Massachusetts Restaurant Will Donate Rare Blue Lobster to Aquarium

“I think we have something special here,” said Nathan Nickerson III, owner of Arnold’s Lobster and Clam Bar in Eastham, Mass., when he opened a box of lobsters.

He wasn’t kidding. What he was looking at among the greenish-brown crustaceans was a blue lobster, believed to be one in two million.

Fortunately, that rare lobster didn’t become a, uh, blue plate special. The seven-year-old has been named “Baby Blue” and is alive and well inside a tank at the Cape Cod restaurant.

“I want the children to see … (and) be interested in marine life and this is one way to get them excited about it,” Nickerson told CNN. “Maybe one can become the next marine biologist.”

Baby Blue will eventually make his or her permanent home at the new St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station that’s scheduled to open later this year. Nickerson chose that city, home of the St. Louis Blues hockey team that beat the Boston Bruins to win the Stanley Cup, “to show that Bruins fans have class,” he told CNN.

Why didn’t Nickerson return the blue lobster to the ocean instead? Although many people asked him to, he told CNN he “didn’t think it was feasible” due to Cape Cod’s environment. “There’s no place for the lobster to hide,” he said. “They like rocky bottoms, and also there are thousands of lobster traps out there now.” He said he was sure the lobster would just be picked up again.

Coincidentally, another blue lobster was recently caught in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Could something bizarre be happening along the East Coast? Probably not. While one blue lobster out of two million may seem extremely rare, Cyr Couturier, a researcher with the Marine Institute, told CBC News the province sees an average of about two or three specimens every year. Two years ago, a blue lobster caught off another province, Prince Edward Island, made headlines.

If you’re thinking that perhaps blue lobsters are a consequence of climate change, scientists say the reason for that strange coloration is a naturally occurring genetic mutation that causes the lobster to produce an excessive amount of a certain protein. “They’re still lobsters, but they stand out because they’re different,” notes the University of Maine’s Lobster Institute.

Standing out could be deadly. Lobsters with greenish-brown shells are able to easily hide in plain sight from their predators, Couturier told CBC News. This enables them to survive and reproduce lobsters with the same coloration. It would seem that blue lobsters would have more difficulty surviving, but since the ones in Massachusetts and in Newfoundland and Labrador were able to grow to maturity, Couturier said their unique color “doesn’t hinder them from obtaining food, nor does it hinder them from avoiding predators.”

Even rarer than blue lobsters are red ones — before they’re cooked, that is. While cartoon lobsters are commonly red, in real life, only one in 10 million lobsters has that coloring. Yet rarer than blue and red lobsters are yellow lobsters (one in 30 million).

Rarest of all — one in 50 million — are split-colored lobsters that are half orange and half brown. Interestingly, the few split-colored lobsters that scientist Bob Bayer of the Lobster Institute has seen have all been hermaphroditic, with both male and female sex organs.

Here’s wishing a long and healthy life to Baby Blue (lobsters can live over 50 years in the wild), and kudos to Nickerson to saving the rare lobster instead of serving him for dinner.

174 comments

beba h
beba h3 hours ago

Lobster is blue because people are torturing and eating his brothers and sisters.

SEND
Alea C
Alea C5 hours ago

GO VEGAN!!!

SEND
Alea C
Alea C5 hours ago

Back again for butterfly points.

SEND
Alea C
Alea C5 hours ago

Back again for butterfly points.

SEND
Martin H
Martin H7 hours ago

Nice lobster to look at.

SEND
Alea C
Alea Cyesterday

Go vegan.

SEND
Alea C
Alea Cyesterday

Thank you for sharing.

SEND
Lorraine A

I just wish we could stop all the fishing and let the oceans try and recover. thanks for sharing.

SEND
Leo C
Leo Cyesterday

Thank you for sharing!

SEND
Alea C
Alea C2 days ago

Care2 is still giving commenting points. (I said earlier that Care2 wasn't but I was wrong.

SEND