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Lobsters Do the Strangest Things With Their Pee

Lobsters communicate through their pee, kind of the way dogs do. But these crustaceans take public urination to a whole new level.


What do lobsters and puppies have in common?

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The answer is pee. So much pee.

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We all know that dogs communicate through their bladders, by "marking their territory" and sniffing around for clues made by other members of their species.

Lobsters use urine in a similar way, but I'm sure even dogs would agree that they take it to the next level.

First of all, lobsters pee from their faces, which sounds less like a real thing and more like a playground insult. The specific source is called the antennal gland. Each lobster has two of these, located under their eyes.

Bob Bayer, head of the University of Maine's Lobster Institute, told Mental Floss that they are greenish-brown spots. "They actually look like two pieces of snot — that’s the best way to describe them," he said. "You'd have to open them up to see them."

Their pee can also project seven body lengths, which would be almost 40 feet for a 5-foot, 6-inch-tall human.

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For lobsters, world-class peeing skills aren't just a cool party trick; they're crucially important to survival. Without them, lobsters wouldn't be able to court and keep the world supplied with little baby lobsters.

When a female lobster decides it's time to find a mate, she visits a male lobster den and pees in the doorway. She repeats this daily, until her crush starts to get used to and eventually like her pheromones. When he's finally ready to commit, he pees, too, the mix of their pheromones telling the entire neighborhood that they are taken.

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That is, at least until the next mating season, when the female's pee darkens another doorway.

 

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