A rare blue lobster was caught by fisherman Wayne Nickerson off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, this week. Photos of the sea creature, which were posted on social media by Wayne’s wife, Jan, have gone viral because blue lobsters are incredibly rare.
As reported by Click on Detroit, Jan and Wayne immediately transferred the animal to a holding tank, as they plan to donate it to the New England Aquarium in Boston.
Although the facility already has at least one blue lobster, the Nickersons hope their catch will welcome a new addition. New England Aquarium media relations director Tony LaCrosse said he is interested in the unusual creature. However, he is unsure whether the facility has enough room to comfortably house the lobster.
In advertising campaigns, lobsters are generally depicted as bright red. However, as reported by Lobsters.org, “most lobsters are colored a mottled dark greenish brown” and do not turn red until they are cooked.
Rarely, fishermen report catching blue, brown, green, red, yellow, white, or even calico lobsters. Although there are several factors that contribute to the creature’s color, uniquely colored lobsters are called “colormorphs.”
In some cases, uniquely colored lobsters, including blue lobsters, inherit their color from their parents. However, shell colors and patterns are also influenced by the environment.
A lobster’s color can change depending on their diet, the depth of the water they live in, and the composition of the soil in their habitat.
For example, naturally-colored lobsters may turn blue if their diet consists primarily of squid. Blue lobsters are also more common in environments with less phytoplankton.
Although several factors can contribute to the development of blue lobsters, they are still incredibly rare. As reported by the Maine Lobstermen’s Community Alliance, the chance of catching a blue lobster is approximately one in 2 million.
Despite the fact that they are quite scarce, blue lobsters are far less rare than yellow lobsters, which fishermen have a one in 30 million chance of catching, and white lobsters, which have a one in 100 million chance of being caught or seen.
— Aagni.com (@IMAPictures) August 11, 2016
Blue lobsters may be appealing to humans. However, the color definitely puts the creatures at a disadvantage in the wild.
Naturally colored lobsters are far better equipped to hide from predators, as their colors blend in with the sea bottom. Unfortunately, brightly and unusually colored lobsters simply cannot hide and therefore become easy prey.
Last month, another lobster, named Larry, made headlines when he was rescued from the Tin Fish restaurant in Sunrise, Florida.
Rare blue lobster caught near Cape Cod!! https://t.co/GhYm8GbjaS pic.twitter.com/IWJ7em6pAR
— ang trowbridge (@angxclover) August 11, 2016
Although he was not a blue lobster, Larry gained national attention due to his unusual size. As reported by the Press Herald, Larry the lobster weighed 15 pounds and was estimated to be between 60- and 80-years-old.
Larry became an overnight celebrity when Tin Fish owner Joseph Melluso contacted a local television station to brag about the exceptional lobster.
The news report gained the attention of the iRescue animal rescue organization, which is based in Costa Rica. Within days, the organization raised enough funds to spare the lobster’s life and have him shipped to Maine State Aquarium in West Boothbay Harbor, Maine.
Although iRescue carefully packed Larry the lobster into a shipping container, complete with seawater, seaweed, and freezer packs to keep the water cool, he did not survive the journey.
According to reports, the freezer packs were broken by the time the package reached its destination, and Larry the Lobster was dead.
Fortunately, the blue lobster caught off the coast of Cape Cod does not have to travel far to get to the New England Aquarium. However, his final destination will depend on whether the facility has the room to house the unusual creature.
[Image via Nicefishes/Shutterstock]