3 April 2011

Fresh, live lobsters on sale at our local fishmonger

Figure 1:  A couple of fresh lobsters on sale at our local fishmonger.

The lobsters in the above photograph were so fresh that they were actually alive.  The fishmonger took great delight in trying to show me just how fresh they were by picking one of them up and thrusting it into my face so that I could take a closer look.  They are incredible almost pre-historic looking creatures and a little frightening close-up especially when they are alive.

Here is an interesting extract about lobsters from the Wikipedia website. "Lobsters are invertebrates, with a hard protective exoskeleton.  Like most arthropods, lobsters must molt in order to grow, which leaves them vulnerable.  During the molting process, several species change color. Lobsters have 10 walking legs; the front three pairs bear claws, the first of which are larger than the others.  Although, like most other arthropods, lobsters are largely bilaterally symmetrical, they often possess unequal, specialized claws, like the king crab. 

Recent research suggests that lobsters may not slow down, weaken, or lose fertility with age. In fact, older lobsters are more fertile than younger lobsters. This longevity may be due to telomerase, an enzyme that repairs DNA sequences of the form "TTAGGG". This sequence is often referred to as the telomeres of the DNA.  It has been argued that lobsters may exhibit negligible senescence and some scientists have claimed that they could effectively live indefinitely, barring injury, disease, capture, etc.; however, this claim is highly speculative. Their undoubted longevity allows them to reach impressive sizes. According to the Guinness World Records, the largest lobster was caught in Nova Scotia, Canada, and weighed 20.15 kilograms (44.4 lb). 

Animal welfare issues
Further information: Pain in crustaceans

The most common way of killing a lobster is by placing it, live, in boiling water, or by splitting: severing the body in half, lengthwise. Lobsters may also be killed or rendered insensate immediately before boiling through a stab into the brain, in the belief that this will stop suffering. However, a lobster's brain operates from not one but several ganglia and disabling only the frontal ganglion does not usually result in death or unconsciousness.  The boiling method is illegal in some places, such as in Reggio Emilia, Italy, where offenders face fines of up to €495."
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