Just in time for Halloween, a peculiar orange and black lobster was discovered off Beverly this week, the New England Aquarium said.
Dana Duhaime, a lobsterman from Salem, discovered the crustacean Sunday in one of his traps in Bakers Channel. An aquarium biologist picked up the one-pound female and brought it to the aquarium for its debut after Hurricane Sandy.
The “split” coloring occurs once in every 50 to 100 million lobsters, and scientists believe this occurs during cellular division when the lobster egg is first fertilized, the aquarium said.
Orange and black is one of the most common color combinations. One side typically has the muddled dark brown or gray color, caused by a mix of the red, yellow, and blue pigments found in American lobsters. Orange coloring appears when they lack the blue pigment, the aquarium said.
Split lobsters also often show sexual characteristics of both genders. But this festive crustacean is a female and has been named Pinchy by Duhaime, in reference to the lobster that appeared in an episode of “The Simpsons.”
The lobster will be quarantined before it appears in one of the aquarium’s habitat tanks or is used for live animal presentations, said aquarium spokesman Tony LaCasse.