G. Brown (George Brown) Goode.

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sion of rudimentary abdominal legs. In color they are almost exactly the same, only the orange-
colored markings are perhaps a little less intense.

" Third stage. In the third stage the larvae are about half an inch (12" 1111 to 13 mm ) in length,
and the integument is of a much firmer consisteny than in the earlier stages. The antennuItB are
still rudimentary, and considerably shorter than the rostrum, although the secondary flagellum
has increased in length and begins to show division into numerous segments. The antennae
retain the most marked feature of the early stages the large size of the scale but the tiagellum
is much longer than the scale and begins to show division into segments. . . . The external
inaxillipeds have begun to lose their pediform character. The anterior legs have increased
enormously iu size, and those of the second and third pairs have become truly chelate, while the
swimming exopodal branches of all the legs, as well as of the external maxillipeds, are relatively
much smaller and more unimportant. . . . The branchiae have developed rapidly and have
a single series of well-marked lobes along each side. The abdomen still has the spines charac-
teristic of the earlier stages, though all of them are much reduced iu size. The appendages of
the second to the fifth segments have become conspicuous, their lamellae have more than doubled
in length, and the margins of the terminal half are furnished with very short ciliated setae. The
appendages of the penultimate segment are well developed, although quite different from those in
the adult. The outer lamella wants wholly the transverse articulation near its extremity, and
both are margined, except the outer edge of the outer lamella, with long plumose hairs. The last
segment is relatively smaller and more quadrangular in outline, and the spines of the posterior
margin are much smaller. The only specimens procured in this stage were taken July 8 and 15.
In color they were less brilliant than iu the earlier stages, the orange markings being duller and
the whole animal slightly tinged with greenish-brown.

" In the next stage observed, the animal, about three fifths of an inch (W"" to 17 mm ) long, has
51 F


lost all its schizopodal characters, and has assumed the more important features of the adult
Lobster. It still retains, however, the free-swimming habit of the true larval forms, and was
frequently taken at the surface, both in the towing and hand net. Although resembling the
adult in many features, it differs so much that, were it an adult form, it would undoubtedly be
regarded as a distinct genus. The rostrum is bifid at tip, and armed with three or four teeth on
each side toward the base, and in some specimens with a minute additional spine, ou one or both
sides, close to the tip. The flagella of the antennulse extend scarcely beyond the tip of the
rostrum. The antennal scale is very much reduced in size, but is still conspicuous and furnished
with long plumose hairs along the inner margin, while the flagelluni is as long as the carapax.
The palpi of the mandibles have assumed the adult character, but the mandibles themselves
have not acquired the massive molar character which they have in the older animal. The other
mouth organs have nearly the adult form. The anterior legs, although quite large, are still
slender and just alike on the two sides, while all the ccphalo-thoracic legs retain a distinct process
in place of the swimming exopodi of the larva. The lateral angles of the second to the fifth
abdominal segments are prolonged downward into long spiuiform teeth; the appendages of these
segments are proportionately much longer than in the adult, and the margins of their terminal
lamelhe are furnished with very long plumose hairs. The lamellae of the appendages of the
penultimate segment are oval, and margined with long plumose hairs. The terminal segment is
nearly quadrangular, as wide at the extremity as at the base, the posterior margin arcuate, but
not extending beyond the prominent lateral angles, and furnished with hairs like those on the
margins of the lamellae of the appendages of the penultimate segment. In color they resemble
closely the adult, but the green color of the back is lighter, and the yellowish markings upon
the claws and body are proportionately larger.

" In this stage the young Lobsters swim very rapidly by means of the abdominal legs, and
dart backward, when disturbed, with the caudal appendages, frequently jumping out of the water
in this way like Shrimp, which their movements in the water much resemble. They appear to be
truly surface animals, as in the earlier stages, and were often seen swimming about among other
surface animals. They were frequently taken from the 8th to the 28th of July, and very likely
occur much later. From the dates at which the different forms were taken, it is probable that
they pass through all the stages here described in the course of a single season. How late the
young, after reaching the lobster-like form, retain their free-swimming habit was not ascer-

DEVELOPMENT OF THE EUROPEAN LOBSTER. According to Prof. G. O. Sars, of Norway,
the European Lobster agrees more or less closely with our own species in its spawning habits
and development, as the following extract from his report will show : l

" The propagating of the Lobster does not seem to be strictly confined to a certain season of
the year, as Lobsters with roe may be found nearly all the year round. But the rule seems to be
that the development of the young goes on during the summer months, from the beginning of
July until the early part of September. The more developed roe can easily be distinguished by its
lighter color, and partly, also, by the larger size of the eggs. A closer examination shows distinctly
in every egg two dark spots, which are the eyes of the embryo. The more distinct these spots
are the more developed is the embryo. When its development is complete the egg-shell bursts^
and the young Lobsters come out. These are in the beginning very helpless and sink to the
bottom, where within a very short time they undergo their first change of shell. Soon afterward
their swimming apparatus, which has so far been surrounded by a skin, begins to work, and the

1 Saltwater Fisheries of Norway. ChrUtiania, 1878.


young Lobsters soon gambol about in the water, and come up to the surface, where they reinaiu
during the entire time of their future development. . . .

"At tlif fifth change their metamorphosis is complete, and therewith ends their pelagian life.
The young Lobster has then entirely lost its swimming apparatus attached to the fore part of its
body, and in its stead the well-known fringes have grown at the lower side of the back part of the
body. These fringes are the only swimming apparatus which the grown Lobster possesses; in the
female Lobster they also serve in keep the roe in position. The Lobster now leaves the surface
and goes to the bottom, there to lead the same life us its parents. I am not positively certain how
long a time is required for the entire metamorphosis, but I am inclined to believe that it consumes
a couple of mouths.

" Even after the Lobster has reached its final development, it continues to change its skin
regularly at least once a year, and continues to do so as long as it grows. Only when it lias
ceased growing this change of skin does not occur so often. We shall, therefore, alwajs find
that very large Lobsters are more or less thickly covered with scales, which is not so frequent in
smaller specimens. . . .

" I did not succeed in obtaining Lobsters measuring from an inch to a finger's length, and so
far as I know none are contained in any museum. I consider it as certain, however, that the
Lobsters keep near the coast during this stage of their development. The reason why they cannot
be caught with the bottom scraper is partly their quick movements and partly the circumstance
that they hide among the algae on the bottom of the sea. The fact that they cannot be caught
in the common lobster- baskets is easily explained by these having such wide openings."

The following account of the reproduction of the European Lobster on the French coast is
by the late M. Coste, well remembered from his many interesting and extensive experiments in
several branches of fish culture. We have no means of determining how accurate these obser-
vations are, nor do we know whether they are the result of close study or conclusions derived
from the accounts of fishermen. We offer them here as affording many valuable suggestions
which may aid observers on our own coast. The seasons do not entirely correspond with ours:

"The Lobster commences breeding in the month of October, and the pairing takes place
sometimes as late as January. The couplings are rare at the opening of the season, but increase
in frequency to the end of December, and but few take place in January. The female emits the
oggs in about fifteen or twenty days after the pairing. When they have reached the stage
proper for their expulsion, the female applies the inner side of the tail against the plastron or
shell immediately over the stomach, in such a manner as to form a cup or cavity, in which are
to be found the openings of the oviduct, placed exactly behind the third pair of legs. Conse-
quently when the eggs escape they fall into this natural cup or cavity, as described above.
They are expelled in successive jets, to the number of twenty thousand in a single day.

"The Lobster emits at the same time, along with the eggs, a kind of adhesive liquid,
which binds the eggs one to the other, and attaches them all to the small feet under the tail,
where they remain in perfect shelter from all harm until they are sufficiently ripe for final

"In order to forward and force the regular incubation of the ova, the females have the
power to give them more or less light, as they consider requisite, by closing or opening the fold
of the tail. Sometimes the eggs are kept quite covered, and at other times they give them a
kind of washing, by moving the flanges of the tail in a peculiar manner. The incubation lasts
six months, during which lime the female takes such good care of the ova that it is rare to find,
an injured embryo or barren egg.


"It is during the mouths of March, April, and May that the actual birth of the young
Lobster takes place. The females, in order to expel the embryos, now ready to burst the shells
of the eggs, extend their tails, make light oscillations with the fan and its appendages, so as to
rid themselves gradually of the young Lobsters, which they succeed in doing in a few days. The
young Lobster, as soon as born, makes,away from its parent, rises to the surface of the water, and
leaves the shore for the deep water of the sea, where it passes the earliest days of its existence
in a vagabond state for thirty or forty days. During this time it undergoes four different
changes of shell, but on the fourth it loses its natatory organs, and is, therefore, no longer
able to swim on the surface of the water, but falls to the bottom, where it has to remain for the
future; according, however, to its increase of size it gains courage to approach the shore which
it had left at its birth. The number of enemies which assail the young embryos in the deep
sea is enormous; thousands of all kinds of fish, mollusks, and crustaceans are pursuing it con-
tinually to destroy it. The very changing of the shell causes great ravages at these periods,
as the young Lobsters have to undergo a crisis which appears to be a necessary condition to their
rapid growth. In fact, every young Lobster loses and remakes its crusty shell from eight to ten
times the first year, five to seven the second, three to four the third, and from two to three the
fourth year. However, after the fifth year, the change is only annual, for the reason that were
the changes more frequent the shell would not last long enough to protect the ova adhering
to the shell of the female during the six months' incubation. The Lobster increases rapidly
in size until the second year, and goes on increasing more gradually until the fifth, when it begins
to reproduce, and from this period the growth is still more gradual."

TRANSPLANTING OF THE YOUNG. For the benefit of those interested in the question of
breeding Lobsters by artificial means or care, we extract the following paragraph from a commu-
nication made by Capt. N. E. Atwood, of Provincetown, Massachusetts, to one of the New York
papers about fifteen years ago :

" When we take a cargo of Lobsters on board of a fishing- smack and throw them into the
well, many of the young are so far developed that when they strike the water the shell of the
egg is broken, and you can see hundreds of thousands of little Lobsters on or near the top of the
water in the well. After the cargo has been taken on board, the smack sails for New York, and
during the whole passage the young are being hatched and are passing out through the holes in
the bottom of the well. On the arrival of the smack at Fulton Slip the Lobsters are taken out
and put in cars. If any of the eggs are on the Lobsters, not hatched, they are soon eaten off by
eels, which go out and in the car as they please."

These observations of Captain Atwood are exceedingly interesting. It is probable that the
numerous young Lobsters hatched on the trips of the Cape Cod smacks through Long Island
Sound have contributed toward increasing the supply of Lobsters along that section of coast. It
has amounted to a transplanting of Lobsters from one prolific region to another much less prolific,
and the benefits thus inadvertently derived were possibly considerable. This traffic has long
ceased, however, and young Cape Cod Lobsters no longer find their way into the waters of Long
Island Sound.

FOOD. The Lobster appears to feed upon most any kind of animal matter within its reach, but
is said to prefer fresh fish as bait Feeding naturally, it probably does not discriminate closely as
to its food. It digs clams from the bottom and removes mussels from their places of attachment,
soinrt lines crushing the shells in its claws, and afterwards devouring out the soft parts. Flounders
and other bottom fish undoubtedly fall a prey to its appetite, and it has been seen to catch nimbly
at small fish swimming by. Very probably it feeds upon all kinds of invertebrate life which


arc palatable tt) its taste and live within easy reae.h of its claws. Sea-urchins even are described
as furnishing food for it on the Nova Scotia coast. Flounders, sculpius, herring, menhaden, codfish
heads, haddock, and blnetish are commonly used as bait in tbe lobster-pots. An experienced
observer who has watched their habits under peculiarly favorable circumstances, on the coast of
Maine, states that, in devouring clams, he has never seen them crush the shell, but as it were
they absorb the meat from between the valves, leaving the latter intact. He has never seen them
catch living fish, bur could not positively affirm that they did not do so at times.

CASTING A CLAM .As is well known, Lobsters have the power of dropping or "shooting"
one or both claws, which may be more or less completely replaced by a new growth. Many
incentives are quoted for this curious procedure, the principal ones being handling, especially
in cold weather, entanglement of the claws, and flight. Fright, or a sudden impulse to free them-
selves from impending danger or pain, is probably the main cause, however it may be produced.
The break does not occur between any of the movable joints, but always at one particular point,
near the upper end of the second or double joint, where it is smallest and encircled by a distinct
groove. The claw cannot be broken off at this or any other place by main force without injury to
the Lobster, causing it to bleed to death.

Occasionally in mild weather, but much more frequently in cold weather, Lobsters will shoot
their claws if handled by them out of water. This also frequently occurs when Lobsters become
entangled by their claws in the fishermen's nets. As they are drawn above the water, they will
often, without a moment's warning, slide back into their native element, leaving their disjointed
member behind. Loud noises, such as thunder, the firing of cannons, etc., are said to incite
Lobsters to shoot their claws, and also the presence of very impure or fresh waters; bnt to what
extent this happens we cannot say. When a claw becomes injured or broken, or perhaps crushed
by an antagonist of the same species, so as to render it useless or painful, it is often dispensed
with, in order that a new one may take its place. This process of dropping an old and growing a
new claw is certainly a wise provision of nature, for this appendage is much subject to injury, and
nothing more deplorable can be imagined than a Lobster with mutilated claws.

The practice of shooting a claw, even under natural conditions, seems at times to be a very
common one. Out of one hundred specimens, averaging about eight or nine inches long, collected
for natural history purposes in Narragansett Bay, in 1880, fully twenty-five per cent, had lost a
claw each, and a few both claws. From each stump, iu all these specimens, projected a short soft
claw, still very imperfect in structure, and measuring from one-fourth of an inch to about an inch
in length. In some of the specimens, one or more of the hinder legs were being reproduced in
the same way. Tbe fishermen state that similar specimens are also sometimes common in their
catch. The breaking off of a claw, according to observers, is accomplished so quietly that the
operation is scarcely perceptible. If a claw of a Lobster be seized by the hands while he is in
the water, and he casts it, no unusual sensation is felt, but the claw is simply left behind, and the
former owner darts quickly off. Soon after the break occurs, it is covered with a crust of coagu-
lated blood, which prevents further bleeding until a skin has formed, from the center of which the
new claw begins to grow. How long a time is required for the new claw to attain a size proper
tioned to that of the Lobster, if it ever reaches that size, is not known. However, the incipient
claw remains soft and continues to grow probably until the first molt, after which its outer layer
of skin is supposed to harden like that of the remainder of the Lobster. Specimens are
frequently taken with hardened claws of regular shape, but of different sizes below the normal
one, rather indicating that at least several moltings must take place before the claw can reach its
full size.


The following incident, furnished by a correspondent, forcibly illustrates the process of
shooting a claw and points a moral. A party who had purchased a number of Lobsters as food
thought to keep them fresh overnight by hanging them over the side of his vessel, by means of
cords tied to the claws. In the morning, when he went to examine his live stock, he found
nothing but the claws remaining fast to the cords, the Lobsters having dropped back into
their former abode.

DEFORMITIES AND DISEASES. Lobsters are subject to many deformities or malformations,
which generally occur upon the claws, and appear to originate from several causes. A broken
claw is sometimes mended in an irregular manner, and there are frequent instances of what are
termed double claws, resulting from the formation of a second projection or thumb upon either the
larger or smaller branch of the claw, and which is more or less perfect in shape but immovable.
Rarely the two branches of the claw are not regularly set with reference to one another, and
instead of working in the same plane, and meeting edge to edge, they pass one another like the
blades of a pair of scissors. The thumb or finger of one of the claws occasionally takes on an
unusual or fantastic shape, or becomes greatly broadened and thickened, but the variations to
which the claws are subject are too numerous to warrant description here. Many of them have
been figured and discussed by Mr. Walter Faxon in the " Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative
Zoology " for March, 1881. They probably arise in part from injuries received while in the soft
state, but in great measure they have not been accounted for.

During the past winter, there was sent to the National Museum, from the coast of Nova
Scotia, the carapax of a medium-sized Lobster, with two small round openings covered with
membranes, placed symmetrically one on each side of the median line, a short distance back of
the rostrum. By the person who sent the specimen, and who saw the Lobster when alive, these
membranes were described as projecting slightly from the surface, and taking on the appearance
of a second pair of eyes. Unusual but symmetrical markings also occur upon the dorsal side of
the carapax. The specimen was so thoroughly cleaned and dried, however, before we received
it nothing remaining but the shell that it is now impossible to form a correct idea as to the
real import of these strange features.

Diseased Lobsters are not commonly met with. Individuals are occasionally found in a very
emaciated condition, and some with soft spots like sores upon the body ; but such cases are rare.
Specimens are sometimes taken with small portions of the body gone, or with deep scars and dents
upon the surface, the results of injury. It is usually the older individuals that are marked in
this way.

PAH ASITES. Lobsters do not appear to be much troubled with external parasites or messmates.
Barnacles often grow upon the back and claws, and mussels sometimes attach themselves to the
same places. The number of Barnacles is frequently so great and they cover so large a portion of
the exterior surface as to seriously impede the movements of the Lobster, but this seldom happens.
Fish-lice are mentioned by the fishermen as occasionally occurring on the Lobsters, but as we
have never seen any specimens of such it is impossible to determine what they may be, if they
are parasites at all.

ENEMIES. All the larger bottom-feeding fish probably feed upon the Lobster, and the sur-
face fish also greedily devour the young. Soft-shell Lobsters sufl'er most in this way, and are
frequently found in the stomachs of cod taken by the fishermen. Sharks, dogfish, rays, tautog, and
striped bass are also mentioned as being especially fond of Lobsters, but this list could undoubt-
edly be greatly extended without much trouble. Water-birds sometimes feed upon the smaller
individuals in shallow water. During the earlier period of their existence, while they are still


free swimmers aud very small, living mostly at the surface of the water, by far the greatest
mortality must occur. At this time they are eaten in vast quantities along with other surface
animals by the more active flsh and invertebrates, and probably but a comparatively small pro-
portion of those hatched from the egg ever survive this stage. We may, however, be justified in
asMTting that the greatest enemy of the Lobster is man.

Mr. Frank Buckland, in treating of the enemies of the European Lobster, says that "among
the animate enemies the principal one, I believe, is the cod. A witness at Burghead stated that
'codlisli are great enemies to Lobsters; he hardly ever opens a cod without finding young Lobsters
in the stomach; this is particularly in February and March; has seen cod throwing up Lobsters
on the deck of a vessel, as many as five or six Lobsters in one cod. These Lobsters would be
three or four inches in length, or even smaller. Cod eat Lobsters all the season. In the spring,
and in January, February, and March, there are many cod about.' Skates and congers, codling
and haddock, also eat Crabs and Lobsters."

DESTRUCTION BY STORMS. Mr. F. H. Baker, in a recent paper on American Lobsters, refers
to their being occasionally destroyed in great numbers in shallow water by heavy storms. He
cites as an instance the great Saxby storm on the coast of Nova Scotia, after which the dead
Lobsters were piled up in immense numbers, in several places, "lining the shores like windrows
of hay on a field in midsummer, the stench from which was overpowering as the Lobsters decayed
in the sun."

distribution and habits of the European Lobster, Homarus vulgarig, abstracted from a report

Online LibraryG. Brown (George Brown) GoodeThe fisheries and fishery industries of the United States (Volume 1:1) → online text (page 133 of 146)