Maine Lobsterman Catches Rare Purple Lobster: Fact Check


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Story:

Maine lobsterman catches extremely rare purple lobster

Other Versions

1. Extremely rare purple lobster caught by lobsterman

2. A Maine state Fisherman caught this rare and impressive purple lobster on a recent trip to the ocean.

Image about Maine Lobsterman Catches Rare Purple Lobster

Fact Check:

Some picture messages doing rounds on social media and image sharing platforms allege to show a Maine Lobsterman Caught a Rare Purple Lobster. Accompanying images appear to show the purple colored lobster alongside a usual colored one. Lobsters appear in different colors, so many viewers thought the incident is real. No, the claims are not true – the purple colored lobster in pictures is rather Photoshop making.

Origin of Story

The claims in question appeared on some online outlets, most of which pointed to an article on Portland, Maine News and Weather website WMTW.com as the source of the story. The article published on 28th October 2019 is not available after deletion. However, there’s a cached page of it with the below text:

Maine lobsterman catches extremely rare purple lobster

WINTER HARBOR, Maine —A Maine lobsterman said he was shocked when he netted a rare purple lobster last week.

Keith Potter netted the purple lobster on Tuesday off the coast of Winter Harbor.

Marine biologists at the University of Maine Darling Marine Center said purple lobsters are extremely rare, but possible.

Professor Robert Steneck said lobster shell pigments are complicated and have colors including blue, red, yellow and more.

“Blue lobsters show up frequently, sometimes red, sometimes yellow and even white. A blue and red variation that we call purple is not impossible,” Steneck said in an email.

It’s unclear what the odds of catching a purple lobster are.

“Pigment mutations are estimated to be around one in a million but I think those are just guesses,” Steneck said.

Steneck said with Maine lobstermen seeing millions of lobsters, finding these “rare” lobsters is not as unusual as most people would think.

The article mentions Keith Potter, the Maine lobsterman’s shock after he netted a rare purple lobster off the coast of Winter Harbor. It also mentions Marine biologists at the University of Maine, Darling Marine Center saying purple lobsters are extremely rare, but possible. This reminds us of an old factual story about an incredibly rare Half Blue Male-Female Lobster off the coast of Newfoundland.

Content from the aforementioned article on WMTW.com website appeared in some local news outlets. Later, the story became popular even on social media. Lobsters in fact appear in different colors like Red, Blue and Yellow, and Purple color Lobster too cannot be overruled. For example, below is an image of a Purple reef lobster with dark spots.

Not Pictures of Rare Purple Lobster

Despite the popularity of the claims online, there are no other credible news reports about the rare purple color lobster appearing in pictures. On the other hand, the Maine Fisherman Keith Potter clarified in a Facebook post the story about purple lobster was a joke he posted in a closed group. Eventually, someone took the Photoshopped lobster pictures and shared them as a real find. Believing it real, some local news outlets also ran a story around it. Consequently, the pictures and the story fooled many viewers around the world, including some experts.

Hoax or Fact:

Hoax.


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Prashanth Damarla
Debunker

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