The Anatomy of a Maine Lobster: What parts of the lobster should you eat? - Pine Tree Seafood

The Anatomy of a Maine Lobster: What parts of the lobster should you eat?

The Anatomy of a Maine Lobster: What parts of the lobster should you eat?

No matter if you’re a biology major and curious about the anatomy of your lobster, or you’re dating a girl from Maine and want to impress her with all of your lobster lingo, you’re interested in learning more about the different parts of a Maine lobster.

Which parts can you eat in a lobster? Which parts shouldn’t you eat? We’ll cover all that and more in this post.


Learn the major parts of the lobster below and soon, friends and family will turn to you as the lobster pro.


The shell is the exoskeleton of the lobster and molts in order for the lobster to grow. 

Read more about the process in our hard shell vs. soft shell post.


This is the armor-like part of the shell that is attached to the legs and claws.


The knuckle joints connect the carapace to the claws.

Legs & Claws

Lobsters have 8 walking legs and two claws: one pincer claw and one crusher claw. The crusher claw is larger and is used to crush prey; while the pincer (or cutter) claw is used to cut prey up.

Learn how to crack a cooked lobster here. 


Attached to the carapace is the long tail, which holds the most amount of meat in the lobster.


As you can probably guess, the four antennas stick out of the lobster’s head, near the eyes. The two larger antennae are for searching or feeling around the ocean floor, while the smaller two antennae are used for smelling.


The lobster’s eyes sit on long, thin stalks which can move around and allow the reflective eyes to move around easily to see.

Holding a Maine fresh live lobster

Inside the Lobster

Inside, you’ll find different parts that you may not be accustomed to in other seafood, including: 

  • Blood: when cooked, lobster blood is white (and looks like egg whites) and when uncooked, it is clear.
  • Tomalley: the green tomalley located in the carapace is the lobster’s liver and pancreas.
  • Roe: in female lobsters, you’ll find red or coral eggs (or black when uncooked) along the base of the body and tail.


Now that you have a good sense of all the lobster parts, let’s get into what you can eat and the different potential flavors you’ll experience.

  1. Tail
    With the most amount of meat in the lobster, this part is the most sought-after. Twist the tail off the rest of the body (carapace) and use a fork to pull the tail meat out. This tends to be the toughest meat in the lobster.
  2. Claws
    Twist each claw off and crack open with a nutcracker, then use a small fork to extract the sweet, silky meat.
  3. Knuckles
    After removing the claw meat, extract the knuckle meat by twisting and cracking each knuckle, then using a fork or finger to remove the sweet, delicate meat.
  4. Legs
    Twist and break off each small walking leg. Then bite and squeeze the sweet meat out with your teeth.
  5. Ribs
    Some enjoy scraping the excess meat along the interior carapace shell after enjoying the rest of the lobster meat. (And save the rest of the body and head to make a delicious seafood stock.)
  6. Roe
    Many lobster connoisseurs enjoy eating the lobster eggs on their own, but they can also be enjoyed in sauces, bisques, or stocks too. Ensure eggs are red (cooked) rather than black (uncooked).
  7. Tomalley
    The green tomalley is found throughout the lobster. While some find this mustard-like part of the lobster a delicacy, it’s important to note that because this is the liver and pancreas, it filters pollutants from the water and can be harmful when consumed in large quantities.

Now that you have a better understanding of the parts of a lobster and what you can (and can’t eat), we think we can officially call you a lobster pro now.

Ready to handle a Maine lobster for yourself? Order today or come into our Scarborough, Maine location to purchase fresh caught Maine lobster.