The simple answer: They don’t. They used to be thought of as having the second most complex communication system in the world, but not anymore. New research has found that lobsters seem to be able to sense and react appropriately (run away) when they feel threatened without any external cueing whatsoever, so they can’t use their antennae for communication like bees do with their dance moves.
Listed below are two possible ways that lobsters communicate.
Lobsters have three main methods to communicate, namely antennal signals, body language and claw holds. Antennal signals can be classified as either tapping or antennating while using a single antenna (tapping), or both antennae alternating back and forth in a pottery-clacking gesture (antennating). Body language usually includes waving their claws in front of their body where they want the other lobster to meet. Claw holds are when the lobster grabs onto its partner’s big leg with both claws.
Lobsters use their antennae, claws, and tail to communicate.
Cues taken from the environment are transmitted through the antennae (small sense organs on the outside of the head) to receptors near nerve cord. The nerve cord then causes bodily changes in response. For example when a lobster’s antennules–the other tiny sense organs that lie within the antennule chamber between its eye and its brain–contact something they identify as prey or food, they signal this through both visual and olfactory cues back to nerves near their tails. These tail-related nerves induce muscle contractions that propel them forward towards a potential meal.
Communication in aquatic crustaceans is a collective effort. Crustaceans produce various pheromones or other chemicals from their glands or surface that straddle the fine line between sensory perception and communication. Lobsters use these chemical triggers both for navigation and to warn others of potential danger. Other creatures such as crabs can utilize this chemical “language” for territorial expansion, courtship, and more complex conversation needs.
The meaning of some of these pheromones has been decoded by scientists over time; one example of a well-researched lobster pheromone is boiling water extract, which sends off alarm signals to both themselves and other lobsters nearby when it comes into contact with water.
Lobsters communicate through two methods – pheromones and the twitch reflex.
Natural, fresh lobsters emit an odorless chemical called a “pheromone” only when they are dying. This allows a fellow lobster in danger to find it more quickly so that he may eat it before any other predator does. The problem is that this also attracts predators towards the natural, fresh lobster and not just prey-seeking scavengers. But don’t worry about your diet just yet – there aren’t enough natural, fresh lobsters around to make much of a dent on anything remotely near food availability for humans!
Lobsters communicate by making sounds with their antennae as they rub edges together.
Lobsters use a system of pheromones (airborne chemical messengers) to communicate their identities, sex and reproductive status to other lobsters. In addition, they also have chemoreceptors in their antennae that can detect the type and location of food sources. Lobster antennae are located at the top part of their head. They are used for smelling food (mostly). Lobsters also have various parts on the edges of its front two claws that allow it touch things like rocks or even another lobster’s body without coming into contact with them.
This allows it to identify objects and feel what is around them as well as uses its claws for grasping and holding onto things when moving.
The sound of moulting lobsters is interpreted as a measure of stress.
Evidence to support in the answer: they produce more “rusty” sounding casings when under environmental stress, like contamination or crushing during transport.
Lobsters communicate via antennae and antennules.
Lobster chemo-signalling is mainly done through the use of pheromones e.g. by detecting chemical signals in water from animals of the same species or others, either to advertise territorial ownership or to intimidate rivals.
Lobsters communicate by using a range of behaviors for these purposes.
At the most basic level, lobsters claw at each other in a fight over territory. Clawing is also used to alarm or threaten another lobster into giving up its shell and accepting something else as more valuable. They may stomp their feet in an aggressive posture which is unique to lobsters, gesture with claws or tips of antennase, wave with antennae attached in front of their eyestalks, and elevate body backwards when threatened.
During mating seasons males create large nests from personal cheliped (claw) material and females visit these locations to mate. Males develop elongated abdominal appendages that they rub on the ground surface before displaying them to potential mates.