Researchers studying Maine's lobster population, booming in recent years amid warming waters and disappearing predators, have detected something never before seen in the wild: lobster cannibalism.
It has long been known that lobsters will attack and eat each other if confined together in a small space — hence the banding of claws on lobsters in supermarket tanks.
That aggressive behavior had not been thought to occur in the wild, but with the increasing density of the crustaceans in the Gulf of Maine it seems big lobsters are feasting on little lobsters once the sun goes down.
"We've got the lobsters feeding back on themselves just because they're so abundant," said Richard Wahle, a marine sciences professor at the University of Maine, who is supervising the research. "It's never been observed just out in the open like this," he said.Apparently overfishing of other species like cod and halibut have created a dearth of natural predators for the lobsters (no, I didn't know that cod and halibut could kill and eat lobsters, but now I do), which has helped to cause this strange behavior.
All I know is, if this is what happens when a species becomes overpopulated, then I think I can handle a little bit of economic stagnation over the alternative. So, please don't eat me, people. Eat lobsters instead, they're delicious and apparently plentiful.