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Atlantic Canada Lobster
Le homard de l'Atlantique canadien
L'aragosta del Canada atlantico

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Lobster Biology

Classification  / Anatomy  / Physiology  / Moulting  / Habitat

Lobster Classification

Kingdom: Animilia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Crustacea
Order: Decapoda
Family: Nephropidae
Genus: Homarus
Species: Americanus

(Atlantic Lobster Nomenclature - PDF 280K)

Since the 1700’s, scientists have attempted to group all living things into familial groups to produce a hierarchy referred to as nomenclature. The Atlantic Lobster that we harvest off the East coast of Canada and parts of the US are scientifically referred to as Homarus americanus as distinguished by its binomial name for its genus and species. Homarus americanus is known by many names including: Atlantic Lobster, Canadian Atlantic Lobster, Northern Lobster, Maine Lobster, American Lobster and Canadian Reds.

In zoological classification, the hierarchy of animals are divided into two major groups: Vertebrata, which refers to animals possessing a backbone and Invertebrata, which are those without (lobster are invertebrates). Lobsters are placed into the phylum Arthrapoda that encompasses the largest group of invertebrates and includes: shrimps, crabs insects, spiders and various other creatures with jointed appendages and outer skeletons (exoskeleton). The class Crustacea refers to animals that have flexible outer shells and are distinguished from hard-shell animals such as oysters clams and mussels.

Lobsters, crabs and shrimp belong to the order Decapoda (Greek deca, ten) and as a name suggests it constitutes decapod’s that have five pairs of legs. Decapod’s with long tails such as a lobster are further subdivided into a suborder called Macrura Reptantia and is distinguished from the crab which has a short tail tucked under their body. The two commercially important families of lobster in the North America are broken into two distinct infraorders. The Homarus americanus belongs to Astacida while the spiny lobster (or rock lobster) belongs to Palinuridea. Atlantic Lobster are distinguishable from other lobster types because they have claws on the first three pairs of legs with the first set bearing the largest.


Classification  / Anatomy  / Physiology  / Moulting  / Habitat

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