roles such as sales intern, content writer, executive trainee, and business development consultant. Her exceptional writing skills cover a wide range of areas, including SOP, SEO, B2B/B2C, and academic content.</p>

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