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Hot Topic Article: An unusual cuticular tumor-like growth on the abdomen of a lobster, Homarus americanus.

This interesting case report by two researchers from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science provides details of an unusual crustacean tumor called a hamartoma. This is the first reported case of such a neoplasm in a lobster and only the second crustacean hamartoma on record. The authors hypothesize that the tumor resulted from wound repair gone awry.


Tumors are rare in crustaceans, and whereas a few have been reported from the lobster Homarus americanus none have been adequately described. A lobster with an unusual, large, blue-colored tumor-like growth projecting laterally outward from the first abdominal somite was caught off Stonington, Maine, USA. The growth was rugose and covered by a relatively normal appearing cuticle with dispersed focal melanization. The underlying stroma consisted of an internal area of rescaffolded fibrous connective tissue, restructured muscle fibers, few arterioles, and an epidermal area comprised of columnar, highly vacuolated epithelial cells. No infectious pathogens or unusual inclusions were observed with microscopy and no eukaryotic pathogens were detected via molecular sequencing. Given the nature of the histology and the appearance of the growth, we identify the mass as a benign papilliform hamartoma that likely originated as a result of abnormal wound repair possibly initiated around ecdysis. This represents the first tumor-like hamartoma reported from a lobster, and the second hamartoma reported from a crustacean.
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