Canadian Lobster Vs Maine Lobster: What Are The Differences?

Written by Jeremiah Wright
Updated: February 27, 2023
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Key Points

  • Canadian and Maine lobsters are from the Nephropsidae family, and they spend their lives dwelling along the ocean floor.
  • Both of these crustaceans are decapods, meaning they have ten legs.
  • Canadian lobsters outnumber every other type of lobster caught and sold.
  • Differences in shell density come from differences in water temperatures.

Several ocean crustaceans fall into the lobster family. Despite similarities in lifestyles, appearance, and diets, most lobster species are different from each other. The Canadian lobster and Maine lobster are two of the most well-known shellfish globally due to their popularity as a seafood delicacy. However, comparing both of these crustaceans reveals that they are much different than most people realize. 

Canadian and Maine lobsters are from the Nephropsidae family, and they spend their lives dwelling along the ocean floor. Both of these crustaceans are decapods, meaning they have ten legs. They are widely believed to have only eight legs, but this is a common misconception. All lobster types have broad tails that they can use to swim backward, away from possible threats. 

This article will more closely examine Canadian lobster vs Maine lobster and the key aspects that make them different. 

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Comparing Canadian Lobster Vs Maine Lobster 

Canadian lobsters can live longer on land.
Canadian LobsterMaine Lobster
RangeCoast of CanadaEastern coast of North America
Cold or warm waterColdwaterColdwater
DietShrimp, fish, vegetationWorms, fish, other crustaceans
Average lengthThree feetThree feet 
PredatorsLarge fish, humans, sealsHumans, eels, larger crustaceans

Differences Between Canadian And Maine Lobsters

The major differences between Canadian and Maine lobsters are appearance, habitat, range, prey, and relationships with humans. 

When comparing the Canadian and Maine lobsters, it is easy to see the traits they share and the ones they don’t. These crustaceans have similar colorings, lifespans, and hunting habits. They are both cold-water lobsters and have more in common than warm-water lobsters. 

Let’s delve into their distinctions below.

Canadian Lobster Vs Maine Lobster: Appearance

Canadian lobster

Canadian lobsters have thicker shells and are a little larger.


Upon first glance, Canadian lobsters and Maine lobsters may just look slightly different. Canadian lobsters are a little larger, which is because they have thicker shells. In addition to differences in shell density, they may vary slightly in color. Canadian and Maine lobsters are typically found with greenish-brown or black shells. This can make it difficult to tell them apart at first without looking more closely at their shells or the region they were caught. 

The smaller size and thinner shells of Maine lobsters have made them a preferred delicacy over Canadian lobsters. Differences in shell density come from differences in water temperatures. In colder areas, where Canadian lobsters are found, they have to grow thicker shells to survive. Maine lobsters in warmer waters have no reason to form denser shells. 

Canadian Vs Maine Lobster: Habitat


Maine lobsters are commonly found off the coast of Maine.


Lobsters can be found in every ocean around the world, but different types of these crustaceans are found in different regions. Both the Canadian lobster and Maine lobsters are commonly found near the areas they are named after. 

Canadian lobsters can be found along the entire coast of Canada. They have a broader habitat than Maine lobsters, mainly because they are adapted to withstand colder temperatures. Maine lobsters are distributed across the Atlantic North American coast but are more commonly seen off the coast of Maine. 

Lobsters have become a major symbol of Maine, even though most of the lobsters in the market are caught in different regions. According to George H Lewis in Food and Foodways, Canadian lobsters outnumber every other type of lobster caught and sold. Nevertheless, these crustaceans represent the state of Maine more than any other symbol could. 

These lobsters prefer to be in shallow waters but can be found at depths of up to 1500 feet. Canadian lobsters are more likely to be found in deeper water. Like most other types of lobster, both of these crustaceans prefer to stay close to their burrows. They make homes in rocky areas to provide cover from predators. The main reason they leave their den is to hunt. As adults, lobsters may travel up to a few miles in one day.

Canadian Vs Maine Lobster: Range 

Canadian lobster

Canadian lobster can survive for 72 hours out of the water.


Maine and Canadian lobsters can be found along the coast of North America. While every ocean is home to these hard-shelled creatures, they prefer to stay near the shoreline. Both these types of lobsters are commonly found in depths from 13 to 164 feet but may travel as deep as 1200 or 1500 feet. 

Since Canadian lobsters can withstand colder waters, they are often found at greater depths than Maine lobsters. These crustaceans thrive at temperatures ranging from 2℃ to 20℃. While lobsters are ocean-dwelling animals, they can survive for a short time on land. 

Maine lobsters can survive for 48 hours out of the water, and Canadian lobsters can survive for 72 hours. Canadian lobsters are said to be able to live longer on land because of how thick their shells are. The ability to survive on land is vital to keeping lobsters fresh as a delicacy. Lobsters being kept alive during transport is the key to creating fresh seafood. This is the reason lobsters are considered fresher the closer you are to the coast. 

Canadian Vs Maine Lobster: Predators And Prey

Since Canadian and Maine lobsters share some of their range, they also face similar threats. They have similar diets to most other lobster species and scavenge in addition to hunting. For the most part, lobsters eat small fish, other crustaceans, worms, and algae. In some cases, lobsters have been known to cannibalize each other. This is mainly seen in captive lobsters and is rare in the wild. 

Canadian and Maine lobster diets include:

While lobsters may be eaten by seals, large fish, or eels, the main threats they face come from humans. Many lobster species, including the Canadian and Maine, are at risk of being overfished for human consumption. This is because lobsters have become a famous seafood dish. Pollution has also been known to cause shell rot and other diseases in lobsters. 

Many lobsters found in restaurants and markets are generally only 5 to 7 years of age. In spite of this, lobsters typically have long lifespans, with an average of 45 to 50 years in the wild. Both Canadian and Maine lobsters can even live up to, if not longer, than 100. The oldest captive lobster on record lived to be 140 years of age.

Canadian Lobster Vs Maine Lobster: Human Interaction 

maine lobster

Lobsters turn red when cooked.


Lobsters have become a famous delicacy around the world and are one of the most common animals caught by commercial fisheries. Commercial lobster fishing is a billion-dollar industry. Each year, over 200,000 tons of lobster are harvested. Maine lobsters are considered to be sweeter and more tender due to their softer shells. However, Canadian lobsters are larger and known to provide more meat.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © LittlePerfectStock/

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About the Author

I hold seven years of professional experience in the content world, focusing on nature, and wildlife. Asides from writing, I enjoy surfing the internet and listening to music.

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