Long Live the Lobsters!

The world is full of many strange and unusual news stories that occur every day. I recently came across a fascinating story of a 70+ year old lobster that is being set free from a New York seafood restaurant.

Apparently, a reporter, writing a blog review of the restaurant, mentioned the 70+ year old crustacean in his blog. In his post, he was reflecting on the strange idea of eating an animal that predated the Second World War. Readers of his article started a big movement to have the lobster, whom they dubbed “Larry”, freed. So, naturally, the restaurant gave in to the clientele and is setting the lobster free into the ocean.
As funny as the story sounds, I understand that there are a number of lobster fishermen who are excited about the prospect of the 11-pound lobster being released back in the wild. They are hoping it will breed with other lobsters and help produce populations of larger lobsters. What a strange way of looking at the world…
Still, lobsters are fascinating creatures. While my favorite shelled sea creature remains the unique Horseshoe Crab, I find lobsters to be truly remarkable and many things about lobsters still mystify scientists. For example, there have been reports of thousands of spiny lobsters suddenly forming together into large columns and migrating en masse. Scientists are still baffled by this behavior.
There are other fascinating facts about lobsters. Did you know that a lobster’s teeth are in its stomach? Did you know that Lobsters have blue blood because it contains high amounts of copper?
Perhaps the most fascinating piece of information that I have ever encountered on lobsters is the scientific suggestion that lobsters may have negligible senescence. “Negligible Senescence” is a trait found among some ocean animals that basically means that the animals show no ill effects of aging when they are in their natural habitat. Essentially, most animals, humans included, reach a certain age and then their cells begin failing to reproduce as effectively. The DNA starts showing damage; the immune system grows weaker; and, the body suffers other biological symptoms which eventually lead to death by old age. Animals with negligible senescence do not suffer these symptoms. No matter how old they are their bodies do not experience any of the negative effects of aging, in fact, some animals have negative senescence (meaning that their body gets healthier the older they get). Of course, these animals are not immortal since they can die of injury, environmental problems, and sickness just like any other creature. However, the animals will not die of old age and can live to an undetermined age if no outside forces causes them to die.
There are a number of these creatures; most of them are reptiles or fish, such as the Aldabra Tortoise and the Rougheye Rockfish. Both of these animals have been documented to live over 200 years! No lobster has ever been documented to live over 100 years but their life spans seem to be shortened by captivity. Considering that they grow bigger as they get older (and the 70-year old lobster is about 2 1/2 feet long) and, considering that when settlers first came to America they reported lobsters in excess of 6-7 feet long, then there is reason to believe, in light of those facts, that prior to all the hunting, lobsters did occasionally live for periods above 200 years.
Of course, there are tons of resources for learning about lobsters and other marine animals. As I was typing up some of the information in this post, I was looking at the book “Marine Fish & Sea Creatures”. I recommend for anyone who finds marine life and lobsters as interesting as I do, to take a look at some books and at the internet to learn more about them!
Does anyone else know some unique facts about lobsters or other sea creatures?