Fishermen like to tell tales about the “one that got away.” But Alex Todd of Chebeague Island, Maine has a story about the catch he let get away.
Last month, the 48-year-old Todd caught a rare translucent lobster during one of his fishing trips. Todd has seen a lot since getting his fishing license at the age of 6 and, as a 10th-generation commercial fisherman, he knows when he’s caught something special. So when he pulled up his traps and found this unexpected catch, he knew he had to document the moment.
“I’ve never seen a white one,” Todd told ABC News. “This one was translucent with just a hint of blue in it.”
Known in some circles as a “ghost lobster,” this crustacean actually has an extremely pale blue shell, even though it looks white. According to the Maine Coast Fisherman’s Association, the lobster likely has a genetic condition known as Leucism. This condition reduces the amount of color or pigment in the shell. A typical shell can have a combination of colors, such as blue, red and yellow. However, lack of this pigment results in some unique shells.
After careful examination of his rare catch, Alex returned her to the sea. Yes. Not only was the lobster rare in color, but it was also marked as a female bearing eggs! But even if she hadn’t been tagged for protection, Alex probably would have sent her home. “Even if it had been male, it’s an oddity enough that, why cook it for a $4 lobster?” he said.
The Ghost Lobster Is Not An Albino
Although the ghost lobster looks white, it is not considered an albino. These creatures have no pigment in their shells, which gives them their bright white appearance. Experts believe the chances of catching one come in at about one-in-100-million!
Back in 2004, Joe Bates caught an albino lobster in Maine. In this case, the catch didn’t get tossed back, even though its size was too small to sell. This rare breed found a new home at the Maine State Aquarium in Boothbay Harbor so many others can catch a glimpse of it.