A rare four-clawed lobster was discovered in a shipment from Nova Scotia. Photo:

A rare four-clawed lobster was discovered in a shipment from Nova Scotia. Photo: Courtesy of New England Ocean Cluster

Ready Seafood in Portland, Maine, received a shipment of lobsters from Nova Scotia that included one very odd and very rare specimen: a lobster with four claws.

In more than a decade as Ready Seafood’s in-house marine biologist, Curt Brown had never seen a lobster with four claws, an unusual trait probably caused by a genetic mutation.

Normal lobsters have two claws, one for pinching and the other for crushing. This rare lobster has three fully formed claws on one arm. It’s a female lobster that was likely caught in Canadian waters, Brown told the Associated Press, adding that his wife promptly named it Clawdette.

“If this lobster had two normal claws, it would’ve ended up down Commercial Street or somewhere in Shanghai,” Brown said.

In other words, Clawdette would’ve landed on somebody’s dinner plate.

Instead, Brown planned to give the crustacean to the state Department of Marine Resources, with the suggestion the agency try to breed it in captivity.

Rare lobsters with different colorations ranging from orange to blue to rainbow, presumably the result of genetic defects, have been documented. According to the AP, the University of Maine said that blue lobsters occur once in 2 million, while other colors are much rarer.

How rare is a four-clawed lobster?

Adam Baukus, a marine researcher with the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, told the AP it’s hard to say how uncommon it is.

“There are all these traits that could have some weird genetic twist, and this is one that we rarely see,” Baukus said.

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