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The Wonders of Lobster: From Anatomy to Health Benefits


Lobsters are a type of shellfish characterized by their segmented bodies protected by a shell. They are marine crustaceans with long bodies and muscular tails, and they live in crevices or burrows on the sea floor. Lobsters have three pairs of legs with claws, including the first pair, which are usually much larger than the others. Highly prized as seafood, lobsters are economically important and are often one of the most profitable commodities in the coastal areas they populate.

Lobsters have a hard protective exoskeleton and must shed to grow, leaving them vulnerable. During the shedding process, several species change color. Lobsters have eight walking legs, with the front three pairs bearing claws, the first of which are larger than the others. The front pincers are also biologically considered legs, so they belong in the order Decapods (“ten-footed”). Some genera possess unequal, specialized claws.

Lobster anatomy includes two main body parts: the cephalothorax and the abdomen. The cephalothorax fuses the head and the thorax, both of which are covered by a chitinous carapace. The lobster’s head bears antennae, antennules, mandibles, the first and second maxillae, and usually stalked compound eyes. Lobsters use their antennae as sensors, mostly due to living in murky environments at the bottom of the ocean. The lobster eye has a reflective structure above a convex retina. The thorax is composed of maxillipeds, appendages that function primarily as mouthparts, and pereiopods, appendages that serve for walking and for gathering food. The abdomen includes pleopods (also known as swimmerets), used for swimming, as well as the tail fan, composed of uropods and the telson.

Lobsters have blue blood due to the presence of hemocyanin, which contains copper. They also possess a green hepatopancreas, called the tomalley by chefs, which functions as the animal’s liver and pancreas.

In terms of health benefits, lobster is rich in protein, which is essential for growth, repair, and the strengthening of bones and organ systems. Lobster also contains significant amounts of omega-3s and omega-6s, which can help prevent inflammation and atherosclerosis. Additionally, lobster is a good source of B12, which helps maintain nerve integrity and keeps the nervous system functioning properly, and choline, which can increase the production of neurotransmitters, improve brain function and efficiency, and protect against neurodegenerative diseases.

Overall, lobsters are a highly prized seafood, economically important and often one of the most profitable commodities in the coastal areas they populate. They have a hard protective exoskeleton, must shed to grow, and possess two main body parts, the cephalothorax and the abdomen. Lobsters have blue blood due to the presence of hemocyanin and possess a green hepatopancreas, called the tomalley by chefs. Health benefits of lobster include its high protein content, as well as its significant amounts of omega-3s and omega-6s, B12, and choline, which can improve cognition, boost energy, and aid in growth and repair.

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