A lobster caught off the coast of Grand Manan Island, Canada has had a lucky escape from the seafood markets, thanks to a genetic quirk that has given it a unique colouration. Rather than the typical dark blue, orange, or green, the crustacean – appropriately named Lucky – is delicately tinted pastel blue and pink.
If this were a fairytale, the fisherman who found Lucky in his catch, Robinson Russell, would no doubt have been granted three wishes for sparing the creature’s life.
Instead of selling it as delicious catch, he has donated the lobster to the Huntsman Marine Science Centre Fundy Discovery Aquarium in Saint Andrews, New Brunswick.
“I really didn’t know what to do with it at first, so I decided to give it to the aquarium,” Russell told the Portland Press-Herald.
The lobster was caught in November of 2017, and Russell posted a picture of it to Instagram in December; however, it didn’t go viral until earlier this month, when it was reposted to Instagram by a Maine lobsterman.
People tend to think of lobsters as red, but it’s only after they’re cooked that they take on the characteristic russet hue. This is because of a red pigment in lobster shells called astaxanthin. While they’re alive, this red pigment binds with other proteins to create other colours, but cooking breaks these proteins down, leaving only red.
Population colours can vary, and this sometimes correlates with the food available to the animals. Like flamingoes, which get their pink colour from the shrimp they eat, colour variations in lobster populations can occur due to their diet.
Occasionally there will be an individual lobster with a genetic mutation that changes its colour completely. Fisherman have caught blue, yellow, red, orange and even half-red-half-black chimera lobsters.
The stunning lobster will be on display at the Fundy Discovery Aquarium until October.