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!