Two mutant lobsters caught off Cornish coast

Image caption One of the lobsters had three cutting claws

Two mutant lobsters - one with three cutting claws and the second with two sets of crushing claws - have been caught by a Cornish fisherman.

Both crustaceans were caught off the Falmouth coast in the pots of Mylor fisherman Ned Bailey.

Lobsters, like other crustaceans, have the ability to re-grow limbs and claws if they lose or damage them.

Experts claim the lobsters could be related and therefore it could be a "shared genetic mutation".

Blue Reef Aquarium's deputy manager, Christine Comery said: "It's not unheard of for a lobster to be found with some kind of mutation to its claws, but it's really quite unusual for two to have been hauled up in the pots of the same fishermen.

'Genetic mutation'

"Although no one can be certain, the most likely reason for these mutations is that the lobsters' ability to regenerate lost limbs has somehow got confused and, rather than just replacing a missing set of claws, they've either ended up growing the wrong type of claw or adding an extra one."

The Blue Reef Aquarium said that "despite their unusual claw formations both lobsters appear to be in excellent health".

"As these lobsters were found close to each other there's a chance that there may be some kind of shared genetic mutation carried within a group of related crustaceans," Ms Comery added.

Lobsters are among the planet's oldest species, with fossil remains found dating back more than 100 million years. They are also extremely long-lived with some individuals reaching ages in excess of 60 years.

Their prey includes crabs, mussels and clams which are grabbed by the legs using the cutter claw while the crusher claw is usually used to break open the carapace.

As with most members of the crustacean family, lobsters are also able to regenerate missing eyes.

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