Lobsters are ten-legged crustaceans closely related to shrimp and crabs. They are benthic, or bottom-dwelling, and are found in all of the world’s ocean, as well as brackish environments and freshwater.
They have poor eyesight but highly developed senses of taste and smell, feeding primarily on fish and mollusks. They’ll also consume algae and other plant life as well as other lobsters. There are hundreds of different kinds of lobsters but only a few are caught commercially. Those few species, however, are some of the most heavily harvested creatures in the sea, and generate a multi-billion dollar industry.
The lobsters that most people know from their dinner plates are the American and European clawed lobsters Homarus americanus and Homarus gammarus. These cold water species live on either sides of the northern Atlantic Ocean. There are also tropical lobsters that are widely consumed, but these generally clawless varieties are called spiny and slipper lobsters.