Salem Fisherman Catches Orange and Black Lobster: Just in Time for Halloween
No, it is not the Aquarium playing a Halloween trick! A lobster with an orange side and a black side, perfectly split down the middle, has just arrived in its appropriate Halloween colors. Last week, a lobsterman named Dana Duhaime—believe it or not, from Salem, Mass.—discovered the small, one pound female lobster in one of his traps in Bakers Channel off of Beverly, Mass. Beverly was once part of Salem and shares a harbor with the witch-renowned city.
Bill Murphy, an Aquarium biologist, picked up the seasonally colored crustacean Sunday, but Hurricane Sandy delayed the lobster’s media debut until today’s more appropriate time.
2012 has been an exceptional year for a plethora of strangely colored lobsters from yellows to blues and calicos. “Split” lobsters are even more bizarre as they can feature two distinct colors on each side. (Meet another split lobster here.) Split lobsters are roughly estimated to occur once in every 50 to 100 million lobsters. In the last ten years, “splits” have been caught in Maine and Rhode Island. This past summer, splits were discovered in both Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
Orange and black is the most common color array in splits as one side has the normal, very dark, live lobster coloration and the other side has a distinct pumpkin glow. The normal mottled dark brown/grey color of American lobsters is a product of red, yellow and blue pigments that are bound together by proteins. Orange lobsters have their unusual color due to a lack of the blue pigment.
Blue lobster at the New England Aquarium
Orange lobster at the New England Aquarium
Lobster scientists theorize that the bizarre duality of splits is caused by a complete cellular split when the lobster egg is first fertilized. Splits are often hermaphrodites showing sexual characteristics of both genders. However, this lobster is a female.
New Halloween lobster at the New England Aquarium
Beyond its normal rarity and exceptional seasonally appropriate costume, this lobster also has impeccable timing and the perfect hometown! She'll stay behind the scenes for a bit, just until she gets settled. But check out this video for your Halloween lobster fix!
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