Science

How Do Lobsters Breathe?

Lobsters breathe through gills, which are located in a structure called the carapace. The carapace is situated at the top of the cephalothorax, which is commonly referred to as the lobster’s head. There are 20 pairs of gills that are separated into two branchial chambers inside the carapace. The gills are made up of short, fine filaments that absorb oxygen directly from the water.

Part 1

1

Lobsters and Gills

Lobsters use gills to breathe. Their gills are blood-filled, feathery organs which extract oxygen from water. The gills can be found at the base of the lobster's legs. Blood travels from the gills to other parts of the body, providing oxygen along the way. To maintain a steady supply of oxygen, the gills circulate water for lobsters the way our respiratory system circulates air to breathe.

2

Lobsters Require Oxygen

Like humans, lobsters require oxygen to live. They obtain this oxygen from the seawater in which they live. How much oxygen they consume depends on the temparature of the water. As the water's temperature increases, so does their oxygen intake. Interestingly, the amount of oxygen within seawater decreases as the temperature rises. So, optimal oxygen intake occurs when the water's temperature is between 40 and 50 degrees F.

3

Survive out of Water?

Lobsters can only survive out of water for approximately one to two days. Because they require large amounts of moisture, they must be packed in ice. However, this environment is not optimal for lobsters. They can only survive long term in seawater.

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