Cape Breton's Magazine

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Page 12 - The Life of the Lobster

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1974/3/1 (1177 reads)
 

sense of touch, and of smell, and probably of taste. If placed near salt water and left to its own devices, it will almost immediately strike out by the nearest path for the sea. Its power of crawling on land is, however, limited to short distances, and the lobster never forsakes the salt water of its own accord and never willingly leaves the sea bottom. In exploring its feeding grounds, where an enemy is likely to be encountered, the legs which carry the long claws are extended forward in front of the head, or carried somewhat obliquely, their tips resting on the bottom, and the long sensitive "feelers" are waved constantly back and forth. These are exclusively organs of touch. If the anticipated enemy makes his appearance or if the animal is surprised,..it will immediately strike an attitude of defence. It now raises itself on the tips of its walking legs and lifts its powerful claws over the head after the manner of a boxer, and strikes with one of its claws.,,. (A.H.Verrill, Strange Crea? tures of the Sea;"One claw is often larger than the other, and most people think this is because earlier in life he lost one in a fight. This is not the case. The claws are of different sizes primarily because they each have a certain function to perform. The smaller, more slender and pointed claw captures fish and other prey, drives off or attacks in fights, and tears up food. The larger, blunter claw with broad, dull teeth, serves to chew shells and other hard creatures, to act as a shield when attacked, and to crush captured enemies to death." The claws and other appendages are often found completely out of proportion to the rest of the body • and this is the result of the process of regeneration. The lobster (as with other crustaceans; is capable of replacing certain lost parts. The loss can be in battle or voluntarily • the latter known as defensive mutilation or autotomy. Fishermen know the experience of picking up a lobster by the claw and having the rest of the body suddenly let the claw go. The wound heals over quickly and when the lobster next molts (that is, sheds its hard outer skeleton) the soft lobster that emerges possesses a small claw. The size of the claw will depend on how long after the loss the molt occurred. Through successive molts the appendage grows (as does the entire lobster), the new appendage growing more quickly than the rest of the body and thus "catching up" and coming finally into proportion. Molting is the only way a lobster can grow. A 10-inch lobster, for instance, has molted about 25 times and is five years old. The molting is essentially two phenomena: the formation of a new shell of soft, elastic material beneath the old shell, and the casting of the old • a strenuous performance where the lobster bends itself into an inverted V and backs out of the old shell, emerging through a split across the upper surface where the body (carapace) meets the tail. Herrick: The molting process is both an expen? sive and dangerous operation, and calls for considerable excess of energy...(it oc? curs usually in the warmer months but can happen all year round). Shedders can be Best wishes to Cape Breton's Magazine SHAD'S SERVICE STATIOK GENERAL STORE & RESTAURANT Sidr DblL ' • ,._ (ttamrn Anttiii??a & Art 238 Charlotte Street Sydney, Nova Scotia 'pne 539-6333 Excellent Accomodations rbe marKLanO DINGWALL. VICTORIA COUHTY, N.S. • I Mrs. Chester McSvoyt Manager ii MACRAE'S aXJLF SALES AND SERVICE BADDECK, NOVA SCOTIA Frank McKnight Ltd. Everything Musical " 279 Charlotte Street Sydney 539-5030 Frank McKnight Ltd. Everything Musical " Better Health Centre OPEN 436 Charlotte St. MON-FRI, Sydney 2 Stores Down from Canadian Tire We have a Large Range of Health, Vegetarian, Special Diet & Diabetic Foods TELE Natural Vitamins 562-1237 Food Supplements Natural Cosmetics CoO,D. Orders Accepted/Bulk Rates FREE NATURAL NUTRITION GUIDE & PRICE LIST Cape Breton's Magazine/12 Building Supplies "The Home Care Centre" Welton Street Dial: 564-5518
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