I was watching this video where a man takes a grocery store lobster and raises it in a salt tank, the lobster exhibits curious behavior that looks like intent. In the comments there was a claim that lobsters were intelligent animals on par with the octopi, one user claiming they could perform complex tasks related to problem solving and cooperation and that they have experienced this behavior first hand. Looking it up I could only find a single article from peta discussion, which vaguely hints at cephalopod like intelligence. I've not seen any supporting evidence or even discussions from reputable sources to back up anything further.

What's more is that I've looked up the neuron count for lobsters, my understanding was the smartest arthropods were things like ants and bees, and that most ocean arthropods had significantly less neurons than even ants. I understand that you shouldn't use neurons as a proxy for intellect, and arthropods often don't have "brains", but this should apply to both lobsters and cephalopods. In other words, using neuron counts may be applicable in comparing rough cognitive capabilities of cephalopods and arthropods, especially with several order of magnitude gaps between the two (100,000 vs 500,000,000) and because the way in which neurons are used in their body is similar.

I have huge skepticism that lobsters can demonstrate any significant problem solving capability, let along problem solving capabilities on par or comparable to cephalopods.

Are there any reputable pieces of evidence or experiments that demonstrate lobster problem solving skills?


1 Answer 1


They are curious creatures (in the can-I-eat-it-or-fight-it sense), but I doubt they have much problem-solving capacity. I seriously doubt they're as smart as cephalopods, but they probably can learn, at least a little. They don't use a high intellect to hunt and ambush their food or to avoid predators like octopi because they largely rely on their armor and claws for defense, and they're mostly omnivorous so they'll eat plants and algae until prey wanders into their space on so they wouldn't evolve the brain for complex thinking. I watched the video and that particular species is territorial (hence the rubber bands on their claws) so much of that intentional behavior has to do with how it maintains and protects it's territory (moving waste away from it's sleeping space to avoid attracting predators, moving the substrate around, grabbing foreign objects in it's space etc.). I also tried to find articles on lobster intelligence, but as far as I read they don't exhibit problem solving behaviors anywhere near as complex as octopods and other cephalopods, at least not from any scientific articles that cited their sources. That doesn't mean they're not interesting though, I found this really neat article on the effects of serotonin on certain crustaceans aggressive social behaviors.

I hope that answers your question.

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    Commented Dec 16, 2021 at 23:22

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