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VIDEO: Are lobsters turning to cannibalism?

Lobsters along the coast of Maine have been filmed eating their youngsters

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Stephen McNeice
16:05 Thursday 25 July 2013

Maine and other regions of the US have been experiencing a major ‘lobster boom’. As a result of the favourable conditions of warming water (partially attributable to climate change), the lobster population has exploded - much to the dismay of the lobster catchers who have had to contend with low prices for their catch due to overabundant supplies.

The overpopulation problem has been exasperated by overfishing of fish species such as cod and herring. These fish feast on the crustaceans and typically play an important role in naturally regulating the lobster population.

All this has meant that the lobsters themselves are facing more of a challenge when it comes to finding food. With food in short supply, the creatures have had to develop more radical methods of survival.

Marine biology student Noah Oppenheim decided to film young lobsters, using underwater infrared camera equipment to monitor the youngsters in their natural habitat. He discovered that they were 90% more likely to be eaten by other lobsters than any other predator.

He shared some of his footage with Climate Desk, who made an extended video explaining some of the reasons behind this violent phenomenon. Lobster fans may find some of the footage upsetting.

Cannibalistic tendencies have been observed in lobsters before, although predominantly in captive populations.

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Stephen McNeice

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