This is real: Halloween lobster

Just in time for Halloween last year we introduced the rarest of specimens—a two-toned lobster with coloration just perfect for the holiday. The lobster was new to the Aquarium and was behind the scenes for routine quarantine. But this year, she is on prominent display through this Sunday, November 3!

The rare two-toned lobster that arrived at the Aquarium last year, always ready to celebrate Halloween

Salem fisherman Dana Duhaime caught the lobster last year and knew right away she was special. He arranged to donate her to the Aquarium and sent her on with the name Pinchy, in honor of a giant lobster that appeared in a Simpsons TV episode. Pinchy has grown over the past year, and the molt of her discarded but amazing, two-toned old shell will also be shown by Aquarium educators.

Perfectly split-colored lobsters are extremely rare occurring in about 1 in very 100 million lobsters. Among those rare two-toned lobster, orange and black is the most common combination. While these rare creatures sometimes show the sexual characteristics of both genders, but this lobster is a female. Learn how these splits happen on a cellular level.

Here's video from the lobster's debut last year:

This animal will be on exhibit until this Sunday. Then she'll head behind the scenes again, where she'll make periodic appearances during the Live Animal Presentations. Plan your visit to see this remarkable animal in the Northern Waters Gallery at the New England Aquarium.

Curious about lobsters? 


A fish that goes bump in the night

It lurks in the darkness…hiding within the coral crevices. Known as the black widow, this mysterious creature slithers out of its watery home at night, searching for unsuspecting prey. Divers search the inky blackness to find this elusive animal, only to be disappointed and turned away by the black beauty…

 The brotula in its natural habitat
Credit: Fishbase. Uploaded by Cláudio L. S. Sampaio

Just in time for Halloween, the Aquarium has a special guest on exhibit in the fourth floor’s Yawkey Coral Reef Center. Known as a black widow, or the less frightening name of “black brotula”, the new Stygnobrotula latebricola is only a few inches long and is native to tropical waters from the Bahamas to Brazil.

This new resident is rare to see in aquariums and is the first of its kind here at Central Wharf. However, they are also hard to see in the wild. They are known as cryptic animals, using their shallow reefs and rocky ledge homes to hide during the day. This helps this slow moving creature to avoid predators.

Lots of good places to hide!

Though it does hide from time to time, our current resident can be seen out and about looking for food. They eat small crustaceans, even parasites on other animals, and you can sometimes see small prey items floating in the exhibit with the brotula.

Out and about, looking for a mid-day snack

There’s no telling how long this creature will haunt the halls of the Aquarium. Make sure to come visit this special guest…if you dare!


Lionfish: Slow-motion Video

Just steps away from the bottom of the Giant Ocean Tank, filled with its vibrant species from the Caribbean, you'll find the Armed and Venomous exhibit. This exhibit is filled with interesting fish including the rockfish, pufferfish, and the lionfish—with its dramatic fins and destructive spines.

These days, lionfish can also be found in Caribbean reefs, but that's not a good thing. This invasive species has no natural predators in these reefs, and divers are finding them in increasing numbers. And yet... Even though they are an unwelcome sight on Caribbean reefs, they are quite beautiful. Their graceful fins and and bold stripes are captivating, and that's all the more evident in this stunning slow-motion video. Take a look.

Learn more about lionfish!
This video was also used in our first television ad campaign in decades! Watch the videos and check out last summer's full ad campaign.

A visitor's picture of the lionfish in the Armed and Venomous exhibit (Photo: Mimi Bo)

And don't forget about the other residents of the Tropical Gallery: