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Marine invertebrates

Lobsters

Lobster hiding in a creviceLobster hiding in a crevice Lobsters are crustaceans with long bodies covered in a hard shell, and five pairs of legs. There are two kinds: clawed lobsters and spiny lobsters. Clawed lobsters are generally found in cold waters. Three of their five pairs of legs have claws, with the first pair much larger than the others. Spiny lobsters do not have claws, but have long, strong antennae. They live in warm waters. Lobsters crawl on the seabed in shallow water, feeding on starfish, sea urchins, molluscs and crabs. They often hide in caves and crevices.


Shell and claws

European lobsterEuropean lobsterA lobster's shell, its exoskeleton, cannot grow. When the lobster grows too big for it, the old shell is shed (moulted) and a new one hardens in place. While its body is still soft, the lobster is vulnerable to attack from predators, so the lobster retreats to a hiding place. It can take a few months for its new shell to harden.
 
Lobsters use their claws to grab fish and shrimps and to dig for clams and urchins. Their larger claw is used for gripping and crushing prey. The other claw acts like a pair of scissors, to cut the prey into pieces.
 

Lobsters are long-lived animals, capable of living to between 50 and 140 years old. They grow continually throughout their lives.

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