Language English The Gulf of St. Lawrence Photo: Claude Lafond Photo: Biodôme OngletsDescriptionDistinguishing features The American lobster has 10 legs, the first two ending in enormous claws. The left claw is usually bigger and is used for crushing food, while the right one is used for tearing. The 2nd and 3rd pairs of legs also end in small claws. The abdomen ends in a telson and four broad fan-shaped uropod The usual colour of the lobster is a greenish brown. This colour results from the rearrangement of the red pigment of the lobster skin (astaxanthin) by the shell proteins. Once in the shell astaxanthin becomes blue, then yellow. The three colors form three distinct layers, but on the outside these three colors combine to give a brownish coloured lobster. There are sometimes blue lobsters. This special color is due to a rare mutation (one lobster out of 3 million) that causes an overabundance of the protein responsible for the recombination of astaxanthin into a blue pigment (the crustacyanine). A similar phenomenona can explain the even rarer case of the yellow lobsters (one lobster out of 5 million). When cooked, the lobster proteins are degraded and astaxanthin then expressed freely its red color. Lobster then turns from brown (or blue/yellow) to red. Reproduction The female usually produces one batch of eggs every two years, with up to 40,000 eggs at a time. The female carries the eggs under her abdomen for 10 to 11 months. When the larvae (zoea or mysis) hatch, they spend 3 to 6 weeks in a free-swimming or planktonic phase. Diet Lobsters are scavengers, but will eat any animal they can catch. Predators Their enemies, particularly when young and small, are Atlantic wolffish, larger lobsters and crabs, and humans. Habitat Lobsters live on rocky bottoms, sometimes very close to shore, but also further out. The largest and oldest specimens live in very deep water. Ecology, behaviour Lobsters and crabs are the \garbage collectors\ of the marine portion of the St. Lawrence, as the first link in the chain of animals that keep the sea bottom clean of decomposing material. Lobsters are primarily nocturnal. French nameHomard d'Amérique Scientific nameHomarus americanusPhylumArthropodaClassCrustaceaOrderDecapodaFamilyNephropidaeSizeRecord length: over 1 mWeightMaximum: 20 kgLife span50 years or moreStatusLeast concern (UICN). Common species, but catch is highly regulated.