A young Maine lobsterwoman pulled up a surprising find as she checked her traps this weekend: a striking blue crustacean that scientists say could be a 1 in 2 million specimen.
Meghan LaPlante, 14, who has a summer job with her parents at Miss Meghan’s Lobster Catch in Old Orchard Beach, said she was excited and surprised to see the unusual lobster. She has found other interesting catches — including a 6-pounder that she had to throw back because of its size, but nothing like this.
“I knew that it was definitely rare, but I actually have never seen any other unordinary lobster,” said LaPlante, who is about to start her freshman year in high school. She and her dad have been lobstering many summer afternoons this year.
The catch Saturday drew attention from around the country, in part because it’s so out of the ordinary to find live American lobsters that are any other color than the dark blue and greenish-brown commonly seen in New England’s restaurant tanks.
According to the Lobster Institute at the University of Maine in Orono, blue lobsters like the one LaPlante found are rare. The color comes from a genetic defect that leads to excessive production of a particular protein.
But the institute says that some colors are even rarer in live lobsters, including the bright red typically found when the shellfish are cooked. Those odds are 1 in 10 million. Yellow lobsters are even rarer, at 1 in 30 million.
In 2012, a lobster showed up at Jasper White’s Summer Shack in Cambridge with a blue-brown and orange, marbled “calico” pattern. The odds of such a find are also 1 in 30 million. A similar lobster appeared July 23 in New Hampshire’s Hampton Harbor.
But the Lobster Institute says the rarest lobsters of all, at 1 in 100 million, are albino — or crystal — lobsters that have no coloration at all.
For her part, LaPlante said she will donate her rare blue lobster to the Maine State Aquarium.