Photo in the News: Lobster Caught "Half Cooked" in Maine

Two-toned lobster photo
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July 20, 2006—Batman fans will remember Two-Face, the villain with a mug that's half handsome and half gruesome. Recently a Maine lobsterman caught a different kind of two-faced prey—a lobster that looks half raw and half cooked.

Alan Robinson of Steuben, Maine, hauled up this two-toned lobster last week while bringing in his catch near the town of Bar Harbor (see Maine map).

Half of the animal is mottled brown, while the other is bright orange—the color lobsters turn after they've been boiled.

In his 20 years of catching the crustaceans, Robinson says, he has never seen anything like it.

"I thought someone was playing a trick on me," he told the Bangor Daily News. "Once I saw what it was … it was worth seeing."

He wanted others to see it, too, so Robinson donated his unusual catch to Maine's Mount Desert Oceanarium, where experts were able to shed some light on the find. Two-toned lobsters, they explain, are rare but not unheard of.

The shells of American, or Maine, lobsters usually sport a combination of yellow, red, and blue pigments. But the animals grow symmetrically, with each half of the body developing independently of the other.

In the case of Robinson's catch, half of the lobster's shell was lacking the blue pigment, giving it the appearance of having been cooked to a turn.

All this makes Robinson's fifty-fifty find one for the record books, the Oceanarium's staffers say.

The aquarium has received only three two-toned lobsters in 35 years, they note, and the odds of finding one that's exactly half and half is about 1 in 50 million.

Blake de Pastino

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