Massive Lobster Claw Found off Coast of Wales Hints at Giant Crustacean Living in Water

The lobster claw is much larger than average-sized lobster claws, implying that its owner is extremely large. Photo courtesy of Shaun Krijnen

Last week, a marine biologist found a giant 8-inch lobster claw off the shore of Wales, and judging from its size, the owner is believed to be between 2 and 3 feet long—about three times the size of an average lobster. The claw is just a molting, meaning that the massive owner is likely still out there on the Welsh coastline waiting to be discovered.

Shaun Krijnen, a marine biologist who runs his own oyster and mussel farm in the village of Llanfairpwllgwyngyll in Wales recently pulled a shockingly large lobster claw and carapace, the hard undershell of a crustacean, onto his boat while fishing for oysters.

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"I have found numerous lobsters and claws in that time but nothing as large as this," Krijnen wrote in an email to Newsweek. "As I was working in the dark my headtorch caught the shine from the inside face of the claw which reflected the light. Even from where I stood it looked to be quite large and I was hoping the whole lobster was there."

The whole lobster was not there, but Krijnen believes it is likely still alive and thriving out on the British seafront. This is because the carapace was opened along the molt line, implying that the lobster had not died but had merely shed its shell in order to grow a new one. This means that the crustacean is not only likely still alive, but also even larger than the claw implies.

"It is nice to think it is still out there and may return at some point in the future," wrote Krijnen.

The claw is large enough to do serious damage if it clamped down on a human hand. Photo Courtesy of Shaun Krijnen

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According to Krijnen, based on the size of the claw, he predicts that the owner is over 50 years old, "although it is hard to be accurate on the could be much older."

Commercial "jumbo" lobsters that we are used to eating measure only about 5 inches in carapace length, and weigh between 3 and 4 pounds, although the average non-jumbo lobster only weighs around 1 pound. This lobster is estimated to weigh about 17 pounds and measure between 2 and 3 feet, The Daily Mail reported. This isn't far off from the largest lobster ever caught in Maine, which, according to Reuters, weighed 27 pounds and was just a little over 3 feet long. However, the largest lobster ever caught in the world was captured in Nova Scotia, Canada, and weighed 44 pounds, measured 3 and a half feet long and was estimated to be over a century old.

Lobsters molt in order to grow larger, and they grow their entire lives. In addition to growing, lobsters can also reproduce for their entire lives. For these reasons there is a common misconception that the crustaceans can live forever, and while they do have pretty impressive lifespans (just look at the Nova Scotia giant) Live Science reports that not even lobsters are lucky enough to have uncovered the key to immortality.

Compared to average lobsters, the recently found claw is massive. Photo Courtesy of Shaun Krijnen