Pinchy, the Halloween lobster - Photo Courtesy New England Aquarium
Pinchy, the Halloween lobster - Photo Courtesy New England Aquarium
Last October, a Salem, Massachusetts, fisherman pulled up this half-orange, half-black, perfectly split down the middle lobster and donated it to the New England Aquarium in Boston. Because all new animals require at least a 30-day quarantine before going on display, the Halloween lobster did not make it on exhibit in time for the holiday last year. But this year, Pinchy will be on display through Sunday, November 3, along with the molt of her discarded two-toned old shell. Pinchy was named in honor of a giant lobster that appeared in a TV episode of "The Simpsons."

According to the Aquarium, perfectly split-colored lobsters are extremely rare, occurring in about one in every 100 million lobsters. Lobster scientists theorize that the bizarre duality of splits is caused by a complete cellular division when the lobster egg is first fertilized. Splits sometimes show the sexual characteristics of both genders, but this lobster is a female. Orange and black is the most common combination in lobsters that have a perfectly symmetric split in body color. One side has the normal, very dark, live lobster coloration and the other side has a distinct pumpkin glow. The normal mottled dark color of live American lobsters is a product of red, yellow and blue hues that are bound together by proteins. Orange lobsters or half-orange lobsters lack the blue coloration.