#117: Video of a White Lobster Molting

As you know, we have been doing a lot of work with lobsters the last few months. Justin even posted a video of one of his lobsters molting. Just this week, Anita taped another lobster molting, but you'll notice this lobster is a surprising color.

The lobster in this video is one of hundreds being raised at the Aquarium's Lobster Research and Rearing Facility. Anita, manager of the lab, happened to stumble upon this lobster halfway through molting. The first thing you might notice is that the lobster is white. This lobster was not born this way, but rather it has been eating a diet that lacks the pigment astaxanthin. Astaxanthin provides a lobster with its shell color, so if a lobster doesn't eat astaxanthin, they will turn white! For more information on lobster shell color and research, visit the Lobster Lab's web page.

The old shell is a light blue color, and the lobster itself is white. At the start of the video, the lobster is trying to get its claws, abdomen and tail out of the old shell. The lobster definitely looks like it is having a difficult time. Although the molting process only takes a few minutes, a lobster spends much of its life preparing to molt or recovering from molting. After molting, the lobster will bring water into its tissues and increase in size – sometimes it will gain up to 50% of its previous weight. The new shell hardens over the next couple days and the lobster will eat its old shell for nutrition.

Thanks Anita for the great video!



  1. Will the white lobster turn red when Anita cooks it? :-D OK, she won't actually cook it, but does the white lobster have the chemical that turns red in the lobster pot?


  2. The pigment astaxanthin mentioned above is what gives lobsters that typical red color when they are cooked. The white lobster in the video has been eating little to no astaxanthin (which is why it's white). So theoretically, if it were cooked, it would not turn red. I would assume it would stay white when cooked. Maybe this needs further scientific investigation. I can start boiling a pot right now...just kidding!


Have a question for the trainers? Send it to them in the space below. The moderator will share the question.