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How Do Lobsters Get Oxygen?

| Updated September 26, 2017

Lobsters Require Oxygen

Like humans, lobsters require oxygen to live. They obtain this oxygen from the seawater in which they live. How much oxygen they consume depends on the temparature of the water. As the water's temperature increases, so does their oxygen intake. Interestingly, the amount of oxygen within seawater decreases as the temperature rises. So, optimal oxygen intake occurs when the water's temperature is between 40 and 50 degrees F.

Lobsters and Gills

Lobsters use gills to breathe. Their gills are blood-filled, feathery organs which extract oxygen from water. The gills can be found at the base of the lobster's legs. Blood travels from the gills to other parts of the body, providing oxygen along the way. To maintain a steady supply of oxygen, the gills circulate water for lobsters the way our respiratory system circulates air to breathe.

Living Out of Water

Lobsters can only survive out of water for approximately one to two days. Because they require large amounts of moisture, they must be packed in ice. However, this environment is not optimal for lobsters. They can only survive long term in seawater.