Everyone Loves Lobster Dinner, Even Lobsters!

by Chris Landers

Photo of a Maine lobster

Lobsters were so prevalent in the Gulf of Maine last year, some boats stopped going out because prices dropped so low it wasn't worth it.

On the other hand, fish known to prey on lobster — cod, mainly — are in short supply in those waters. That led University of Maine scientists to see if any other predators might be munching on the state's best-known delicacy.

There were, just not who they expected. With cameras set up 30 feet underwater and using tethered one- to two-year-old lobster as bait, they found that crabs were the culprits during the day.

But at night, big lobsters scarfed down the little lobsters every time. In one case a larger lobster was chased off by an even bigger one — and then dined on the youngster.

While lobster cannibalism has been documented in tanks and traps, this was the first proof that wild lobsters eat their own, too. Earlier research did not find cannibalism, so the new crustacean behavior may be nature’s way of handling overcrowding.