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Why Do Lobsters Turn Blue?

Being in the business, we see a lot of lobsters pass through our facility. Typically, lobsters come in murky brown, dark green, or even deep navy-blue colors. In extremely rare instances, these crustaceans exhibit vibrant hues of yellow, calico, and bright blue.

We had this special lobster visit us recently.

The unique blue shade is the consequence of a genetic abnormality that results in the overproduction of a certain protein. Because they’re extremely rare, experts put the odds of this coloring anomaly at one in two million. However, these stats are merely guesses. Even though they differ in appearance from other lobsters, they are equal in every other way.

If you’re lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a one-in-two-million blue lobster in the wild, it’ll likely be around the Atlantic coasts of North America and Europe. Blue lobsters also live in other parts of the world, like Australia, and even in some freshwater areas.

It's safe to say that other kinds of lobster are even rarer. According to the Lobster Institute at the University of Maine, the odds of catching a yellow lobster are even steeper, at one in 30 million. There’s only a one in 50 million chance of catching a two-toned colored lobster. By comparison, the possibility of finding an albino or “crystal” lobster — as two fishermen in England did in 2011 and another fisherman in Maine did in 2017 — would be one in 100 million.

Despite what they can fetch for a high price at a dinner, the need to preserve these rare creatures has mostly outweighed people’s need for profit. Those who find themselves staring down a blue lobster — be it a fisherman or restaurant cook — are usually compelled to return it to the sea or donate it to an aquarium.