What does a shedding lobster look like?

Most people don’t know that lobsters actually shed their shells from time to time, especially in the springtime. The brand new shells are as soft as mush, and are known in the industry as “jelly bellies.”

Chris Shorr, BDN.

Chris Shorr, BDN.

Although they’re extremely weak in this stage they still manage to show up in traps regularly, but they’re too soft to sell in bulk so lobstermen usually wind up taking them home for supper or giving them away to family or friends.

As frequently as jelly bellies are caught though, it’s still rare even for lobstermen to see them in the actual molting process.

On Thursday the Gulf of Maine Research Institute published rare video on their YouTube page of a lobster shedding its shell in one of their holding tanks.

To make the footage even more unique, the featured lobster has a blue shell. According to the University of Maine’s Lobster Institute, the odds of catching a blue lobster are greater than 1 in 2 million.

Check it out:

Here are some other photos from 2014 of a lobster found shedding in a trap on Casco Bay (click to enlarge):

Chris Shorr

About Chris Shorr

Chris is a sixth generation Portlander who loves all things Maine. He has worked with mentally ill and marginalized adults at a Portland non-profit, on a lobster boat in Casco Bay, at several high-end Portland restaurants, and at a local meat packing plant. He also ran for Portland City Council in 2013, wrote a weekly column in the now defunct Portland Daily Sun, and currently writes a weekly column in The Portland Phoenix.