American lobster – Homarus americanus. Common names: Maine lobster, lobster.


Identifying Characteristics and Biology

  • Two big front claws, differentiating it from the spiny lobster which is clawless.
  • One of three true lobsters.
  • Colors: when they are fresh they range from greenish-blue to reddish-brown, and turn bright red when cooked. Typically speckled with greenish or black spots.
  • Typically market weights are 1 to 5 pounds, but can grow up to 45 pounds. 
  • Very long living species. Reports of lobsters with estimate ages of nearly 100 years old, and of lobsters being trawled at 600 feet.

Range and Locations

  • Western Atlantic. Belle Island to the coasts of North Carolina. Most common off of Maine, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.
  • Depths of 10 to 200 feet.

Market Forms

  • Sold whole, live, in stores inside chilled aquariums.
  • Other forms: tails-only are fresh frozen; whole lobsters are boiled then frozen; cooked as pulled meat.


John Shelton, the Fishing Chef, will help you get ‘that’ fish onto ‘your’ plate. John’s motto is ‘release it unharmed or do it justice on the plate.’ Executive Chef, photographer, and surfer, John photographs ocean marine life when he's out fishing, and creates masterpieces in the kitchen with what he keeps on deck. His photo works have been used in OEHHA Fish Advisories, National Geographic presentations, and nonprofit marine life groups. When he's not fishing, he's making great BBQ. Visit him at, and send him a message using the contact form using the link above.