II. Crustaceans

Lobsters belong to the highest order of Crustaceans, live exclusively in sea-water, generally near rocky coasts, and are caught in pots set on gravelly bottoms. The largest and best species are found in Atlantic waters from Maine to New Jersey, being most abundant on Maine and Massachusetts coasts. Lobsters have been found weighing from sixteen to twenty-five pounds, but such have been exterminated from our coast. The average weight is two pounds, and the length from ten to fifteen inches. Lobsters are largest and most abundant from June to September, but are obtainable all the year. When taken from the water, shells are of mottled dark green color, except when found on sandy bottoms, when they are quite red. Lobsters are generally boiled, causing the shell to turn red.

A lobster consists of body, tail, two large claws, and four pairs of small claws. On lower side of body, in front of large claws, are various small organs which surround the mouth, and a long and short pair of feelers. Under the tail are found several pairs of appendages. In the female lobster, also called hen lobster, is found, during the breeding season, the spawn, known as coral. Sex is determined by the pair of appendages in the tail which lie nearest the body; in the female they are soft and pliable, in the male hard and stiff. At one time small lobsters were taken in such quantities that it was feared, if the practice was long continued, they would be exterminated. To protect the continuance of lobster fisheries, a law has been passed in many States prohibiting their sale unless at least ten inches long.

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