Lobsters Cannibalize As Water Temperatures Rise And The Climate Changes (VIDEO)
Jul 26, 2013 05:45 PM EDT
A study in Maine found the world's first known wild lobster cannibals.
The researchers tied young lobsters to an infrared camera, the tethers made them easy prey for larger creatures, Herald News reported.
"While during the day we had, perhaps, fewer fish but more crabs than we'd expect from previous years, what was really shocking was the prevalence of lobsters as predators at night," Richard Wahle, the supervisor of the study, said. "It was pretty much 100 per cent lobsters eating the small tethered lobsters."
Researchers have attempted to bait lobsters into cannibalism in the past, but never at night.
Lobster's crowded together in small tanks, on the other hand, regularly munch on each other.
"Yes, they will eat each other,"Diane Cowan, a Maine lobster scientest, said. "But they will also bite off their own appendages. They are not in a normal situation."
Cowan disagrees lobsters in healthy habitats will engage in the practice of cannibalism.
"They live in groups, they live at extremely high density, they pair-bond and mate, and they take care of each other," she said.
Ronald Heighton, a lobster fisherman, said he rarely sees lobster's eating each other. He has only witnessed the phenomenon about once or twice a season in his 47 years on the job, and only when they are in crowded traps.
"We often have multiple lobsters in one trap, and they don't bother each other," he said. "In the wild, how would you know? We don't walk on the sea bottom."
Noah Oppenheim, a biologist studying the New England marine ecosystem, believes the recent cannibalism craze is result of rising water temperatures, Mother Nature Network, reported.
"As the water temperatures elevate, lobsters both become more fecund," he said. "They reproduce more frequently and with larger broods and they grow more rapidly. If we enjoy eating lobsters perhaps other lobsters enjoy eating lobsters too."