Lobsters are a type of crustacean, which is a group of animals that have jointed legs and a hard shell. Other types of crustaceans include crabs, shrimp, crawfish and krill. Lobsters differ from these other creatures because they have longer tails and claws compared to their bodies.
They have long bodies with muscular tails, and live in crevices or burrows on the sea floor. Three of their five pairs of legs have claws, including the first pair, which are usually much larger than the others; they use these for defense and to tear apart prey. They also used the two front ones as antennae.
In the wild, lobsters typically live for around 20 years. Someone harvest commercially and consider them a delicacy.
Lobsters are omnivorous and mainly eat mollusks, crustaceans, and fish. They scavenge food from the sea floor, but will also hunt for prey items. Some larger specimens have taken down small sharks!
This article will explore how lobster diets can vary, depending on their habitat and species. Lobster food preferences also depend on the time of year and other factors like water temperature, salinity, depth, etc. Depending on these factors, lobsters may be scavengers (eating many dead animals) or herbivores (eating only plants). Typically though, they are primarily carnivorous creatures that consume fish carcasses and smaller crustaceans like shrimp and krill.
The Basics of Lobster Diet
Lobsters are primarily predators, eating clams, mussels, crabs and other crustaceans. They also eat fish when they are readily available in the environment. Lobsters use their hard claws to crush or tear apart prey that they have caught, then bring their food into their mouths where it is further crushed with the sharp edges of the lobster’s teeth before being swallowed.
This method of eating is slow and labor-intensive, but it allows the lobster to consume prey that is much larger than themselves. Some lobsters have also scavenged on dead fish or other animals that have died in their vicinity. Lobstermen sometimes find lobsters with stomachs full of sand, which the lobster has eaten to extract the organic matter in it.
Some lobsters are more opportunistic feeders, scavenging on whatever food they can find. These types of lobsters are found in habitats where there is not a lot of larger prey for them to eat, like sea grass beds or eelgrass meadows.
Editor’s note: When lobsters can’t find any of the typical food sources, they’ll eat plants and algae. When food is scarce, lobsters can go several months without eating and still be fine.
What Do Lobsters Eat: Lobster Diet by Species & Habitat
Different species have different lobster diets depending on their habitat and species.
Lobsters that live in the deep sea near hydrothermal vents are scavengers, eating dead animals like fish or crabs that sink into these areas from other parts of the ocean.
The diet and behavior also changes for lobsters living in different habitats throughout their life cycle.
- Juvenile lobsters may scavenge for food on the sea floor, but as it matures, it will become more predatory and hunt live prey.
- Lobsters that live in estuaries (a place where a river empties into the ocean) typically eat mostly small crabs, shrimp and other crustaceans. But, if there is a large influx of fish into the estuary, these lobsters will also eat fish.
- Lobsters that live in salt marshes (a type of coastal wetland) typically have a diet that consists mostly of marsh plants and small crabs.
The diets of lobsters can vary depending on the season. Lobsters are cold blooded creatures so during certain times of the year, they eat more or less depending on how hot or cold it is. This means that their diet can vary from season to season as well.
Let’s see these diets more in depth.
1. European Lobster
The European lobster is a species that lives in the waters around Europe, North Africa and parts of Asia.
They come in many colors, typically being brown, green or reddish. They are the species that are most commonly consumed as a food source around the world.
They have been known to mainly eat fish and mollusks like mussels in their natural environment, but they will also eat crustaceans occasionally.
In the summer, when lobsters are younger, they eat a lot of small marine animals like crabs or prawns, but as they get older, their diet becomes more varied with larger fish being consumed too.
2. American Lobster
The American lobster is the species that most people are familiar with. This species of lobster look very similar to the European lobster, but it has a few distinct features.
The first being that its claws are much smaller than those of the European Lobster, with each claw weighing around 70g on average whereas in Europe they can be up to 100g per claw. They also have fewer teeth, which means their bites are less powerful.
The American lobster is found in the North Atlantic Ocean, from Labrador to Georges Bank and on the continental shelf of Europe. They typically eat small crabs, clams, mussels and other crustaceans, but they have also been known to scavenge on dead animals that sink to the bottom of the ocean.
It lives in North America and can be found along the east coast of Canada and down to parts of Florida.
The American lobster is a carnivorous creature that typically eats smaller animals like clams, crabs and mussels when it is in its younger stages of life. But as an adult, this species normally feeds on herring, hake, flounder, cod and other fish.
The American lobster will also scavenge on dead animals that have sunk to the bottom of the ocean floor. Lobsters typically avoid eating other lobsters, but there have been cases where they will eat them if they are available.
3. Spiny Lobster
The spiny lobster is a species of lobster that lives in the tropical and subtropical waters around the world. Their name comes from the fact that they have spines running down the length of their back.
This species is a scavenger and eats mostly dead animals that are on the sea floor but they will also eat small fish or crustaceans if they are available.
The spiny lobster has eaten other lobsters, although this is not common. Its diet depends on their habitat as well as what time of year it is.
It is mainly a scavenger and has eaten dead animals like fish or crabs that have fallen into its environment. They can travel up to 160 meters (525 feet) in search of food.
4. Japanese Spider Crab
The Japanese spider crab is a species of marine crab that lives in the waters around Japan. It’s huge, as you can see from the pic. It can grow to be 12 feet across and weigh 44 pounds.
This species is considered to be a scavenger, and its diet mainly comprises other dead animals like fish or crabs. Japanese spider crabs have eaten other types of lobsters though so they are not above cannibalism either!
When these creatures get older, their diets become more varied and they will eat things like worms, sea urchins or even other crabs.
5. Rock Lobster
Rock lobsters are a type of lobster that is found in the waters around New Zealand and Australia.
They are scavengers, eating anything they can find, including dead animals that have sunk to the bottom of the ocean floor. Rock lobsters also eat crabs, shellfish and fish when these items are available for them to consume.
Editor’s note: this is just a tiny list of the main lobster families found across the world. But in reality, there are over 80 different species of lobsters. Their diets are all similar to the ones in this list.
Variations in Diet
Lobsters are cold-blooded creatures, meaning they cannot regulate their own body temperature. This means that lobsters change their diet depending on the season because during certain times of the year they need to eat more or less depending on how hot or cold it is.
Let’s look at the American Lobster as an example.
In winter, lobsters eat less because it is cold and they need to conserve their energy for staying warm. Their eating process consumes a lot of energy.
In spring, there are a lot of small organisms that spawn off into the water which makes food more plentiful, so these young adult lobsters will eat a lot during this time.
In summer, lobsters eat less because they become more active and their metabolism (the rate at which the body converts food into energy) speeds up. They will also be in a breeding stage during this time, so they are focused on mating rather than eating.
What about Baby Lobsters?
Lobster babies are called “larvae” and it takes about seven to ten years for them to become full grown adults. During this time, they will change habitats many times until they find the perfect one that works best for their species.
The American lobster larvae is known as a phyllosome, which means it lives in its burrow and it feeds on phytoplankton, which is a type of microscopic algae.
The lobster larvae will feed until winter, when food becomes scarce, so they have to rely on their energy reserves from before summer. These reserves are called “fatty tissue” and this process is known as “molting”.
Lobster larvae have no predators because other marine animals cannot get into their burrows.
The lobster’s diet is mainly what the species has adapted to eat over many years of evolution. Every species will adapt differently depending on its habitat and competition for food.
Lobsters in Captivity
There are many species of lobsters that can be kept in captivity. The main thing to remember is that the diet they will require depends on what type of lobster it actually is.
Lobster tanks need to have at least one hiding place for your new pet because these creatures like their own personal space and territory. It’s also important to have a variety of different sized rocks in the tank for them to climb on and hide under.
Lobsters like to eat things that are easy to find, so it’s important to keep their tank clean and free of any dead animals or plant life. You can also feed your lobster frozen seafood like shrimp, crab meat or fish.
Lobster Feeding Behavior
When it is feeding time for a lobster, they will typically spread out their antennae (a feeler on the head of a crustacean) and extend their claws to sense what is around them.
They will then move towards whatever they are going to eat by walking or swimming. Lobsters use their claws to tear apart food items and suck the insides out.
They have teeth in their stomachs that grind the food up so they can digest it properly. Which means they don’t chew their food like humans do. Instead, they will swallow it whole and let these teeth in their stomachs grind the meat up.
Lobsters usually eat at night since that is when they are the most active. They spend the day hiding from predators.
Lobsters also cannot see very well, which is why they use their antennae to feel around them when it’s time for a meal. They will often eat with other lobsters in the same environment, too.
They are usually pretty quiet during feeding times and don’t make any noise, but sometimes you can hear them eating if there is a large group and they are very close by.
Lobsters’ diet is very important for their survival and the overall health of the species. It can affect how they behave, where they migrate to during certain seasons and so on.
We’ve only covered a few types of lobsters, but there are over 80 species found all over the world. It’s just that their diet doesn’t vary that much between the different species. So we only picked the most common ones. You won’t see a lobster sad about eating mollusks or other crustaceans.
Lobsters are omnivores which mean they eat both plants and animals. Often, their diet is determined by what food sources are available in their habitat. Their feeding behavior depends on what kind of lobster it is (adult or larva) as well as how old that individual animal is.
The different food that a lobster will consume can vary depending on the species, but they mostly eat small invertebrates such as crabs, clams and mussels. They also eat fish, worms and other sea creatures. Lobsters are not picky with their diet. Hungry animals (including humans) can’t afford to be.