Survival of the Fittest

If you come across a rare lobster in a tank or at the docks, you should know just how special these live guys are.

 

This orange lobster may look normal at first glance, but it’s one in thirty million. The vibrant-hued critter was found alive and kicking in a lobster shipment delivered last August to the Stop and Shop in Bristol. A seafood department clerk saved her from the fate of the tank with a phone call. Roger Williams University took her in while renovations were completed at Bristol’s Audubon Society of Rhode Island Environmental Education Center. She’s now the main attraction at the refuge’s tide pool exhibit. Meet her and a larger blue lobster as they scurry about in tanks that replicate their natural habitat, far from predators searching for their next meal.
1401 Hope St., Bristol, 245-7500, asri.org

 

  1. “With any of the color morphs, whether it’s blue or orange — and there’s even albino, which is even more rare — it’s all related to a natural variation in their genes that’s passed down from a parent,” says Joe Szczebak, research associate at Roger Williams University, who helps care for the center’s marine life. “They produce an abnormal amount of certain pigments that cause them to have a different color.”
     
  2. The blue lobster is one in two million. “The rarity is not so much being born blue, but surviving to adulthood as bright blue. Because if you’re bright blue and you are running around as a baby on the floor of the ocean, someone is going to pick you off,” says Anne DiMonti, director of the Environmental Education Center.
     
  3. “Oftentimes, lobsters aren’t a catchable size until six to eight years,” says Szczebak. “The fact that these rare lobsters have been able to survive in nature with their coloration for six to eight years at minimum is pretty impressive.”
     
  4. When a lobster molts, it can regenerate a lost claw or any appendages including an antenna or a claw,” says Szczebak.