Maine’s signature sea creature is now a social media icon, too. A digital image of a little red lobster soon will be available as an “emoji” pictogram, iconic images used to lighten up or spice up electronic messages.

The Unicode Consortium, the nonprofit governing body responsible for determining which emojis get added annually, announced in a blog post Wednesday that the lobster will be released this summer. The Unicode Emoji 11.0 set will include a total of 157 new emojis, including a woman superhero, a softball, a pirate flag and new hairstyles for the male and female emojis.

The lobster and other new emojis will start showing up on mobile phones in August or September, according to the blog post.

Unicode named the lobster as a finalist last year.

In an odd twist, a Twitter user noticed that the lobster emoji on the Unicode website has eight legs, while real lobsters have 10 with the front three pairs bearing claws and the ones in front being the largest. It wasn’t clear Wednesday night whether the lobster emoji was designed that way purposely or whether the design could be changed before it is released.

Luke’s Lobster quickly launched an online petition drive on Change.org under the title “Let’s Make The Lobster Emoji Happen.” Founded by Maine native Luke Holden, the restaurant chain has 30 U.S. locations, including one in Tenants Harbor in Maine, and six in Japan.

More than 5,400 people added their signatures.

“The emoji sea is filled with crab, shrimp, octopus, squid, whale, spouting whale, blowfish … and even (a) non-fish human deep-sea diver,” the petition says. “And out of the water, shrimp gets extra love with tempura! There is a large void in the shape of our favorite Maine lobster.”

Holden said Wednesday he was glad lobster fans can finally abandon #NoLobsterEmoji on social media.

“As emojis become a more important part of our communication, it’s great that our nation’s favorite crustacean now properly has an emoji,” Holden said.

The business tweeted its thanks Wednesday to people who signed the petition, as well as Maine Sen. Angus King. In September, King wrote to the Unicode Consortium in support of the lobster emoji, mentioning the Luke’s Lobster petition.

“The momentum for a lobster emoji has been on a roll ever since,” King’s office said in a statement.

King celebrated the news on Twitter Wednesday with emojis of his own.

“Thanks to @unicode for recognizing the impact of this critical crustacean, in Maine and across the country,” he wrote.

The senator signed the tweet with the emojis of a cow and a king’s crown, symbolizing his name.

There are more than 2,600 Unicode emojis depicting a wide range of objects, including facial expressions, food items, weather symbols, animals and national flags.

Unicode is a standardized system for letters and symbols that has made it easier to share software applications among many different languages and regions of the world. The consortium members include major computer corporations, software producers, database vendors, government ministries, research institutions, international agencies and various user groups.

Is a lobster roll emoji next? Proposals for the 2019 Unicode release are due at the end of March.

Megan Doyle can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: megan_e_doyle

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