Lobster molt

Until I moved to Hawaii, I was not aware that lobsters molt. I only learned this when a local diver presented my wife with a lobster molt he’d recovered.

I’d seen live lobsters here, scuttling around on the sea floor, and others looking like the one in the photo. This one was moving, but only because of the action of the water on it. I used to think these were either dead or resting lobsters. In part this was because adult lobsters, which molt once or twice a year, discard a remarkably complete exoskeleton. It then takes them a few weeks for their new exoskeleton to fully harden.

This is probably a molt from a banded spiny lobster. True lobsters and their relatives have enlarged pincers on their front pair of legs. Spiny lobsters (family Palinuridae) are among the lobster varieties that don’t have those enlarged pincers.

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