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September 3, 2013

United States

Maine—Half Red Lobster


The lobstermen of Owls Head, Maine, have seen some strangely colored lobsters in recent years, but the one pulled out of the ocean earlier this month was a first.


“We’ve caught a couple of calico ones, with orange and black spots, and we’ve seen some blue ones,” said Anna Mason of Ship to Shore Lobster Co., “but I’d never seen one that was half-red like that, split right down the middle.”


Ship to Shore donated the half-red-half-black lobster to the Gulf of Maine Research Institute in Portland, Maine, where it will live out its days alongside a blue lobster that Mason’s company passed along two years ago.


The institute reported this week when it accepted its new guest that split-colored lobsters are estimated to occur only once out of every 50 million or more.  The rarest colored lobsters are believed to be white ones, one in a 100 million, while blue ones and calico ones are comparatively more frequent, one in a million and one in 30 million, respectively, according to previously published reports.


Carl Wilson, state lobster biologist with the Department of Marine Resources, said he doesn’t know exactly how rare such a lobster is, adding that oft-quoted rarity figures should be viewed skeptically.  “I try not to quote any ‘1-in-however-many’ statistics”, he said.  “I don’t know where people get those numbers.”


Stories of oddly colored lobsters have increased in recent years, but scientists say they don’t know if that’s a sign that the actual frequency of color variants has increased, or if the finds are just better publicized with the explosion of digital camera use and social media.


Information: Anna Mason, Ship to Shore Lobster Company, 7 Wharf Street, Owls Head, Maine 04854, USA (phone 207-594-4606, email, webpage


Information: Carl Wilson, Gulf of Maine Research Institute, 350 Commercial Street, Portland, Maine 04101, USA (phone 1-207-772-2321, fax 1-207-772-6855, email, webpage


Source: (an online, subscription-based, fisheries news service).  Editor and Publisher, John Sackton (phone 1-781-861-1441, email  Half-Red Lobster Discovered in Maine Described as 1-in-50 Million Rarity.  Ken Coons (  Photo: Gulf of Maine Research Institute.  September 3, 2013.


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