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1-in-50 million two-tone intersex lobster dubbed ‘Bowie’ becomes TikTok sensation

What’s half-blue, half-male, half-female and tastes great with clarified butter? That would be TikTok’s newest crustacean sensation.

Jacob Knowles, a Maine lobster fisherman who has 2.6 million followers on TikTok, showed off the bewildering critter in a video he posted last Tuesday, which has been viewed more than 6.3 million times by Monday afternoon.

“This is the coolest lobster I’ve ever seen,” a visibly excited Knowles said in the clip while displaying the multicolored, hermaphroditic lobster.

“Not only it’s split 50-50 right down its back blue and normal, but if you look underneath, it’s actually half-male, half-female,” Knowles explained while manipulating the aquatic animal to reveal its dual reproductive organs.

The lobsterman added that the lobster’s blue side was male and its brown – or “normal”-colored — side was female.

Fishmonger and owner of Collingwood Seafood on Northshields fish quay Tony Mc Lean, 38, shows off a rare blue lobster caught off the coast of Northumberland at Seahouses.
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Knowles said that a friend of his had caught the rare creature and given it to him to show it on TikTok.

“[It’s] a very unique lobster. Never seen one like it, never heard of one like it,” Knowles gushed, adding that it was likely “one of the rarest lobsters in the Gulf of Maine.”

The chances of finding a two-tone lobster are 1 in 50 million, according to the University of Maine’s Lobster Institute.

A selection of lobsters at the New England Aquarium (clockwise) a blue lobster, an orange lobster, a Halloween lobster a normal lobster and a yellow lobster.
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Knowles asked his fans to decide whether he should let the lobster go, or keep it in a spacious underwater cage as “a pet” through the winter months to see if it could reproduce with itself.

In a follow-up video, which raked in 4.5 million views, Knowles said that his followers unanimously decided that he should hold onto the crustacean and see if it could lay eggs.

A naming competition followed, and TikTok users overwhelmingly voted to christen the 1-in-50 million lobster “Bowie,” after the late music icon David Bowie, whose eyes were famously two different colors, and who created the androgynous alter ego Ziggy Stardust.

rare blue lobster is seen during the unloading of the Dartmouth Crab Company fishing vessel MFV William Henry II on January 22, 2021 in Weymouth, England.
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Knowles’ subsequent videos documented his building a large metal enclosure, similar to an oversized lobster trap, for his new pet, and checking up on it.

The fisherman warned that “there is slight possibility” that Bowie wouldn’t make it, but he promised that the unique lobster would be safer from predators inside the cage. 

Knowles also called on aquariums or science centers that might be interested in adopting Bowie to contact him.

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