Six-Clawed Lobster Donated To Maine State Aquarium: What Caused Bizarre Mutation?

By Danny Choy on September 10, 2013 9:26 AM EDT

six-clawed lobster
Lola the six-clawed lobster, caught by Richard Figueiredo, is now in Maine State Aquarium (Photo: Richard Figueiredo/Rachel Leah)

A six-clawed lobster weighing four pounds was caught off the coast of Hyannis, Massachusetts. Captain Peter Brown and lobsterman Richard Figueiredo recognized the significance of the lobster and decided to donate the creature to the Maine State Aquarium. Captain Brown and lobsterman Figueiredo's boat, the Rachel Leah, is featured on the Discovery Channel's "Lobster Wars" TV show.

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The six-clawed lobster features a normal right claw, but features a freakish cluster of five claws on the left. According to biologists, Lola is approximately 10 years old. Affectionately named Lola, the lobster will spend the first couple of days to adapt to its tank before the Aquarium decide to bring the lobster out on display. What's more, Lola the six-clawed lobster will share its homes with fellow special lobsters including the rare two-toned lobsters.

While two-toned lobsters may be rare, Lola the six-clawed lobster is one-of-a-kind. According to marine scientist David Libby of the Maine Department of Marine Resources, Lola is a real genetic marvel.

"Sometimes the genes will just get a little mixed and it will grow a funny claw," Libby said. "But I've never seen anything like this."

"This claw deformity is a genetic mutation," said Maine State Aquarium Manager Aimee Hayden-Roderiques. "Sometimes they have this throughout their life, sometimes this happens during a regeneration from a damaged or lost claw."

Lola the six-clawed lobster is expected to attract a lot of attention when she goes on display at the Maine State Aquarium. The aquarium, which is located in Boothbay Harbor midway down the state's coastline, welcomes approximately 35,000 visitors each year.

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