Shockingly Rare Translucent Lobster Gets Second Chance

A fisherman caught an extremely rare lobster on Tuesday. It was a beautiful creature, so the fisherman says he decided to throw it back into the sea.

He did take some astounding photos, though, to prove his rare find.

The lobster was caught off the coast of Stonington on Tuesday morning by Mike Billings, and the fisherman was shocked when he discovered it in his trap. The creature was an extremely rare 'ghost lobster', which has a unique coloration and pigmentation loss.

Lobsters in the wild are usually mottled browns mixed with red and/or green. There are a few shades these cru stations come in that are unusual, however.

Blue lobsters are a stunning jewel-tone shade, and they are literally a one in a million find.

Yellow lobsters are even rarer. These exotic-looking sea bugs are only one in thirty million.

Split-colored lobsters are odd-looking creatures indeed, looking as though their body was split lengthwise down the middle and painted different colors (usually blackish-brown and orange). These 'Halloween' lobsters are one in 50 million.

As far as lobsters go, however, the ghost lobster, also known as the 'white' lobster or the ‘crystal lobster’, is the real shellfish jackpot. Only about one in 100 million of these lobsters are found.

"This lobster probably has a genetic condition called Leucism which isn't a total loss of pigment (which would make it an albino) but instead a partial loss," said a statement from the Maine Coast Fisherman's Association to the Portland Press Herald. "This is why you can still see some hints of blue on the shell and color on the eyes."

"A normal lobster gets its color by mixing yellow, blue, and red protein pigments," the expert continued, "Through different genetic mutations you can get a blue, yellow, or red (uncooked) lobster. You can also get strange mixtures of those colors as well."

Billings was shocked by his haul, but says he threw the lobster back into the sea because it appeared small. This was very noble of the fishermen, as rare lobsters can fetch quite a price.

A blue lobster recently sold for over $500 on eBay. Considering how much rarer the ghost lobster is, Billings could have gotten a nice little chunk of change. Allowing the creature to go on with its natural life, however, will no doubt result in some good karma.

“Outside of albinism, you don’t see as much distinct variation in color in other animals,” said New England Aquarium spokesman Tony LaCasse to Boston.com.

Lobsters are odd creatures indeed. One interesting fact is that lobsters have urine nozzles under their eyes and can urinate out of their faces. They spray each other with pee as a sign of communication, to fight, or, if they're in the mood, to mate.

That may sound very romantic to a lobster, but to people who love a good seafood dinner, such facts can be rather unappetizing.

Billings has actually gotten lucky before; this is not the first rare lobster he has caught. Back in 2014, he caught a rare calico lobster-- a black/brown lobster dappled with orange and yellow spots. He also caught a lobster that same year that had a single blue claw.

Source: Daily Mail
Photos: Mike Billings/Facebook, Jeff Price/U.S. Air Force

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