Page last updated at 11:37 GMT, Wednesday, 7 October 2009 12:37 UK

Mammoth lobster crawls into pot

Neptune's big claw is used to crush crab shells and feast on their flesh

An 8lb (3.7kg) monster lobster thought to be more than 50 years old and measuring 2ft 6ins (75cm) in length has moved into an aquarium in Hastings.

Neptune's claws are the size of fists and his right claw - the one used for crushing crabs - is so heavy he can barely stand up when out of the water.

He was given to the Sussex town's Blue Reef Aquarium after a local fisherman found him in one of his pots.

Staff at the aquarium said Neptune's claws had the strength of bolt cutters.

Spokeswoman Kate Buss said the colossal crustacean was thought to be one of the biggest living specimens caught locally in recent times.

But she said even heavyweight Neptune was dwarfed by the record holder - an Atlantic lobster nicknamed Mike who weighed 42lb (19kg) and was caught in 1934.

Even we are not taking any chance with Neptune
Kate Buss

She said: "Neptune's in fantastic condition. His claws are literally the size of fists but his right claw is truly impressive.

"It's used for crushing and is so heavy that he has difficulty supporting its weight when he's out of the water.

"We're all used to handling crustaceans of all shapes and sizes but even we are not taking any chance with Neptune as those claws have the crushing pressure of bolt cutters."

She said Neptune's heavy right claw was his crushing claw and his left was his cutting claw.

Every lobster has a crusher - but there is a 50:50 chance of whether it is developed on the right or left side, depending on which claw is used most frequently.

Lobsters feed on crabs which they grab by the legs using their cutter claw and then break open with their crusher claw.

According to the aquarium, lobsters are among the planet's oldest inhabitants with fossil remains dating back more than a hundred million years.

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