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Jasper White’s rare calico lobster to get a new home in Rhode Island

An exceedingly rare calico lobster discovered in the tank at chef Jasper White’s Cambridge Summer Shack restaurant earlier this month is about to get a new home -- an ocean education facility in Rhode Island, the New England Aquarium announced today.

The lobster, which White nicknamed Calvin, was transported to the aquarium last week after the well-known chef discovered it in his 1,200-gallon lobster tank. Today, Calvin will be transported to the Biomes Marine Biology Center, an education facility that “specializes in hands-on marine biology programs for schools and families,” the aquarium said.

Before being discovered, White said, the pound-and-a-half lobster was destined to be cooked and served to a customer in his restaurant.

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“We happened to be cleaning the tank and I happened to be there,’’ White, who has presided over a number of Boston restaurants since the late 1970s, said last week. “One of my guys said, ‘Chef, look at this lobster,’ and from across the room I knew it was special.’’

As rare as they are, the New England Aquarium already has four calico lobsters either on exhibit, used in special presentations, or for research, according to the aquarium.

Historically, the aquarium said, calico lobsters were about one in 30 million, though a rash of discoveries in 2009 may change that number. For White, coming across the calico lobster marked a first in a culinary career that dates to 1973.

“We go through over 300,000 pounds of lobster a year, and I’ve been doing this for 40 years,’’ he said. “I’ve seen a lot of lobsters, but I had never seen one like this.’’


Colin A. Young can be reached at colin.young@globe.com.