An unlikely TikTok star has racked up millions of views for being the most unusual and coolest viral sensation people have seen in a long while.
Who is it? Well, it’s a multi-sex, multi-coloured lobster, of course.
Last week, Jacob Knowles, a fisherman from Maine, found the extremely rare crustacean that is half brown, half blue with the colours perfectly split down its body. The lobster is also half-male and half-female.
Mr Knowles, who was already a very popular fisherman content creator with over 2 million followers on TikTok, took to social media to show off his latest discovery.
In a video, which had amassed over 6.3 million views as of Tuesday morning, Mr Knowles explains the lobster’s rarity.
“Not only it’s split 50/50 right down its back – blue and normal (brown) – but if you look underneath, it’s actually half-male, half-female,” Mr Knowles said, explaining that the blue side is male, and the brown side, the more common colour, is female.
This perfectly split creature is called a gynandromorph, but the phenomenon is not limited to just lobsters; it can also be seen in butterflies, lizards, birds and snakes, to name a few.
Being rare is not an understatement; while blue lobsters are considered one in 2 million, split lobsters are said to be one in a 50 million catch, according to National Geographic.
Now, video of the rare lobster has gone viral on TikTok and Mr Knowles’ followers have even given the creature the new name Bowie – a homage to the late star David Bowie.
Similar to the lobster’s split colours, the star had heterochonia, meaning he had two different-sized pupils that made it look like he had two contrasting eye hues.
Mr Bowie’s androgynous alter-ego, Ziggy Stardust, was cited by online fans as another reason behind the multi-sex lobster’s new name.
For now, Mr Knowles has built Bowie a large cage hanging off a pier, in order to conserve the rare specimen from the wild.
The fisherman explained that Bowie’s chance of survival is more likely in the cage, where he can feed him and keep him away from predators.
He is hoping to see if the lobster is able to reproduce by itself using both the female and male reproductive systems; however, there is little research to suggest that this would be possible.
While Mr Knowles said he is happy to keep his new lobster friend in the cage for a few months, he has called out to any aquariums or science centres to give Bowie a more permanent home.