Mass. Lobsterman Finds Halloween Surprise in Trap

Oct 31, 2012 4:25pm

While Halloween will be a bit delayed, understated or both for humans on the East Coast this year, no one told the region’s sea life that the holiday won’t go on after superstorm Sandy.

Take the Massachusetts fisherman who found a Halloween treat in his lobster trap that proved to be no trick.

The treat was a lobster caught last week by Dana Duhaime that was not the usual color of lobster-red but orange and black, with the two colors perfectly split down the lobster’s back.

Adding to the Halloween allure, Duhaime is a lobsterman from Salem, Mass., a town replete with a bewitching history of its own.

Duhaime found the 1-pound, female lobster, which he named “Pinchy” after the famous “Simpsons” TV lobster, in one of his traps in Bakers Channel and gave his discovery to the team at Boston’s New England Aquarium.

Click Here for Slideshow: Blue Lobster Found Off Nova Scotia.

Biologists there confirmed that Duhaime’s catch was no trick but a “split” lobster that is characterized by two distinct colors on each side of its body, something that occurs once out of every 50 to 100 million lobsters, according to a release issued by the aquarium’s spokesman, Tony LaCasse.

The split coloring in lobsters, LaCasse says, is caused by a “complete cellular division when the lobster egg is first fertilized.”  While the orange-and-black coloring of “Pinchy” seems like a Halloween once-in-a-lifetime coincidence, it’s actually the most common color combination in splits, aquarium biologists report.

Uniquely colored lobsters last made headlines in June, also in Massachusetts, when a Mansfield restaurant owner discovered five bright-orange crustaceans among his 20-crate shipment of lobsters, a one in more than 10 million find, according to marine experts.

Those particular lobsters stayed at the restaurant but, in good news for curious lobster lovers and Halloween lovers alike, “Pinchy” will soon be on public display.  The aquarium says after a quarantine period, they’ll feature her in either live animal presentations or in a habitat exhibit.

Several orange lobsters are already on display at the aquarium, along with a rarer calico lobster (estimated at 1 in 30 million) and a blue lobster (estimated at 1 in 5 million), LaCasse told ABCNews.com in June.

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