October 3, 1977

That Was a Crayfish

Author Affiliations

Marine Biological Laboratory Boston University Woods Hole, Mass

JAMA. 1977;238(14):1498-1501. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03280150068018

To the Editor.—  As any of the gourmets among your readers will have recognized, the specimen on the cover of the May 2 issue (237:cover, 1912, 1977) would never have graced the dinner table of any self-respecting Yankee from Maine. That animal is not a lobster, but rather a crayfish. The American lobster (Homarus americanus) is readily identified by the striking dimorphism of the chelipeds, or claws. These are of some interest because the claw closer muscles are also dimorphic.One of the claws, the crusher, is larger in size and has large, blunt teeth. In addition, it has a closer muscle that in the adult contains all slow muscle fibers and is capable of very strong sustained contraction. As its name implies, this claw is used to crush clams, mussels, and other prey. The other claw, the cutter, has many small sharp teeth. The closer muscle of this claw