The Internet is flooded with images of animals dressed up for Halloween, but the orange-and-black lobster pictured with this post is revealing its true Halloween colors (no tricks), albeit very odd colors for an American lobster. The rare “split” lobster, bright orange and black, was caught in a trap last week by a fisherman from Salem, Massachusetts. (Where else?)
It was donated to the New England Aquarium and was scheduled to make its media debut before Wednesday, but Hurricane Sandy interrupted those plans, and the one-pound female crustacean instead was unveiled, fittingly, on Halloween.
According to the aquarium blog, split lobsters occur at a ratio of roughly one in 50 to 100 million lobsters. In the past 10 years they’ve been found off Maine and Rhode Island and, more recently, off Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
Lobsters also come in other colors, very sporadically, and 2012 has been a banner year for bizarre-colored specimens. They’ve been hauled up in blues, oranges, and yellows–even calico-colored.
The aquarium explains that the normal coloration of wild lobsters (mottled dark brown/gray) is “a product of red, yellow, and blue pigments that are bound together by proteins.”
Odd colors are the result of some interruption of the normal pigmentation process. Orange lobsters, for example, are explained by a lack of blue pigment.
Split lobsters may achieve their coloration because of a “cellular split” when the lobster egg is first fertilized.
The aquarium blog says of its soon-to-be star attraction: “Beyond its normal rarity and exceptional seasonally appropriate costume, this lobster also has impeccable timing and the perfect hometown!”
She will go on public display, the aquarium says, after a brief observation period.
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