Dead Man’s Fingers*

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Cover Photo by Matt Tremblay

Dead Man’s Fingers

(Alcyonium digitatum)


An easily distinguishable arthropod, the lobster’s body is made up of two main parts. The cephalothorax, which as the name suggests contains the head and thorax and the abdomen which is shown as a thick tail. The lobster has two front arms which end in large claws – one for crushing and one for seizing or shredding its prey. The claws of an adult lobster can account for up to 50% of its total body weight. The coloring varies from a dark green to a reddish color. Mutations can be found that cause rare colorations such as bright blue, orange, yellow, or albino. In even rarer situation, lobsters have been found that are essentially conjoined twins and can either be same sex or opposites. Lobsters range in size, if you’re lucky you’ll stumble upon one of the big boy. The largest documented lobster (caught in Maine) was over 40lbs and 2 feet long!


The American Lobster prefers colder waters, but can be found from Labrador down to the Carolinas. However, at their southern range they are typically only found in deeper waters. During the day, lobster tend to hide in and amongst the rocks. However, during the night they can be found freely roaming across the bottom. In Maine, where catch is only allowed via traps (versus diver caught), you’ll find lobster to be much more curious and approachable. They’ve even been known to jump out of their hiding spot and startle unsuspecting divers (read: our webmaster).


The tale of the American Lobster travels from being used as food for the poor to being a highly sought after delicacy. Today enjoying a Lobster roll or a steamed Lobster usually comes with a few dollar signs. However, early colonists thought of it as only fitting servants or prisoners. Interestingly enough, it was the rise of steam engines as a means of transportation that changed the Lobsters tale. People who lived inland didn’t realize it was considered low-brow to eat, but enjoyed the taste. Railways were able to purchase the creatures for low prices, yet sell them at high prices. Win-win for them. Today Lobster prices are high not only because it’s considered a delicacy, but also due to their lower abundance (from historic numbers). For more info on the Lobster’s rise to the rich man’s table, check out the article, “How Lobster Got Fancy”.

Information Obtained From:

Lobster Anywhere | Lobsters | NOAA | University of Rhode Island

Written by CAL Updated 4/1/2019