Lincoln County News | Newcastle, ME
Friday, June 24, 2016 Serving Maine and Lincoln County for over a century. Volume 141 Issue 25

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10/9/2013 2:00:00 PM
Rare Lobster Caught Off New Harbor
This one-in-30-million yellow lobster currently resides in a tank at Pemaquid Lobster & Seafood after crawling into a trap off New Harbor a month ago. (J.W. Oliver photo)
This one-in-30-million yellow lobster currently resides in a tank at Pemaquid Lobster & Seafood after crawling into a trap off New Harbor a month ago. (J.W. Oliver photo)
By J.W. Oliver


A one-in-10-million orange lobster briefly resided in a tank at Pemaquid Lobster & Seafood after crawling into a trap off New Harbor a month ago.

New Harbor lobsterman Benji Geyer hauled in the rare lobster, Pemaquid Lobster and Seafood proprietor Tom Penniman said.

"That's the first one I've ever seen, and I've seen a lot of lobsters in my life," Penniman said.

Penniman has been in the lobster industry for more than 30 years. He worked for lobster processors for many years before he and his wife, Tracy Penniman, started Pemaquid Lobster & Seafood about five years ago.

The 1 1/2-pound, soft-shell male lobster lost a claw Oct. 1 and died of unknown causes two days later, a disappointment to Penniman, who had hoped to find him a permanent home in an aquarium.

Lobsters usually have three pigments - blue, red and yellow - and the combination gives most a green color, Penniman said. The red only becomes dominant during cooking.

Aimee Hayden-Roderiques, the manager of the Maine State Aquarium in Boothbay Harbor, identified the lobster as an orange lobster. The color indicates a mix of the red and yellow pigments without any of the blue.

According to "lobster lore," catching a lobster of rare color is good luck, Hayden-Roderiques said, and at one-in-10-million odds, "this lobsterman is a really lucky guy."

According to the Lobster Institute at the University of Maine, only the calico and yellow lobsters, at one in 30 million, the brown-and-orange "split-colored" lobster, at one in 50 million, and the albino or "crystal" lobster, at one in 100 million, are less likely to turn up.

There might be more orange lobsters in the ocean than sightings indicate, Hayden-Roderiques said, because the relatively bright color makes the lobsters more visible to predators.

"This is not something that can be accurately assessed by scientists, since being brightly colored is not a biological advantage in the ocean, and therefore survival is lower," Hayden-Roderiques said. "There is no way for scientists to monitor every lobster in the ocean to see who is differently colored and who isn't."



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