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A giant lobster which is thought to be more than 50 years old has been saved from the pot by a West Sussex fisherman and donated to Portsmouth’s Blue Reef Aquarium.
The massive crustacean, which measures close to a metre in length and weighs more than four kilogrammes, was landed in 14 metres of water in Bracklesham Bay by fisherman Marcus Hyde on his boat ‘Hey Jude’ whilst fishing for sole.
However due to its extraordinary dimensions – including hand-sized claws – it was deemed too old and too special to be eaten.
Now the mighty lobster is looking forward to a peaceful retirement in the aquarium’s naturally-themed sandy seabed display.
Blue Reef’s Lindsay Holloway said:
“He’s a fantastic specimen and by his size alone he has got to be at least 50 years old.
“He is an amazing creature and it’s quite an achievement to have reached such an impressive age.
“There are loads of lobster-sized nooks and crevices in the display and he’ll be able to live out the remainder of his days in extremely comfortable surroundings safe from the pot!”
All lobsters are born with a cutting and a crushing claw. There is a 50:50 chance of developing a right- or left-crusher depending upon which claw is used more frequently.
The lobsters prey consists of crabs, which are grabbed by the legs using the cutter claw while the crusher claw breaks open the carapace.
Lobsters are among the planet’s oldest inhabitants with fossil remains found dating back more than 100 million years. They are also extremely long-lived with some individuals reaching ages in excess of 80 years.
A lobster’s claws grow much faster than the rest of its body. In one giant specimen it’s claws were twice the weight of the rest of the animal.
As with most members of the crustacean family, lobsters are also able to re-grow lost limbs and even re-generate missing eyes.
The heaviest recorded crustacean is an Atlantic lobster nicknamed Mike who was caught in 1934 and tipped the scales at an awesome 19kg.