Rare yellow lobster moves into New England Aquarium

Lobsters at the New England Aquarium in rare colors with the newest addition, a yellow one donated by Patriot Seafoods of Salem.
David L Ryan/Globe Staff
Lobsters at the New England Aquarium in rare colors with the newest addition, a yellow one donated by Patriot Seafoods of Salem.

A rare yellow lobster caught earlier this month was donated to the New England Aquarium, and will join other brightly colored crustaceans on display there this month.

While lobsters are typically seen with red shells on seafood platters, the animals are usually found to be “mottled greenish brown” before they are cooked, the aquarium said in a statement.

The odds of finding a yellow-gold colored lobster like the aquarium’s new catch? One in 30 million.


The lobster was donated to the aquarium by a Salem seafood restaurant, Patriot Lobster, after one of the family business’s lobsterman hauled it in.

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Bill Porter, of Marblehead, a cousin of Patriot Lobster owner Chris Porter, made the catch earlier this month on his boat “Neysa A” off the coast of Marblehead, according to Chris’s sister Sandie Porter.

“He didnt know quite what to do with it,” Sandie Porter said of the rare find. While oddly-colored lobsters to come up from time to time, Patriot Lobster’s crews had yet to find a yellow specimen in the wild.

David L Ryan/Globe Staff
Yellow lobster at the New England Aquarium.

“It was really bright yellow when he caught it with a soft shell, and it hardened up after about a week in a tank,” Porter said. “It got a little darker as the shell hardened up.”

Porter said after the discovery that the restaurant set the lobster aside and contacted the aquarium to donate their find. And now that one rare lobster was hauled in, Porter said the aquarium provided free tickets to the Marblehead lobstermen in exchange for keeping an eye out for other unusual sea dwellers in the future.


“Now they’re all on alert to look for some unique things,” Porter said. “It’s really cool. Everyone’s kind of looking forward to collecting more things to donate.”

The yellow lobster joined the aquarium’s other oddly-colored crustaceans Thursday for a photo op, but will not be on display for at least a month there as it goes through the quarantine process.

Until then, visitors can catch a glimpse of other members of the lobster rainbow at the aquarium’s Cold Marine Gallery, including specimens that are blue, orange, calico, and even “Halloween” (orange on one side, black on the other).

Ben Thompson can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @Globe_Thompson