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Images: A Mysterious Disease Afflicts Lobster Shells

An image of a diseased lobster shows the ravages caused by epizootic shell disease, which has spread through New England waters. (Barbara Somers, Rhode Island Sea Grant & the University of Rhode Island)

The disease causes black spots that often turn into deep holes in lobsters? outer shells. The holes leave lobsters susceptible to bacteria or viruses and interfere with their ability to molt their shells and grow. In extreme cases, the entire shells rot, killing the lobsters. (Barbara Somers, Rhode Island Sea Grant & the University of Rhode Island)

WHOI biologist Tim Verslycke prepares to dissect a lobster specimen?for scientific, rather than gustatory, purposes. (Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)