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Discover the largest lobster ever!

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Colorful tropical rock lobster underwater. They know other lobster individuals, remember past acquaintances, and have elaborate courtship rituals. Researchers say their intelligence rivals that of octopuses – long considered the world's smartest invertebrates.

© VLADJ55/Shutterstock.com

Imagine a candlelit dinner with a fancy white tablecloth. Is there any lobster on the table? Lobsters are very interesting and very tasty animals! They are an important commercial product and an important contributor to the global ecosystem. Their muscular tails and large pincers make them easily recognizable in the wild and on dinner menus. This article will explore the lobster's place in the animal kingdom and will explore all the details of the largest lobster ever caught!

What is a lobster?

Lobsters have ten legs, including two huge front claws.

© NOAA – Public Domain

To understand the relative size of the largest lobsters ever caught, let's first look at the typical characteristics of a lobster. They are crustaceans, a subgroup of arthropods. Lobsters are the heaviest arthropods in the world! Other crustaceans include crabs, shrimp, krill, psyllids, crayfish and barnacles. Most lobsters weigh up to 15 pounds and are 9.8-19.7 inches long. They inhabit all oceans around the world, living alone in rocky crevices or caves. Lobsters typically live between 40 and 50 years, but accurately determining the age of wild lobsters can be difficult. Interestingly, the blood of lobsters is blue due to the copper-containing hemocyanin in the blood.

Lobsters are omnivores with a wide range of food habits. They usually eat other crustaceans, worms, molluscs, fish and some plants. Cannibalism has been observed in captivity and in the wild, but is rare. Misconceptions about cannibalism can be caused by examining the stomach contents of lobsters, which are common for lobsters to eat the skin they shed after molting. Lobsters are prey for humans, various large fish, other crustaceans, and eels. For a full description of all lobsters, read here.

Where can I catch lobsters?

major lobster catches
Maine lobsters from a fishing boat are sorted into boxes for sale.


Lobsters, including the largest ever caught, are commonly fished in North America, especially in the North Atlantic. In Maine, the lobster catch is worth $450 million! Nova Scotia, Canada, calls itself the lobster capital of the world and is home to the largest lobster ever caught. California spiny lobsters are common along the Pacific coast and are popular with recreational fishermen. In North America, the most common way to catch lobsters is with a baited one-way trap called a lobster pot with color-coded buoys.

Different Atlantic lobster species also thrive in the waters of the United Kingdom, Norway, other European countries and North Africa. A number of lobster species that are less visible in global trade also exist off the coasts of Australia and New Zealand.

Lobster fishing for both amateur and commercial purposes can be done using a number of different techniques. In addition to lobster pots, lobster fishing includes trawling, gillnetting, hand fishing and spearfishing. The use of trawls and gillnets is severely restricted and in many countries is used only for commercial purposes. Many countries also impose maximum limits on the number of lobsters caught recreationally.

What is the largest lobster ever?

Lobster Fishing Nova Scotia
Lobster cages in Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia.

©Damian Lugowski/Shutterstock.com

The largest lobster ever recorded weighed 44 lbs 6 oz! This lobster was an amazing lobster caught in Nova Scotia, Canada in 1977. According to the Maine Department of Marine Resources, this giant crustacean is about 100 years old! Lobsters continue to grow throughout their lives, so longer-lived lobsters have the potential to grow well above average. The record-keeping Nova Scotia lobster belongs to the American lobster, also known as American lobster. Despite its size and huge amount of meat, the largest lobster has never been eaten.

5 of the largest lobsters ever

Lobsters can get so big in part because they never stop growing. Humans produce an enzyme called telomerase early in life that aids in growth. However, lobsters never stop producing this enzyme. That means the largest lobster ever recorded was also the oldest.

If lobsters never stop growing, why haven't bigger lobsters been found? In short, as lobsters age, the energy required to molt becomes too great and they stop molting. As their exoskeletons age rapidly, lobsters become susceptible to infection, the scar tissue that fuses their shells to their bodies. This combination causes most lobsters to die before reaching truly gigantic sizes.

However, lobsters do exist in large numbers. Let's take a look at five of the largest lobsters that ever lived.

  • 22 pounds: In 2017, a lobster that had been raised at a Long Island clam bar for 20 years was released into the wild. The media said the lobster was 132 years old, but this age is difficult to verify.
  • 23 pounds: The lobster that became the main attraction at Jordan Lobster Farm on Long Island.
  • 27 pounds: A 27-pound lobster was caught in Maine in 2012, setting a state record. The lobster is 40 inches long and has huge claws. It was sent back to sea.
  • 37.4 pounds : The largest lobster caught in Massachusetts weighed 37.4 pounds. The lobster, named Big George, was caught off Cape Cod.
  • 44 pounds: World record for largest lobster caught in Nova Scotia in 1977.

How is the lobster today?

animals of maine
A lobster sits on a lobster pan.

© WoodysPhotos/Shutterstock.com

Increasingly unsustainable fishing practices pose a significant threat to global lobster populations. However, the imposition of population limits on lobster catches worldwide offers hope for generational population growth. The most important commercial lobster species are the American lobster ( Homarus americanus ) and the European lobster ( Homarus gammarus ). The conservation status of both species is of least concern.

Lobsters have also been a bone of contention over ethical methods of animal slaughter. Historically, it was commonplace to cook lobsters alive prior to preparation. The practice has been illegal in some countries, including Switzerland, since 2018, and the lobsters must be killed or rendered unconscious immediately before being prepared. Devices exist for electroshocking and stunning lobsters before killing them, which is a more humane method. Inserting a metal rod into an animal's brain is also a widely condemned inhumane practice. Lobster brains are complex, with three ganglia. Injuring the frontal ganglion with the medulla does not kill the lobster, it just cripples it. In the UK, there are almost no laws protecting invertebrates. Parliament is reviewing the Animal Welfare (Sentient) Bill 2021, so it may protect lobsters from cruel preparation methods if scientists prove they are sentient.

What to eat lobster?

In addition to humans, who love lobsters, many carnivores prefer to include these super-large arthropods on the menu.

Atlantic cod falls right into this select category. These large fish, which can weigh more than 210 pounds, often remove the lobster's shell and then eat the lobster's meat.

Seals also eat lobsters, although some experts claim that gray seals prefer to eat these crustaceans rather than eat them.

Even other crustaceans are not resigned to converting one of the world's most popular seafoods into calories: blue, king and snow crabs are known to often feed on lobsters.

Other forms of marine life that pose a threat to lobster survival include eels, flounder, rock gunners and cuckoos.


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about the author

jesse elop

Jesse Elop is passionate about wildlife and enjoys learning about animal biology and conservation. His favorite animals – besides his puppy Rosie – are zebras, mandrills and bonobos. Jesse's background in biology and anthropology has provided him with many interesting facts that may appear in some of his articles!

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