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Rare "cotton candy" lobster caught off Maine

The lobster has a vibrant purple, blue and pinkish shell
Posted at 8:08 AM, Aug 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-12 10:12:59-04

Maine lobsterman John McInnes seems to have a knack for catching colorful crustaceans.

Last month, he hauled in a rare cotton-candy-colored lobster in Casco Bay, near Portland.

That would be remarkable story on its own, but McInnes said this is the second time he's caught this particular lobster.

"I caught it last October, and it was too small to keep, and then I caught it again," McInnes said. "It was probably a mile and a half away from where I let it go. It didn't go far."

This time, it was big enough to keep, but McInnes says the lobster's not destined for a dinner plate. In case you were wondering, yes, the lobster would still turn bright red if you cooked it in boiling water.

The lobster has a vibrant purple, blue and pinkish shell that stands out dramatically next to its brownish relatives.

McInnes is keeping the lobster in a holding tank and hopes to donate it to an aquarium.

Most American lobsters are dark bluish green to greenish brown, according to the Lobster Institute at the University of Maine.

Rarely, a genetic defect will cause a lobster to create a protein that causes unusual coloration, such as blue, yellow, orange or even calico. They're all pretty rare, and their bright colors make it harder for them to hide from predators.

The rarest lobster is the white or albino lobster, which occurs in only 1 in 100 million lobsters.