Like a Tree, Growth Rings Show Lobster Age

Like a Tree, Growth Rings Show Lobster Age

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For the first time, scientists have figured out how to determine the age of a lobster — by counting its rings, like a tree. Nobody knows how old lobsters can live to be; some people estimate they live to more than 100. But knowing — rather than simply guessing — their age and that of other shellfish could help scientists better understand the population and assist regulators of the lucrative industry, said Raouf Kilada, lead author of a scientific paper documenting the process published in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences.

Before now, scientists deduced a lobster’s age judging by size and other variables. But it’s now known that lobsters and other crustaceans, such as crabs and shrimp, grow one ring per year in hidden-away internal spots, Kilada said.

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