A New Hampshire commercial fisherman caught a rare blue lobster and donated his catch to science.
Greg Ward was fishing near the New Hampshire-Maine border on the afternoon of July 17 when he stumbled upon the rare crustacean. The lobster was hard-shelled and had a blue and cream color, according to the Portsmouth Herald.
At first, Ward thought he had caught an albino lobster, which is even rarer than the blue lobster. When he examined it more closely he wasn't sure, as it seemed to be a cross between the two.
"This one was not all the way white and not all the way blue," he said. "I've never seen anything like it. Usually, the stronger lobsters are ... the reddish brown color but this one still had a hard shell."
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Jango Troy, Ward's first mate, said it's always exciting to come across something different.
"You see so many lobsters that are alike, day in and day out on the boat," he explained. "When you happen to see one that’s different, it really sticks out."
Ward has donated the lobster to the Seacoast Science Center in Rye, New Hampshire, where it will be studied and put on display.
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Aquarist Rob Royer told the Portsmouth Herald that the odds of coming across a blue lobster are anywhere from one in 1 million to one in 3 million. The odds of catching an albino lobster are closer to one in 100 million.
"Blue lobsters are still pretty uncommon," Royer said. "We'll get about five or six calls every summer. Every time we get a call about an albino lobster, I get a little skeptical just because they are so rare."
In 2016, the University of Maine Lobster Institute's executive director, Rob Bayer, told the BBC that nobody knows for sure how rare these creatures are, adding that the oft-cited one in 2 million figure is merely a "guess."
"The chances of this happening nobody really knows," Bayer said.
But he went on to say that, regardless of how rare they are, blue lobsters are a sight to behold.
"Whatever the odds of catching different-colored lobsters, there's no denying that bright blue ones are truly beautiful creatures," he said. "They might not be the most unusual, but they are undoubtedly the best to look at."
The blue lobster Ward caught will be placed in the Seacoast Science Center's exotic lobster tank once it acclimates to its new environment at the center. There it will join another blue lobster that is already on display, as well as a bright orange lobster and a calico lobster.