Animals -> Marine Invertebrates -> Crustaceans -> Lobsters


Although lobsters were collected and eaten by Indigenous Peoples, they were not eaten as frequently as other marine invertebrates. The Passamaquoddy, Beothuk, Eastern Abenaki, Wampanoag, and Micmac (Mi'kmaq) of Richibucto are reported to have consumed American lobsters [1-6]. The Algonquin may have collected American lobsters [7]. The Passamaquoddy caught them from nearby islands [1]. The Micmac of Richibucto and the Eastern Abenaki used spears to catch American lobsters in shallow waters or from a canoe, while the Wampanoag used hooks and lobster pots with bait [3, 4, 8]. The Micmac caught them in spring and summer from May to September [8, 9]. American lobsters were typically boiled [8]. The Algonquin referred to lobsters and crawfish as aca’ge [7].


1.         Erickson VO: Maliseet-Passamaquoddy. In: Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 15: Northeast. edn. Edited by Trigger BG. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution; 1978: 123-136.

2.         Marshall I: Food. In: The Beothuk of Newfoundland: A Vanished People. edn. St. Johns: Breakwater Books; 1989: 26-29.

3.         Snow DR: Eastern Abenaki. In: Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 15: Northeast. edn. Edited by Trigger BG. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution; 1978: 137-139.

4.         Speck FG, Dexter RW: Utilization of animals and plants by the Micmac Indians of New Brunswick. Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences 1951, 41(8):250-259.

5.         Mackey MGA, Bernard L, Smith BS: Country Food Consumption by Selected Households of the Micmac in Conne River Newfoundland in 1985-86. In.; 1986.

6.         Speck FG, Dexter RW: Utilization of marine life by the Wampanoag Indians of Massachusetts. Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences 1948, 38(8):257-265.

7.         Speck FG: A Northern Algonquian Source Book. In: A Northern Algonquian Source Book. edn. New York & London: Garland Publishing, Inc.; 1985.

8.         Stoddard NB: Micmac Foods, vol. re-printed from the Journal of Education February 1966. Halifax, Nova Scotia: Halifax Natural Science Museum; 1970.

9.         McClellan C: My Old People Say: An Ethnographic Survey of Southern Yukon Territory-Part 1. Ottawa: National Musems of Canada; 1975.

Lobsters are most closely related to freshwater crayfish. In North America, there is one species of lobster, the American lobster (Homarus americanus), occurring throughout the northwest Atlantic from Labrador to North Carolina. Lobsters are called homards in French.

Unlike crabs, lobsters have a well-developed abdomen, giving them an elongated shape, and both pincers are of similar size. The American lobster can grow quite big, reaching 60 cm in length and weighing up to 22 kg.

Lobsters thrive in cold, shallow waters with rocky bottoms where they can hide from predators. They walk along the substrate scavenging for dead animal matter. Their reproduction involves copulation with the male transferring sperm to the female for storage. Eggs are fertilized as they are laid and are usually carried beneath the abdomen of the female until they hatch as planktonic larvae. Lobsters are long-lived and can survive for up to 100 years.


Rainbow PS: "Crabs, Lobsters, Shrimps, and Allies". In: The Encyclopedia of Underwater Life. Edited by Dawes ACJ: Oxford University Press; 2007.


Images provided below were obtained from: Encyclopedia of Life. Available from
American lobster
© Jonathan Lavan
Supplier: Underpressure World
This map is based on occurrence records available through the GBIF network