The American lobster is a species of lobster found on the Atlantic coast of North America in coastal and shelf waters. These benthic (bottom-dwelling) invertebrates have a diverse life history with a life span varying from one to many years. The life cycle of the American lobster begins with the planktonic phase, in which eggs are hatched and free-swimming larvae head towards the water's surface. The amount of time they stay in this stage, as well as their growth and their survival, depends on environmental conditions, such as water temperature, currents and predation.
The lobster Homarus americanus passes through 3 larval stages and a postlarval stage. Larval stages 1-3 are strictly planktonic (floating with the currents), while the post-larva begins to spend more time near the bottom, has good swimming ability and is readily recognizable as a young lobster.