Rock Lobster, Indeed: Rare Bicolored Crustacean Taking Social Media by Storm

Dec 5, 2023

Thought Question: Imagine discovering something in nature that's incredibly unique and different from anything you've seen before. What kind of unusual creature would you hope to find, and why?

A lobsterman’s one-in-50 million catch now has a name to go along with its social media fame: “Bowie.”

Bowie is a very rare bicolored lobster. It was hauled up last month off the coast of Maine by a friend of social media star Jacob Knowles. Knowles often features informative videos about crustaceans and lobster fishing on his social media channels. He posted about the red-and-blue colored creature. The video quickly went viral. It got almost 9 million views in a matter of days.

"I was very blown away by it," Knowles told NPR.    

Knowles asked his millions of followers to suggest names for the two-toned lobster. “Two Face,” “Icy Hot,” and “Lobstery McLobsterface” were offered. But “Bowie” won out with over 50,000 votes. The name refers to the late British rock star David Bowie. He had heterochromia. That means his eyes were two different colors.     

Bowie the lobster has another amazing feature. While sporting a red half and a blue half, it’s also both male and female.

"There are these embryo mutations or changes in that ontogenetic development," an expert at the New England Aquarium explained to NPR. "The combination of embryos or division that basically make two different animals."

Knowles usually sells most of the lobsters he catches. But Bowie doesn’t need to worry about ending up on anyone’s plate. Knowles worked with the Bar Harbor Oceanarium to set up a special tank at his home. There, Bowie will spend the rest of its days. It will be a family pet and educational resource for the harbor community.  

Photo from Instagram courtesy of @jknowles831.

Which of the following ideas is highlighted by the author throughout the story? (Common Core RI.5.3; RI.6.3)
a. the power of social media in naming rare creatures
b. the role celebrities play in the discovery of unique animals
c. the scientific reasons behind Bowie's unusual appearance
d. the fascination with and celebration of nature's rare and exceptional discoveries
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