Maine lobster shedding its shell caught in photos

When a lobster first sheds its shell, the new shell is so soft that it feels like a rotten banana.

Occasionally they come up in lobster traps, and are commonly referred to as “jelly bellies”. They’re so soft that an elastic band would crush their claws, and they can’t be sold for wholesale because they would get crushed. Usually the captain or one of his crewmen will take them home for a free dinner.

For all the jelly bellies that I’ve seen come up in my captain’s traps, I’ve never seen one actually shed its shell- until this past week.

This particular lobster didn’t look any different at first, we measured him and banded him with the rest of them and dropped him in the holding barrel.

Several minutes later we noticed that he was actually shedding his shell in the barrel, so we put him on the stern rail and documented the process. I even helped him along a little bit!

Check it out:

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 Note: This lobster was treated humanely and with great care… all the way up until he wound up on my captain’s dinner plate that night, at which point he was devoured without remorse.

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.