The Rare Albino Lobster Was Caught in Maine

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A commercial fishmerman pulls up a lobster basket from the ocean in Maine.

When you sit down for a seafood dinner in Massachusetts or Maine, you’re probably waiting for the server to place a lobster roll or bowl of clam chowder in front of you. As you see your dinner coming towards you, your mouth starts watering.

New England is famous for its lobster, and lobster rolls are often popular dining options for travelers. But have you ever heard of an albino lobster? Don’t plan on finding one of those on your plate. It’s the rarest lobster in the world, but anglers caught one last year in Maine. Let’s learn more!

What Is An Albino Lobster? 

The lobster is the heaviest crustacean in the world. Lobsters can weigh up to 44 pounds.

These invertebrates have hard protective exoskeletons; however, they must shed these protective shells to grow. During these weeks, when lobsters don’t have their exoskeleton, they’re the most vulnerable to predators.

You wouldn’t believe how much variety there is in the lobster world!

Lobsters are typically shades of blues, greens, and browns to blend in with their ocean surroundings. In contrast, albino lobsters don’t have pigment.

Like other albino animals, like an albino alligator and an albino tiger, albino lobsters don’t possess melanin. They also don’t include astaxanthin, which makes lobsters turn bright red after you cook them. 

How Rare Is an Albino Lobster? 

Although lobsters aren’t rare in Maine, albino lobsters are the rarest lobsters worldwide. Lobster fishing is a crucial industry in the Northeast, so reeling in many pounds of lobster is a daily occurrence.

However, when lobstermen for the James Hook and Company caught an albino lobster in February 2021, they knew this was very uncommon. A lobsterman has about a one in one hundred million chance of catching one. 

An albino lobster is practically translucent, sitting on a grey surface after being caught.
Albino Lobster | Mike Billings/Facebook

Additional rare lobsters include split-colored lobsters. As the name implies, these lobsters are two-toned, probably from a cellular division when the lobster egg at fertilization.

You’ll find about one split-colored lobster in fifty million. Yellow lobsters are also some of the rarest kinds, with the odds of catching them at one in thirty million.

Traveler’s Tip: Have you ever tasted the quick burst of sweetness followed by a tart complexity of a Maine blueberry?

Where Can You Find an Albino Lobster? 

American lobsters live in waters running from 13-160 feet in depth. They prefer temperatures of less than 68 degrees Fahrenheit.

Their fondness for cooler temperatures is why the Northeast is such a popular location for lobster harvesters. You can find lobsters as far south as North Carolina and north as Labrador, Canada.

The waters surrounding England and Ireland are also a hotspot for lobsters, and harvesters have spotted rare albino lobsters in the area. Another albino lobster catch occurred off the coast of Yorkshire in 2019. The harvesters who caught it sent it to a National Trust visitor center for display.

When Was the Rare Lobster Caught in Maine?

On February 19, 2021, a crew headed out for a typical lobster fishing day. When they returned with an albino lobster, they’d found the one in one hundred million catch.

Another catch occurred in October 2020 in Stonington, Maine. However, the lobsterman released his catch into the ocean once he spotted it.

Two rare albino lobsters were caught off the Maine coast in 2014.

In Owls Head, Maine, harvesters caught two albino lobsters in September 2014. Two lobstermen caught the two albino lobsters within a week.

One harvester sent the lobster to the Maine State Aquarium in Boothbay Harbor, and the other lobsterman sent the albino lobster to Brooks Trap Mill in Thomaston.

What Happened to the Lobster Caught in Maine? 

Most lobstermen donate their albino lobster catches to aquariums or research labs. This is an excellent choice since most people would never see an albino lobster without these donations.

These lobsters usually don’t end up on the menu in a restaurant. That opportunity is for the more common blue, brown, and green lobsters that turn red or orange in hot water.

The lobstermen who found the albino lobster from the February 2021 catch sent it to the New England Aquarium.

How Much Is an Albino Lobster? 

Although many lobstermen donate their albino lobster catches, not all are philanthropic. An albino lobster can lead to a lucrative deal because it is rare. However, because it’s so rare, it’s challenging to know how much an albino lobster may be worth.

A blue lobster walking across the bottom of the an aquarium tank.
Lobsters are typically shades of blues, greens, and browns.

Even other lobsters that aren’t so unique typically appear in aquariums. For example, in 2020, people discovered two rare orange lobsters at local markets in New York.

Instead of selling them, the owners donated them. A restaurant called “Per Se” in New York offered blue lobster on the menu, priced at $560. However, likely, you won’t see rare lobsters on the menu in your local seafood joint.

Is an Albino Lobster Worth It?

If you ever have a chance to feast your eyes on an albino lobster, you’ll look at the rarest lobster in the world. Don’t pass that opportunity up!

Stop by an aquarium that boasts an exhibit featuring one of these ghost lobsters. You probably won’t get a chance to do it again.

Have you ever seen a one in 100 million albino lobster?

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