Lobsters that migrate in the ocean in single file formation

How Do Lobsters Understand The Time of Migration?

In the middle of autumn, the weather conditions where lobsters live are very changeable. Winds increase  as a result of high levels of pressure, the sky darkens, it begins to rain and the temperature falls. Meanwhile, the sandbanks where lobsters live become blurred. There takes place movements caused by large waves in shallow areas as a result of winds. This is one of the signs that the time of migration has come for lobsters.

It is not exactly known why lobsters migrate in autumn and how they determine the exact timing. However, with the information currently available, it is thought that environmental factors are the most likely cause. According to conducted research, sudden changes of temperature and more intense  water activity may cause a tendency in lobsters to change their locations.

The important point here is that a lobster recognizes the climatic changes of its own environment, understands that these environmental conditions pose a risk for its own life and takes precautions accordingly beforehand. There are certain points that need to be calculated in the precaution previously taken. For example, the lobster needs to know the appropriate environment, where it is in the ocean and how to reach its destination in the fastest way beforehand. After making all these decisions, it has to proceed towards its destination in a very conscious manner. The amazing qualities lobsters have are not limited to these. Let us take a closer look at some of the other methods used by lobsters, which are created with matchless characteristics by our Lord, while migrating:

The Lobsters’ Migration Method That Evokes Admiration

Lobsters’ migrations are generally in the direction of calmer waters. During this journey, we witness very striking images. Every lobster takes up a position to touch the one in front of it, and approximately fifty-sixty lobsters come together and form a convoy. In this way, they walk on the ocean floor for a couple of days and nights. (David Attenborough, The Trials of Life, p.123)

The members of the convoy determine their own positions by touching the tips of their antennae and front legs to the stomach of the lobsters in front of them. This connection is not disrupted even if the lobster’s antenna is removed. The lobster with no antennae begins to touch the lobsters in front of it using the tip of its front legs; if these tips are removed, then the lobster touches the others with the second tips of its front legs. In this way, the line is protected even if the lobsters cannot see anything. While the water movement caused by the lobsters at front probably ensures that the lobsters observing it ensure the connection, there is also a chemical signal  that it is following the lobsters..

Why Do Lobsters Migrate In Single File?

Even though it is thought that lobsters decide on migration collectively, it is difficult to explain their traveling in a single file like this. This type of behavior has many benefits for the lobster. Some of these are as follows:

First of all, lobsters that cannot withstand dangers on the way on their own can be saved from becoming prey by moving together because the eyes, antennae and all the other receivers they possess will be used simultaneously to detect and dissuade the enemy.

During their migration, the lobsters are often attacked by fish.. During an  attack, the leader turns around itself. Other members that see this understand that there is a danger present and they form a ribbon shape. At the same time, defensive shells form on lobsters. While they would be easy prey under normal conditions, thanks to these precautions, they are protected against enemies.

In addition, the most sensitive parts of lobsters are their stomachs. They are most vulnerable to injury in this  area. When there are lined up in a single file, the lobster behind covers their stomach area and protects it. (John Owen, Fantastic Journey, p.109)

Migration in a single file formation increases lobsters’ ability of movement. There is fifty percent difference between the hydrodynamic force faced when moving in water by itself, and the hydrodynamic force faced when moving behind another member. Thanks to moving in a single file, they move forward further in a much shorter time. It is observed that some species walked at a speed of one kilometer per  hour.


How Do They Find the Way Back to the  Area They Live In Under Every Condition Without Getting Lost?

Research has shown that lobsters can return to their own regions when they are placed in an unfamiliar terrain.. However, despite all these studies, it is still not understood how they do this, nor the manner in which it is done. The lobster species called panulirus argus was able to return to its own habitat even though it was deprived of all clues of direction, and placed in a region several kilometers away from the place it was caught. An experiment done on this subject yielded striking results. Lobsters caught on the shore were placed inside a covered  lightproof container and taken to the experiment field in a truck. In the middle of the journey, magnets were placed inside the container. Some of the magnets were hung with a rope and therefore swung in an unordered way, so that the magnet field in the container were in a state of constant flux. During the second half of the journey, the lobsters were carried in the same container, but without the magnets. Throughout the whole trip, it was ensured that the containers swung freely as the truck moved. In order to further disorient the lobsters, the truck made a series of random maneuvers and circles before it went to the experiment field 37 kilometers away. All the lobsters were taken out of the truck and left overnight inside a tank with a natural magnetic field. When it was morning, the lobsters’ eyes were covered with plastic tape and it was observed how they oriented themselves just like before. It was further observed that there was no difference in orientation ability between the lobsters moved with and without magnetic field exposure. On the contrary, both groups re-oriented to the area in which they were caught without any hesitation. (June 2nd, 2003) (Nature 421, 60 - 63 (2003); doi: 10.1038/nature01226, True navigation and magnetic maps in spiny lobsters, Larry C. Boles And Kenneth J. Lohmann, Department of Biology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599, USA, Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to L.C.B. (e-mail: LBoles@email.unc.edu) 

How Have Lobsters Known About And Applied A Method Not Completely Known and Solved Even Today?

There is no doubt that it is impossible for a lobster to think about how to form a single-file formation for traversing long distances, not to mention having an ability to re-orient itself toward its home waters and further having the perseverance to find its own way under every condition. It is also impossible that these migratory behaviors formed through gradual decisions of lobsters. The migration ability of the lobster is a quality which evokes admiration, and which the lobster cannot possess on its own. The mind that thinks and plans all of these, that calculates according to its plans and delivers it to the exact place, is not the lobster’s mind. Almighty Allah Who creates everything and Who knows His every creation also knows everything that lobsters will face throughout their lives beforehand. Our Lord is the One Who bestows them with all the abilities they will need. This is only one of the indicators of Allah’s superior art in creation.


“Allah, there is no god but Him, the Living, the Self-Sustaining. He is not subject to drowsiness or sleep. Everything in the heavens and the earth belongs to Him. Who can intercede with Him except by His permission? He knows what is before them and what is behind them but they cannot grasp any of His knowledge save what He wills. His Footstool encompasses the heavens and the earth and their preservation does not tire Him. He is the Most High, the Magnificent.” (Surat al-Baqara, 255)

2011-07-13 01:12:18

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