14 Mar 2007

The Highland Lobster, Homarus Hebridum

Dear Blue Lobster:

My family are Scotch-Irish and I am a huge crayfish fanatic. Since it's almost St. Patrick's Day, I was hoping you could tell me about the subspecies of the European Lobster that lives near northern Great Britain.

Brian MacGliomach

Dear Gentle Sir:

The lobsters of northern Britain are currently in taxonomic flux.

They differ from other populations of European lobsters by being somewhat larger and greener. It is thought that the cooler waters of the North Sea and North Channel have made the populations there hardier. There is debate as to whether they should be classified as a species (Homarus hebridum) or as a subspecies of the European lobster.

These lobsters also have incredibly long life-spans. One specimen captured was 2 meters long and weighed 80 kilograms and is thought to have been over 350 years old. Most European lobsters live about 50 years at most.

Behaviorally, the populations around northern Britain exhibit unique characteristics. During the mating season in the Spring, the males of each population gather at a certain point on the sea floor. No one yet understands how they know where to navigate to, as the location changes each year. There they fight one another until only one remain.

When the corpses are tallied and only one remains, the final lobster has such a powerful life force that it then proceeds to mate with all of the females in the region for days on end. At the end of this sexual spree it buggers off to live a peaceful life, dying alone but knowing that millions of its progeny will soon flood the water column as plankton.

Molecular research continues in hopes of one day decoding the secret of this population's unique characteristics.

No comments:

Post a Comment