There are hundreds of species of lobster on the Earth. While many live in the salty water of the ocean, some live in brackish or fresh water. Lobsters are benthic, or bottom-dwelling, crustaceans with ten legs, poor eyesight, but strong senses of taste and smell. To feed, they consume mostly fish and mollusks but will also eat plant life or even other lobsters.
The kinds of lobster that are most commonly eaten by humans are the American and European clawed lobsters Homarus americanus and Homarus gammarus. These two species live in the cold water near the northern Atlantic Ocean. The few species that are actually caught commercially are some of the most harvested sea creatures and create a multi-billion dollar industry. More than 200,000 tons of lobster is caught globally in a year.
In the 1600's and 1700's in northeast America, lobsters were so plentiful that they were ofted used as a fertilizer. As the transportation system improved in the U.S., fresh lobster was spread to faraway cities and it gained a reputation as a delicacy.
To reproduce, female lobsters release larvae into the water that have been carried in their abdomen as eggs for as long as a year. The larvae eventually settle on the ocean floor and spend the rest of their lives there. They live in self-dug burrows, rocky crevices, or hidden in sea grasses. In order to grow, lobsters must shed their shells. Some species of lobster can live up to 50 years old, throughout which they continually grow.