Lobsters Use Smell Test to ID Buddies, Bullies

Jelle Atema says when he first encountered lobsters as a young marine biologist in the 1970s, he was surprised at how peaceful the giant-clawed crustaceans behaved toward each other.

“I’d swim around and see lobsters meet each other, give a display, raise their claws. But there was not much fighting,” the professor at Boston University’s Marine Program in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, said.

Now he understands that those lobsters already knew each other. A few swishes of their small antennae were all they needed to pick up the other’s scent and recall their earlier battle that established who was dominant.