Social media users are casting their "likes" for photos of exotic lobsters in an online contest that has a multitude of multicoloured, oversized and extra-limbed critters clawing to be crowned the craziest crustacean.

A car dealership based in southwest Nova Scotia put out a call on its Facebook page earlier this month for snapshots of curious catches, as a gesture of support for local lobster fishers.

Billy Mole, marketing manager at Murray GM Yarmouth & Barrington, said they decided to launch the competition because lobster fishers make up a big portion of the dealership's clientele.

$500 gift card on the line

He said the "Craziest Lobster Contest" is being judged by the number of Facebook likes each photo receives.

The lobster that generates the most likes by Jan. 3 will win the title of "craziest," and the first-prize photographer will receive a $500 gift card to a local business of his or her choosing.

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Colourful crustaceans like this one are competing in a social media contest for the craziest lobster. (Murray GM Yarmouth & Barrington/Facebook)

Mole said the first photos he received came from local fishers in Lobster Fishing Area 34, but in a matter of weeks, submissions were pouring in from across the Maritimes.

150 contenders

He said the contest has attracted more than 150 contenders and has flooded the dealership's Facebook page with traffic.

"When we first launched it, we were getting maybe five or six a day, and it has just grown. It's almost hard to keep up," Mole said.

"We're probably getting 20 lobsters a day on average."

Ocean anomalies

He said most of the photos are submitted in the middle of the night, as lobster fishers unload their latest batch of ocean anomalies.

The lobster gallery on the dealership's Facebook page features catches of every hue and pattern — shimmering opal shells, mauve-toned claws with neon green highlights, split-coloured crustaceans that look like two half-lobsters fused together.

In some photos, lobsters have sprouted extra limbs, while others wield claws that spiral like tentacles.

One king-sized crustacean even appears to have grown a crown on its head.

'People are seeing crazy stuff'

Mole said the contest has made people reconsider the red lobster as the species standard.

"Everybody who lives down here grew up around lobsters their whole lives," he said. 

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The lobster gallery on the dealership's Facebook page features catches of every hue and pattern. (Murray GM Yarmouth & Barrington/Facebook)

"There are people seeing crazy stuff that they've certainly never seen before.... People just didn't know
there could be that many variations of lobsters."

As of Tuesday, Mole said a photo that some Facebook commenters have dubbed the "rainbow lobster" was leading the race with more than 900 likes.

Chad Graham of Brier Island, N.S., who submitted the photo, said it's the only one he took of the gleaming lobster with purple and blue hues before he released it back into St. Margaret's Bay, because the catch was "undersized."