Lobsters sometimes get so massive they give up and die


There’s a fairly well known “fact” that circulates online every now and again positing that, under ideal conditions, the humble lobster can, theoretically, live forever. Which is obviously untrue because lobsters aren’t from Asgard, in fact, lobsters die all the time of a condition known as being too swole. 

For anyone unfamiliar with the idea of lobsters living forever, you’ll occasionally see lesser fact websites claiming that lobsters don’t age with the term “biological immortality” often being used to lend an air of pseudo authenticity to the claim. Now while biological immortality is absolutely a thing, with there being a handful of creatures experts believe can theoretically live forever, lobsters aren’t one of them.

What likely confuses the matter though is that experts also aren’t sure exactly how long lobsters can live for with even seasoned lobster scientists being quoted as saying simply that they don’t know when the question of their longevity is brought up. As for why, that has a lot to do with the act of molting, which most lobsters do once a year when they reach maturity and is so thorough a process that a freshly molted lobster is basically brand new from a biological standpoint. Giving experts nothing to go on when it comes to telling how old a given lobster is and something that has likely contributed to the aforementioned rumours of immortality, because every lobster always looks fresh as fuck and there’s no real limit to the amount of times they can do it. However, it is exactly for this reason that even the biggest and baddest lobster will eventually die.

You see, as you might imagine, shitting out your own exoskeleton is a fairly taxing process and it only gets more difficult the larger a lobster gets. So taxing in fact that eventually a lobster will become so massive that the sheer exertion required to molt will kill it. Meaning lobsters can get so buff that it literally kills them.

Artist’s impression.

Sadly for these massive turbo lobsters, getting to a point where the act of molting will kill them doesn’t mean they actually stop growing because lobsters are what’s known in biology as indeterminate growers which essentially means they grow until they die. Curiously, because nobody is quite sure how long a lobster is capable of living under ideal conditions, the maximum size of a lobster is similarly unknown. Meaning there’s a chance that somewhere at the bottom of the ocean there’s a several hundred year old bus-sized lobster just waiting for the day someone challenges it for the title of ocean king.