Ento-musings from the University of Kentucky Department of Entomology

Friday, February 24, 2012

Giant Lobster

I can always count on CNN for reports of giant crustaceans. The latest one concerns a 27 pound lobster that was caught by a shrimp trawler. You can see the video here, where the giant is compared with a more typical lobster:

The shrimpers turned it over to some biologists, and they plan to release it back to the wild. The seafood lover in you might think that this is a shame. But there are several good reasons not to eat it:

1. By releasing it back into the wild, it can reproduce--if it's this big, that means that it has has lived a long time. We want it and its genes back in the ocean, so that it can pass on its hardy, delicious traits to new generations of steamers.

2. Bigger lobsters are more difficult to cook properly than smaller lobsters, and they usually don't taste as good because of this (this is also true for shrimp!).

3. Instead of a lobster fork, you'd have to use a rake. I said a rake, people.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Giant Amphipods

Scientists in New Zealand have discovered some very large species of marine amphipods. You can see pictures in this article, which describes the nearly foot-long creatures as "shrimplike":

I think that this is interesting, because we have freshwater amphiopods in Kentucky, and they look very similar to the ones discovered in New Zealand except that they are much smaller. Our freshwater versions are often called "scuds" or "sideswimmers," and they do indeed look a lot like tiny shrimp, and are even sometimes called "freshwater shrimp" even though they are not really very closely related to the "freshwater prawns" (a.k.a. shrimp) that you might eat at dinner. (Shrimp and amphipods are actually in totally different scientific orders. These means that they are considered to be about as closely related to one another as a dog is to a horse.)

You can read about the non-giant, freshwater versions of amphipods here (and look for them in your local creek or stream--they are probably there!):