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Atlantic Lobster

Brian J. Skerry / National Geographic

An enduring New England icon, the Atlantic lobster (also known as the American lobster or the Maine lobster) has long been a mainstay of local economies and livelihoods along the northeast coast. The lobster’s most recognizable trait is its large claws, which it uses for fighting and hunting. Although both claws start off identical, the lobster eventually favors one claw over the other, with the favored claw becoming the larger, slow-moving "ecrusher," and the smaller claw becoming a fast-moving “pincher” used for grabbing prey.

Climate Change Impacts

As tough as they may look, a 1999 major lobster die-off in the Long Island Sound sounded alarm bells that these crustaceans are actually more vulnerable to disease in warmer waters. As ocean temperature rises from global warming, lobsters need more oxygen to survive and have a harder time fighting off infections. Uncomfortably warm waters will likely drive the valuable lobsters out of their southern New England habitat and into colder, northern waters.