Gone Outdoors

How to Tell If a Lobster Is Male or Female

by Mel Frank

Lobsters make for a great meal, and are also enjoyable to catch while fishing. Typically, a female lobster is tastier and larger, making this the best type of lobster to keep when fishing. No matter if you are fishing for recreation, fishing for food, or are choosing a lobster from your local seafood restaurant or store, it is sometimes necessary to make a gender determination between male and female lobsters.

1. Feel the back of the lobster's swimmerets. These are the small flaps at the base of the tail. On the underside, the swimmerets will either be hard, or soft and spongy. Hard flaps indicate a male lobster, while soft flaps indicate a female lobster.

2. Examine the size of the lobster's tail. When comparing a male to a female, the female will have a wider tail, which comes in useful when she is carrying eggs.

3. Choose lobsters that weigh approximately 7 pounds when fishing for food, which contain heartier meat. Lobsters larger than 7 pounds tend to have meat that is more stringy and less flavorful.


  • A fail-safe means to determine the sex of a lobster, albeit after it is cooked, deals with tomalley and roe.
  • Tomalley is part of the lobster's digestive tract and turns green when it is cooked. This is a male.
  • If your lobster has roe, unfertilized eggs that are red or coral in color, this is a female.
  • Although an acquired taste, many find the tomalley and roe to be delicacies.

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