Cruel new fact of crustacean life: lobster cannibalism


LITTLETON, New Hampshire (Reuters) – Researchers studying Maine‘s lobster population, booming in recent years amid warming waters and disappearing predators, have detected something never before seen in the wild: lobster cannibalism.

It has long been known that lobsters will attack and eat each other if confined together in a small space — hence the banding of claws on lobsters in supermarket tanks.

That aggressive behaviour had not been thought to occur in the wild, but with the increasing density of the crustaceans in the Gulf of Maine it seems big lobsters are feasting on little lobsters once the sun goes down.

“We’ve got the lobsters feeding back on themselves just because they’re so abundant,” said Richard Wahle, a marine sciences professor at the University of Maine, who is supervising the research. “It’s never been observed just out in the open like this,” he said.

Maine’s lobster catch rose to a record 104 million pounds (45 million kilograms) last year, compared with 23 million pounds in 1981. The 2012 catch is expected to shatter that record as overfishing and other factors have led to the collapse of populations of cod, halibut and other groundfish that feed on lobsters.

Warming waters in the Gulf of Maine due to climate change have also bolstered the population even as the same phenomenon has led to more disease and lower populations in Long Island Sound and southern New England, Wahle said.

A graduate student working with Wahle, Noah Oppenheim, has been documenting the phenomenon using a special infrared camera that allows him to observe a juvenile lobster tethered with a rope to a spot on the ocean floor.

During the daytime, it is fish that typically feed on the tethered juvenile lobsters, but at night the researchers were stunned to see that most of the attacks on the small lobsters were by their larger brethren.

“The population of lobsters in Maine has skyrocketed and there have been some interesting changes in abundance, demographics and, we believe, behaviour,” Oppenheim said. “Eight out of nine times at night, predation is due to cannibalism.”

Wahle said Canadian researchers studying the contents of lobsters’ stomachs had also recently found evidence of cannibalism in the wild.

“There are these cases where encounters with each other are becoming so frequent, they result in more than just a bit of competition but in a predator-prey interaction,” Wahle said.

Falling lobster prices due to this year’s abundant catch have led to tensions between Canadian and U.S. lobstermen. In August, New Brunswick lobstermen picketed processing plants and temporarily blocked shipments of inexpensive Maine lobster from being brought to the Maritime provinces in Canada for processing.

(Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Christopher Wilson)

via Cruel new fact of crustacean life: lobster cannibalism – Yahoo! News UK.

via Cruel new fact of crustacean life: lobster cannibalism – Yahoo! News UK.

About Old Boy

Love the past and the future but live in the present

Posted on December 4, 2012, in buisiness, environment, USA and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

90 +Wines in dublin

With a critical score of 90 points+

MovieBabble

The Casual Way to Discuss Movies

OLD HOLLYWOOD IN COLOR

...because it was never black & white

LEANNE COLE

Trying to live a creative life

CURNBLOG

Movies, thoughts, thoughts about movies.

FilmBunker

Saving you from one cinematic disaster at a time.

From 1 Blogger 2 Another

Sharing Great Blog Posts

Wonders in the Dark

Cinema, music, opera, books, television, theater

Just Reviews

Just another WordPress.com site

Mark David Welsh

Feeding Soda Pop to the Thirsty Pigs since 2013

conradbrunstrom

Things I never thunk before.

News from the San Diego Becks

The life and times of Erik, Veronica and Thomas

The Silent Film Quarterly

The Only Magazine Dedicated To Silent Cinema

Leaden Circles

First a warning, musical; then the hour, irrevocable. The leaden circles dissolved in the air.

My Archives

because the internet is not forever

CineSocialUK

Up to the minute, fair, balanced, informed film reviews.

PUZZLED PAGAN PRESENTS

A Shrine to Pop Culture Obsessiveness. With Lots of Spoilers

Thrilling Days of Yesteryear

“Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be” – Peter DeVries

thedullwoodexperiment

Viewing movies in a different light

Twenty Four Frames

Notes on Film by John Greco

Suzanne's Mom's Blog

Arts, Nature, Good Works, Luna & Stella Lockets & Birthstones

It Doesn't Have To Be Right...

... it just has to sound plausible

Rich Green Photography

The life of a photographer who likes to shoot just about anything.

Jordan and Eddie (The Movie Guys)

Australian movie blog - like Margaret and David, just a little younger

Octopus Films

A place for new perspectives on films, TV, media and entertainment.

scifist 2.0

A sci-fi movie history in reviews

The Reviewer's Corner

The Sometimes Serious Corner of the Internet for Anime, Manga, and Comic related things

First Impressions

Notes on Films and Culture

1,001 Movies Reviewed Before You Die

Where I Review One of the 1,001 Movies You Should Watch Before you Die Every Day

Movies Galore of Milwaukee

Movie Galore takes a look at Silent films on up to current in development projects and gives their own opinion on what really does happen in film!

The Catwing Has Landed

A Writer's Blog About Life and Random Things

Gabriel Diego Valdez

Movies and how they change you.

The Horror Incorporated Project

Lurking among the corpses are the body snatchers....plotting their next venture into the graveyard....the blood in your veins will run cold, your spine tingle, as you look into the terror of death in tonight's feature....come along with me into the chamber of horrors, for an excursion through.... Horror Incorporated!

Relatos desde mi ventana

Sentimientos, emociones y reflexiones

Teri again

Finding Me; A site about my life before and after a divorce

unveiled rhythms

Life In Verses

Gareth Roberts

Unorthodox Marketing & Strategy

leeg schrift

Taalarmen

100 Films in a Year

12 months. 100 films. Hopefully.

Morcan Books & Films

The site for a new perspective on books and films

%d bloggers like this: