Are Lobsters Immortal?

You may have heard someone say that Lobsters can live forever - but are Lobsters immortal? Well, yes and no.

Lobsters are biologically immortal. Unlike humans, whose DNA degrades with age, Lobsters have an enzyme called telomerase, which rejuvenates their DNA and prevents it from breaking down. Lobsters also get larger with age, as they molt annually as adults, gaining ¼ pound with each molt on average. Does this mean that it’s possible for an immortal Godzilla-Lobster to come out from the ocean?

giant lobstersAn immortal Godzilla Lobster?!

Well, not quite. While Lobsters don’t die of old age like humans commonly do, there are other limiting factors which prevent Lobsters from living (and growing) forever. So how do Lobsters die? Becoming your dinner is one possible end for the mighty lobster, but there are a bevy of other natural threats which prevent their immortality, including diseases and natural predators (which include other lobsters).

The average male lobster lives into their 30’s, while the average female lives to a plump 54. If a Lobster survives all these threats, it is possible for lobsters to make it into triple digits (a recent catch in Newfoundland was estimated at 140 years old). However, it is difficult for lobsters to make it much past 100 because it becomes impossible to eat enough food fast enough (the bigger the lobster, the hungrier they get!), and molting – or changing their shell – becomes a hazard as large lobsters take so long to molt that they become a standing target for other ocean predators.

So yes, while it is true that Lobsters don’t die of old age, they aren’t actually immortal. If you’re not convinced, however, there is one thing you can do to prevent the coming Godzilla-Lobster: Order yourself a delicious Maine Lobster today!