#98: Lobster Growth Spurt- Night Vision Video!

This is cartoon from the "Maine Dictionary."
A sheddah is a lobster that recently molted.

A few weeks ago I told you that we were starting to train some juvenile lobsters in the Aquarium's lobster research lab. These lobsters were hatched at the Aquarium and it's been really interesting watching them grow. Lobsters don't grow gradually like we do, they only grow when they molt their shells. Their shells don't grow with their body, so in order to get larger they have to pull their bodies out of the old shell. They have a new shell underneath but it is very soft.

While they are soft they take water into their bodies to expand, and then harden up after that. All crustaceans molt. Have you ever eaten a soft-shelled crab? You're eating a crab that has recently gone through this molting process. Younger lobsters tend to molt more frequently than older ones. I think the coolest things about lobster molting is that they usually eat their old shell after they've shed it. Yum!

The other day Erin and I went up to do a training session with the lobsters and we caught one of my lobsters in the middle of molting. This video shows you the end of the molting process. We took it with "night vision" which is why the lobster is green with creepy glowing eyes. He is just about all the way out of his old shell.

With some encouragement and lamaze breathing techniques from Erin and me, it was quickly all the way out and well on its way to getting bigger. You can see its old shell in the lower right side of the screen. My little crustacean's growing up so fast.



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