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Clawed lobsters comprise a family of large marine crustaceans. Lobsters are an economically important type of seafood, the basis of a global industry that nets $1.8 billion in trade annually.


 


image courtesy of noaa.govLobsters are invertebrates, and have a tough exoskeleton, which protects them. Like all arthropods, lobsters must molt in order to grow, leaving them vulnerable during this time. They're considered a delicacy around the world, and in certain parts are extremely expensive. Smaller varieties of lobsters are sometimes called "lobsterettes."

Habitat: 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.

Diet: Although many studies suggested that lobsters are primarily scavengers, feeding on mollusks and decaying animal matter, recent studies have shown that they primarily feed on live fish, dig for clams, sea urchins, and feed on algae and eel-grass. They occasionally eat other lobsters, too. An average adult lobster is about 230 mm (9 inches) long and weighs 700 to 900 g (1.5 to 2 pounds). Lobsters grow throughout their lives, though, and are long-lived. 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).

Bilaterally symmetrical: Like all arthropods, lobsters are bilaterally symmetrical; clawed lobsters often possess unequal, specialized claws, like the king crab. The anatomy of the lobster includes the cephalothorax which is the head fused with the thorax, both of which are covered by the carapace, 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. The abdomen of the lobster includes tiny swimmerets, which assist with mobility in the water.

Movement: 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.

 

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 Kingdom: Animalia

 Phylum: Arthropoda

 Subphylum: Crustacea

 Class: Malacostraca

 Order: Decapoda

 Suborder: Pleocyemata

 Infraorder: Astacidea

 Family: Nephropidae