In one line, lobsters don’t mate for life. That means lobsters are not monogamous and will mate with multiple partners over their lifetime.
Wait! There is something more exciting that you should know regarding this matter.
Generally, lobsters don’t mate for life. However, it is not uncommon for a pair of lobsters to form a bond and live together in the same area. This close-knit relationship may last up to only two weeks.
It actually means that a dominant male lobster in the community takes turns mating with each of the female lobsters in the area, spending two weeks with each of them. Also, it is seen that female lobsters return to the same mate every year.
Lobsters are very particular about their mating partners. When it comes time to reproduce, both larger males and females prefer to mate with each other. Furthermore, female lobsters usually go for the largest available male lobster.
When it’s mating season, the large males become aggressive, so there is usually only one male in each den. The females have to compete fiercely with these huge males for mates and are less likely to group together during this time.
Furthermore, a female lobster’s vulnerability generally determines when she will mate. Once she molts and is ready to mate, the female goes into the dominant male’s living space in her area and fans pheromone-infused urine his way.
After finding a potential mate, the male lobster will become calmer and more open to courtship, which can last from minutes to days. When the time comes to mate, they will rear up, embrace belly to belly, and then topple over, with the female on top. The male then places a sperm packet on the female’s abdominal region, also called a spermatophore.
Because the sperm bundle begins to degrade almost instantly, the female starts to produce eggs quickly. Typically, she would build a brood chamber by clinging to the rock face with her head up and spreading her tail fans to conceal her vaginal pores and sperm mass.
The main reason why lobsters aren’t monogamous is that they are believed to be opportunistic breeders. This means that when one mate isn’t available, another will do.
Furthermore, since lobsters reproduce multiple times over their lifetime, they should spread their genes to as many offspring as possible instead of breeding with the same partner for life.
Also, since female lobsters are typically more in number than male lobsters in habitats near the coast, if all male lobsters mate for life with only one female lobster, not every female would get to reproduce.
The mating period of a male lobster can be for up to 2 weeks with one female lobster. However, sometimes it can be only a few minutes.
After a male lobster mates with one female, he then finds another mate. He continues to look for more potential mates until the mating season ends. Male lobsters can mate with around 6-7 female lobsters during this time.
On the other hand, it is seen that female Lobsters return to their same partner every year. This happens because the dominant males in a population will usually hold their spot for the season – meaning that the same female lobsters will have access to the same mate.
In mating, while male lobsters place their sperm on the female’s abdomen, the sperm will be used to fertilize the eggs of female lobsters externally. Moreover, sperm can be stored by the female for several months until the egg-laying season in July and August.
Depending on the size, a female lobster can lay anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 eggs. For 9 to 12 months, a female will carry her fertilized eggs to their abdomen. When the eggs are almost ready to hatch, she will release them in shallow waters.
The larvae will stay at the bottom of the ocean until they reach a certain size, when they move up and down within the water column, looking for food.
A female lobster’s pheromone-infused urine is what usually attracts male lobsters for mating. When a female releases this scent, it signals that she is ready to mate. The males then compete for her attention, and eventually, one will be chosen as a mate.
Lobsters mate in the mid-summer when the water is warm. If the water becomes too cold, lobsters will not mate. Also, if a female lobster is wounded or stressed, she may deny mating with any male.
In some cases, even if a female lobster is interested in mating, she may still deny advances from certain males. Studies have shown that larger males are more likely to be successful in mating than smaller males, so females may be choosy to ensure that they produce healthy offspring.
So, rather than mating for life, as most people believe, lobsters are opportunistic and mate with different partners depending on availability. They will typically mate for up to 2 weeks with one female lobster and then look for a new mate.