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Lobster Institute

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Life of the American Lobster - Anatomy & Biology

Lobsters are classified in the phyllum Arthropoda (which also includes shrimp, crabs, barnacles, and insects.) The word Arthropoda comes from the Latin word “arthro”, meaning jointed, and the Greek word “poda”, foot. Hence, you will note the lobster has jointed appendages…and since lobsters are also decapods (“deca” being Greek for ten) it has ten legs (five pairs).

As invertebrate crustaceans, lobsters also have a hard outer shell or exoskeleton, and no inner skeleton or bones.

Nervous System
The lobsters nervous system is very primitive. In fact it is most similar to the nervous system of an insect. Neither insects nor lobsters have brains. Further, lobsters and other invertebrates have only approximately 100,000 neurons while humans have over 100 billion.

A lobster’s blood is usually greyish/clear in color. It is circulated by a heart located just behind the stomach, through a few large blood vessels. It picks up oxygen from the water through the gills, found in the lobsters’ thorax section.

Body Parts

Here are the basic parts of a lobster:

There are many informative Web sites dealing with lobster anatomy and biology that provide more detailed information. We have provided you with several links (in alphabetical order) that should give you most information you are looking for. We at the Lobster Institute are happy to answer any questions you may have as a follow up to your online research.

Lobster Biology Links

Image Description: Anatomy & Biology of a Lobster

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Contact Information

Lobster Institute
5722 deering hall room 114
Orono, ME 04469
Phone: (207) 581-2751 | Fax: (207) 581-2744E-mail:
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469
A Member of the University of Maine System