HOW TO DIFFERENTIATE LOBSTERS FROM TIGER PRAWNS
Lobsters and tiger prawns are valued primarily as food. Both are crustaceans. Both are covered with relatively hard exoskeletons that must be occasionally molted. In this article, let us look at some of the differences between these two animals.
Tiger prawns can reach about 13 inches in length and weigh around 10 ounces. Females are larger than males.
Lobsters have hard exoskeletons and a pair of giant claws. In some varieties, one claw is larger than the other. Their bodies are segmented into two parts: the cephalothorax and the abdomen. Their bodies have a dark color, with hints of brown, blue, and green to blend with the ocean floor’s color.
Tiger prawns have softer exoskeletons that are marked distinctly with alternating bands of red and white. They have very long antennae.
Lobsters are found in all of the world’s major oceans and at great depths. But they are not found in the polar waters. They are found on the ocean floor, ranging from the deeper coastlines straight down the continental edges. They are found in the natural shelters of rocks and coral shells.
Tiger prawns live in higher population concentrations in Africa, the Arab Peninsula, Southeast Asia, and the regions between the Pacific Ocean and the Australian coastline. They prefer warm waters.
Lobsters are predators. They use their claws to catch live prey such as fish, crabs, sea urchins, and clams. They are also known to cannibalize other lobsters. The misconception that they are scavengers may have resulted from lobster-fishing practices where dead bait is used.
Tiger prawns are scavenging omnivores that primarily feed on plant matter, algae, tiny invertebrates, and dead matter.
From the point of view of biology and evolution, lobsters are an ancient lifeform. From extensive studies on extant lobster species and fossil records, it is determined that the earliest lobsters evolved some 409 million years ago. The distribution of varying lobster fossils indicates that the emergence of the various species of lobsters coincided with the timeline when Pangaea broke up into the present-day continents.
As a whole, decapod crustaceans–to which prawns and shrimps belong–are ancient precursor creatures. Modern crabs are said to have evolved from early shrimps. The 3,500–and counting–shrimp and prawn species worldwide have all developed some 490 million years ago from freshwater varieties in the Jurassic Period. They are as old as the dinosaurs. It is even possible that shrimps can still be dated way back. This is because the natural progression of evolution would have to begin from the large and ancient oceans first.
6. BREEDING BEHAVIOR
A unique reproductive trait of tiger prawns is that they reproduce through internal fertilization. Females release fertilized eggs that rapidly hatch.
The lobster is unique in its mating behavior. Females usually take turns mating with a single dominant breeding male. The mating season usually coincides with when females molt their exoskeletons.
Questions and Answers
Are Lobsters Valuable?
Yes. There are archaeological findings of prehistoric people who hunted and ate lobsters, as evidenced by fossilized shells in areas where these ancient people once lived. Today, lobster fishing is a multi-billion industry that caters to a high-end fine cuisine and dining market. They are sought after as both delicacy and staple.
Are Tiger Prawns Valuable?
Yes, and no. Just like lobsters, tiger prawns are a valued food item. They are sold in significant volumes in Asian open wet markets and served in low-end to high-end restaurants. But they are also considered an invasive species. When introduced into a new habitat, they will reproduce quickly, take over the ecosystem, and displace more endemic lifeforms.
Can Lobsters and Tiger Prawns Be Kept As Pets?
Lobsters can be kept as pets as long as their tanks are up to the lobster’s natural habitat conditions. They thrive pretty well in captivity, with lifespans that are estimated to reach 50 years. When left alone in ideal conditions, they can grow to incredible sizes. As for tiger prawns, they are not kept as pets.