Marine Science ExpertM.S., Resource Administration and Management, College of New HampshireB.S., Natural Reresources, Cornell University
Jennifer Kennedy, M.S., is an eco-friendly educator specializing in marine life. She serves as the executive director of the Blue Ocean Society for Maritime Conservation.

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Want to know the sex of a lobster you have actually captured or are about to eat? Here are several methods to tell:

Lobster Anatomy

Lobsters have actually feathery appenderas called swimmerets, or pleopods, underneath their tails. These swimmerets aid a lobster swim and are also wright here a female lobster (periodically called a hen) carries her eggs. Swimmerets additionally have the right to clue you in to the sex of a lobster. The initially pair of swimmerets (the pair closest to the head) simply behind the walking legs point up towards the head. They are thin, feathery, and soft on a female however hard and bony on a male.

Also, the female has a rectangular shield between her second pair of walking legs, which she uses to save sperm after mating via a male. This is wbelow the male inserts those tough swimmerets during mating, releasing sperm that the female stores. When it's time to release her eggs, they flow previous the sperm and also are fertilized. The female stores these eggs under her abdoguys (tail) for 10 to 11 months. 

Due to the fact that they bring eggs, females tfinish to have a more comprehensive tail than males. Females moving fertilized eggs aren't typically harvested, but inside a female lobster you can discover unfertilized eggs, or roe. They are green once fresh and bappropriate red after the lobster is cooked. (They are likewise dubbed "coral" bereason of the color.) These deserve to be consumed. Females can bring up to 80,000 eggs at one time. 

Courting Ritual

In spite of their ferocious appearance, lobsters have actually a facility courtship routine that is often defined as "touching." Males and also females mate after the female molts. The males live in caves or dens, and also as her molting time draws near, a female visits the dens and also wafts a pheromone toward the male using her urine, which is released from openings near her antennae. The male energetically beats his swimmerets.

Over a couple of days, the female approaches the den and also checks out the male. They ultimately initiate a mock "boxing match" and also the female enters the den. Throughout molting the female is vulnerable—she is exceptionally soft and also takes at least half an hour to be able to stand—so the male protects her. At this suggest the male rolls the female over onto her ago and transfers the sperm packet, or spermatophore, to the female's seminal receptacle. The female holds her eggs until she is ready to fertilize them. 

Spiny Lobster Sexing

Spiny lobsters (rock lobsters) are generally offered as tails, rather than live, so you can not acquire a opportunity to try out your lobster sexing abilities at a industry that sells spiny lobsters. However, these lobsters also can be sexed making use of the swimmerets on the underside of their tails. 

In females, the swimmerets on one side might overlap those on the other. You could additionally view a dark patch, wright here the spermatophore is situated at the base of her last pair of walking legs. They can also have actually claw-shaped pincers at the finish of their fifth pair of walking legs that assist organize the eggs. Roe mmight be uncovered inside whole spiny lobsters.

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Kennedy, Jennifer. "How to Distinguish Male Lobsters From Females.", Aug. 26, 2020,, Jennifer. (2020, August 26). How to Distinguish Male Lobsters From Females. Retrieved from, Jennifer. "How to Distinguish Male Lobsters From Females." (accessed May 3, 2022).

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