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Common lobster

Homarus gammarus

At West Runton rockpools, you may find a juvenile Homarus gammarus, but if you wanted to find an adult specimen, you'll be more successful donning a snorkel and heading into the sublittoral.

If you come across a hiding H. gammarus in the rockpools, you may notice that they have two kinds of claws. One of these is the crushing claw, and the other, a slicing claw. They also have other minor claws which they use to bring food to the mouthparts. Once food has passed the mouth, it heads to the first of three stomachs. The first, the cardiac stomach, is lined with teeth, so that food continues to be broken down before moving onto the rest of the digestive system.

H. gammarus will hunt mainly at night, using sensory bristles that cover the body, as well as its sense of smell. These lobsters have pretty poor eyesight, even though they have a wide field of vision, and their prey needs to be moving to risk being spotted.

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