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American Lobster

American Lobster hiding within a rocky crevice
American Lobsters are a common resident
of New York's rocky coasts.
~Photo courtesy of
NYSDEC:Christopher Laporta

Common Names: Lobster, Clawed Lobster, True Lobster, American Lobster, Maine Lobster, Northern Lobster
Scientific Name: Homarus americanus

Fun Facts

  • Like all arthropods (such as insects or crabs), lobsters must molt, or shed their rigid outer shell in order to grow larger. After molting, the new shell is soft, leaving the lobster vulnerable to predators.
  • Live lobsters are not red like you see in a restaurant or grocery store. Most are either olive-green or greenish-brown, with some having orange, reddish, dark green or black speckles and bluish colors in the joints of their appendages. Completely blue lobsters have also been found.
  • According to the Guinness World Records, the largest lobster was caught in Nova Scotia, Canada and weighed 44.4 pounds.

Where Are They Found?

They range from Labrador to North Carolina, and can be found eating, breeding and roaming the ocean floor of the northwest Atlantic Ocean (northeast coast). Lobsters prefer to make their homes in rocky areas where they can hide in the crevices from predators and capture wandering prey.

What Do They Eat?

The diet of a lobster includes crabs, mussels, clams, starfish, sea urchins, various marine worms and other lobsters. Lobsters are not fussy eaters, preferring fresh food, yet eating anything that they can get their claws on, even if it's dead. Lobsters eat mostly animals, but if these resources are scarce, as they are sometimes in the spring, a lobster might eat plants, or even sponges to survive.

What Eats Lobsters?

a bushel of lobsters
The American Lobster is
intensely fished along the northeast
Atlantic coast of Canada and the
U.S. (particulary in Maine)
reaching as far south as New York.
~Photo courtesy of Joe Kunkel.

Predators include fish like flounder and cod, eels, crabs, and seals; although, the biggest predator of the American lobster is man! Lobsters are considered a food delicacy around the world. In Japan and much of Europe, they are extremely expensive; in North America, much less so.

Harvesting Lobsters in New York

You must have a recreational or commercial lobster permit to legally take and harvest lobsters in New York State. For more information, contact the Division of Marine Resources at 631-444-0470.

  • Contact for this Page
  • Division of Marine Resources
    205 North Belle Mead Road, Suite 1
    East Setauket, New York 11733
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  • Page applies to NYS Marine Costal District