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Sunday, August 1, 2010

Golden Lobster

A lobsterman finds a pot of gold off Rhode Island: gold lobster, that is. Says the "Providence Journal":
“I thought, holy cow, this is unusual. And no one else around here has ever seen anything like it either,” said (lobster fisherman Denny) Ingram.
It might be tempting to launch into diatribes against ecological destruction, factory effluent, or radioactive sludge (or, barring any of those, a villainous scientist bent on global destruction via mutant lobsters). The local lobsters are in trouble, after all.

But, in fact, the Providence paper says it's no big thing. Like winning the lottery.
Yellow lobsters are rare, but not unheard of. When one was brought ashore in Massachusetts last year, several experts said its coloration came from a gene carried by both parents, and it occurs in about one in 30 million lobsters.

The same figure was cited when a yellow lobster was brought ashore in Maine in 2006.
And it might be a good thing this one was caught when it was, according to Anne Dimonti of the Audubon Education Center. Funky-colored lobsters are at an adaptational disadvantage, she says:
“Being born a blue lobster is not so rare; what’s rare is surviving into adulthood as a blue lobster,” Dimonti said. “When you’re a bright blue baby lobster walking around on the ocean bottom, somebody is going to pick you off very quickly.”

Lobster shells are colored with blue, yellow and red pigments, so genetic variations are expected.
AP adds:
It's also apparently good luck for this lobster, who will not be heading to anyone's dinner table.
Judging by the size of it, it's got no business heading to anyone's dinner table. Instead, it should be out frollicking with other juvenile lobsters.

Like these guys.

photo by Steven G. Johnson of yellow lobster at the New England Aquarium.

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