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LOBSTERS: INSECTS OF THE SEA?


By CarolynCHolland(9,534) CarolynCHolland



  My 2003 New England vacation taught me a lot about lobsters. They shed multiple times in their life, mostly as they are growing. Their shell doesn’t grow although they do. Soft-shelled lobsters have molted and have less but sweeter meat. The hard-shelled lobsters haven’t recently molted---their meat is plentiful but can be tougher (both of my lobsters were tantalizingly good).
     The lobster season is late that year. Some lobstermen even took vacations because of their scarcity, due to the severe winter and rains that left an excess of cold water at the bottom of the sea that delayed their schedule. It’s mid-August and the lobster season is just getting started.
    While traveling one day, I saw a truck with a huge blue lobster painted prominently on its side. It was an eye-catcher, and that’s all I thought it was. Then a news story announced the capture of a blue lobster near the Isles of Shoals off the New England coast.
     The situation reminded me of the time I was making a butterfly cake for Sandy’s sixth birthday. My day care kids were helping and wanted the insect to be blue. “Butterflies aren’t blue,” I told them as I sought out an encyclopedia to show them pictures. To my amazement the kids were right. There are blue butterflies and the cake was iced in shades of blue.
     And there are blue lobsters. “Cuz” Dorothy Goldman told us the rare lobster was being kept by Ricker’s Lobster Pound in New Castle, N. H. before moving to the Seacoast Science Center in Rye. So off we went on the great blue lobster search. And sure enough, we found it.
     I immediately asked the man I assume was Mr. Ricker if I could photograph it for my granddaughter (really, for me). He said yes and lifted it and a “normal” crustacean out of the water tank and put them in a crate. I now have pictures of the one in two million find.
     Internet and library material on blue lobsters is skimpy. Monte found two instances where they had been caught on the New England, in 1992 and 1994.
     The color is caused by a lack of red and yellow pigment.
     The lobster, a member of the zoological phylum Anthropods, is related to the spider, cockroach and scorpion. It is of the biological class, Crustacea, and is identified as an “insect of the sea.”
     Maine is synonymous with lobster (and the blueberry). The Homarus Americanas, or “Maine lobster,” is found along a 1300-foot stretch of the Atlantic coast---from Cape Hatteras to Labrador. Fossils dredged up on Long Island Sound prove he’s looked the same for at least 100 million years. He looks like an armor-plated roach, and has a face only another lobster could love (the blue lobster looked VERY angry).      
     It’s no wonder the lobster hasn’t always been appreciated as much as it is today. Pilgrims placed little value on the American variety of lobster. They used its meat as poorhouse fare, donated to widows, orphans and like objects of public charity. Sometimes after a storm farmers would take piled up lobsters in carts and plow them by the ton into fields as fertilizer. The abundance of lobster and the contempt of them continued into the 19th century.
     The Island Institute is sponsoring the Lobster-Tales project, intended to show inland consumers who purchase lobsters that the insect comes from real communities, not anonymous wholesalers or an idealized fishing village of yesteryear.
     At home in Laurel Mountain Borough I have a small collection of lobsters gathered on previous trips to the coast. I told Jordan she could be their “caretaker” during our trip and she couldn’t wait for the responsibility. She also expects something lobsterish in each communication, so we’ve become alerted to lobster items. I’ve found her a lobster hat, purse, T-shirt, and I’ve found material to make a skirt to complete the outfit. I expect she’ll be the best-dressed child in church when we return.    
     Meanwhile, the lobster’s activities on the ocean bottom include eating, reproducing and hiding. What a life!
To read about another critter, the black bear (and how to protect yourself from them) click onto the Beanery Online Literary Magazine at ProBlogs.com/beanerywriters. Articles will be filed in the category Carolyn's Writings.



This Blog Post has been read 294 times.
Posted to ProBlogs.com on Monday, January 01, 2007
View other posts by CarolynCHolland

Comments on this blog post:

Robert from Spring hill, fl: (134 days 19 hours ago.)
Well I have always suspected this family of sea life was an insect. So being somewhat adverse to eating any, I suspect I can now talk my way out of paying for an insect dinner at our favorite seafood place? Thanks for the update and the savings. Best regards anad good job RTM


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