Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Secret Life of Lobsters

The Secret Life of Lobsters by Trevor Corson was originally published in 2004. My paperback edition was published in 2005 and is 306 pages long. The subtitle, How Fishermen and Scientists Are Unraveling the Mysteries of Our Favorite Crustacean, basically explains what this nonfiction book is about. Combined into a single account is the differing perspectives of a select group of the fishermen who catch and sell lobsters, and a similar select group of the marine scientists and regulators who are trying to study and track lobsters. In to the mix is the environmental question: do we need protection for lobsters from the lobster industry. This really is an interesting book that mixes real life stories of fishermen and researchers, as well as the history of regulations on catching lobsters. You don't need to be a scientist to enjoy The Secret Life of Lobsters. It is written in an engaging, entertaining manner and you never feel like you are too bogged down in minute details. Very highly recommended. rating: 4.5

Synopsis from back cover:
In this intimate portrait of an island lobstering community and an eccentric band of renegade biologists, journalist Trevor Corson escorts the reader onto the slippery decks of fishing boats, through danger-filled scuba dives, and deep into the churning currents of the Gulf of Maine to learn about the secret undersea lives of lobsters.
"The eyes of a lobster can detect motion under low light conditions but don't discern much detail, especially when faced with floodlights." pg. 14

"Historians of New England often note that early settlers considered lobster a kind of junk food that was fit only for swine, servants, and prisoners." pg. 25

"When the lobster is ready to shed, it pumps in seawater and distributes it through its body, causing hydrostatic pressure to force the old shell away from the new one. The lobster remains mobile and active until the last minute, when the membrane that lines its old shell bursts and the animal falls over on its side, helpless and immobilized." pg. 36

"Jelle had apparently found a species where the females did the choosing." pg. 62

"What researchers discovered during the ensuing fights was that dueling lobsters accompanied their most punishing blows during combat by intense squirts of [urine] at the opponent's face. What was more, in a scene akin to a showdown at the OK Corral, the winner of the physical combat almost always turned out to be the lobster that had urinated first." pg. 196-197

"If the big V-notched females appeared only in the fall, he liked to think it was because the rest of the time they employed the lobster equivalent of a Romulan cloaking device." pg. 220

1 comment:

Jeane said...

I've been curious to read this ever since I finished The Lobster Chronicles. Nice to know a little more about it.