You have to feel sorry for the uglier animals of this world. While kittens and bunnies inspire a universal chorus of “awwwwwww”, if you’re unlucky enough to be born a crustacean or insect, chances are people don’t think you’re so cute.

The Japanese spiny lobster, or Ise-ebi, is a bumpy, spooky-looking creature at the best of times. This one, which was caught off Tōshi-jima in Ise Bay this week, is a gynandromorph – one side of its body is male, the other half is female. Mainichi Shimbun reports that the creature is truly one in a million!

Gynandromorphs are organisms that contain both male and female characteristics. When the organism is developing, an abnormality in the dividing cells leads to different cells having different sex chromosomes – some male, some female. This can result in mosaic patterning, or the division can be bilateral, resulting in an animal that is literally half-and-half.

As you can see, this lobster’s left side is rusty brown, whereas the right side is almost black:

スクリーンショット 2014-09-26 14.29.19Mainichi Shimbun

This kind of patterning is extremely rare, making our Ise-ebi rather special! Its legs and tail, however, were already missing when it was caught – it’s thought they were eaten off by other lobsters. Increasing lobster cannibalism, incidentally, is blamed on recent warming seas.

Just like Mie Prefecture’s other beloved ugly critter the giant isopod, we reckon this Ise-ebi would make an excellent mobile phone case. The merchandising possibilities are endless!

Source: Mainichi Shimbun via Hachima Kiko
Featured image: Mainichi Shimbun
Top image: Hiroshige/printsofjapan