Tom Lambourn, 25, had been angling off the coastal town of Penzance earlier this month when he pulled up the strikingly azure-colored foot-long crustacean in his lobster pot, England’s National Lobster Hatchery reported.
“With every pot you never know what is going to be inside, and I’ve certainly never seen one that color before,” Lambourn told The Mail Online.
The blue version of lobsters occurs only once in every two million of the creatures.
The highly unusual sea creatures may be more common than known at birth, but the blue pigmentation in their shells make them stand out on the sea floor so they are easier prey.
Lambourn snapped photos of his find, but released it back to the ocean because it was too small — and young — to keep and eat. Had it been bigger, Lambourn said he would have given it to the Lobster Hatchery.
In 2005 Bowdoin Chemistry Professor Ronald Christensen reported his discovery that blue lobsters develop their unusual color because of a random genetic mutation (he put the chance at 1 in a million). It causes an overproduction of a particular protein, which eventually results in a “bright blue pigment, rather than the typical mix of pigments that give the typical greenish-brown,” explained blog site Lobsters Anywhere.
“I’ve been obsessed with blue lobsters for years,” Christensen said at the time of blue lobster research. “Mother Nature does a good job of making reds, oranges, yellows and greens, but is fairly inept at making blues.”
Warming waters and rising sea levels are threatening lobster populations in some parts of the world, including the United States, where their numbers have been dwindling in the New England region.
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