Lobsters Have The Most Bizarre Mating Ritual

Animals across the animal kingdom have unique and (at least to us humans) pretty weird techniques when it comes to finding a mate. For example, some birds dance to impress potential partners, while other avians, like the bowerbird, will build entire structures made of rubble from the nature they find around them (via NewScientist). Turning to the insect population, we are reminded of species like the praying mantis, which is well-known for the behavior of the female after mating — she devours the male. But the most bizarre and outlandish mating ritual reward probably goes to the lobsters, whose alien anatomy from under the sea makes for some ... interesting ways when it comes to dating on the ocean floor.

It all involves how lobsters communicate with each other — which is by way of pheromones, according to the University of Chicago. The pheromones are released through what is called the nephropore rosette glands, which are connected to the lobster's urinary tract. Due to their anatomy, this does mean that when lobsters release pheromones, they are essentially urinating from their heads.

A strategic defense

The lobster uses urine as a way to "talk" with other lobsters due to the location of its bladder, which is, interestingly enough, found beneath its brain (via New England Aquarium). When a lobster wants to release pheromones, it will pee out of a spot under its antennae, with the urine reaching lengths of seven times the length of the lobster itself. It comes into play for male lobsters when they defend their territory.

Lobsters are known to be very territorial creatures, and because of this, they tend to be defensive of their own personal stake in the ocean. One way they do this is by backing into a cave, with the front part of their body face forward, which allows them to defend themselves with their claws against predators or other males looking to take over their region. Not only are they in a good defensive stance, but this allows them to communicate with potential female partners as well.

The lobster birth cycle

When a female lobster is ready to mate, she will release her pheromones through her urine and hope that the male lobster picks up the scent. After the male reciprocates the signal (and the battle with other males is over), he will bring her into his cave where the female lobster will be ready to begin molting, and will eventually shed her exoskeleton, according to the MLCA. After she is in his cave, the male lobster will then inseminate his mate, and she will cart around the semen for months until she deems the time is just right — only then will she allow her eggs to become fertilized, and she'll carry those around for up to 11 months before the babies hatch.

During this "pregnancy," the female lobster will again release pheromones to ward off other female lobsters from attempting to mate with the male lobster, according to the University of Chicago. The expectant female lobster is often referred to as a berried lobster, since the lobster eggs resemble berries. After the babies are hatched, they will molt four times before they even begin to resemble their parents. Needless to say, nature is full of all sorts of tricks up its sleeves, and some are not the most flattering to us humans, like attracting a mate with face pee.