BIDDEFORD, Maine — The University of New England’s Marine Science Center is the recipient of a rare yellow-orange lobster that researchers say is a one in 10 million occurrence.
The yellow-orange specimen will be displayed at the center, which also has a blue lobster, which not only brilliantly sports UNE’s colors but also represents a rare, one in 2 million quirk of nature, the university said Thursday in a news release.
Shell color in lobster, much like human skin color, can vary greatly among individuals and is determined by both diet and genetics, according to the news release.
The normal mottled dark brown color of American lobsters is a product of red, yellow and blue pigments that are bound together by protein. Orange lobsters have their unusual colorization due to the lack of blue pigment.
As such, some other unusual lobster colors that have been reported include white, which is the most rare at an estimated one in 100 million, and calico, or mottled black and orange, which comes in second place with an approximate one in 30 million occurrence.
The yellow-orange lobster originally was destined to be someone’s dinner but members of the Saco Hannaford’s Seafood Department caught a glimpse of it within their morning seafood shipment.
Believing this unique lobster was worth more than its market value of $7.99 per pound, Assistant Store Manager Ryan Poisson contacted UNE’s Marine Science Center and donated the crustacean for display.
The lobster will be housed in its own seawater tray, where students and visitors can view this rare creature and perhaps be inspired to be among the next generation of “ocean leaders,” the university said.