Cotton candy is one of the last words most people would use to describe lobster, but one special crustacean fits the bill.
Haddie, a rare cotton candy-colored lobster, was caught in Maine earlier this week. Unlike a regular blackish-brown lobster, Haddie features iridescent blue and pink hues on her body.
Bill Coppersmith, a Maine lobsterman and supplier for Get Maine Lobster, found the creature in Casco Bay. Get Maine Lobster is an online lobster delivery service.
This is the first cotton candy lobster that a Get Maine Lobster lobsterman has caught, said Mark Murrell, CEO of Get Maine Lobster.
The odds of catching this rare animal is about 1 in 100 million, according to Murrell.
Coppersmith is no stranger to catching unique lobsters. He has previously caught orange and white lobsters, and like Haddie, named them after his grandchildren.
Haddie’s special coloring is caused by a genetic mutation, Murrell said.
Proteins that attach to astaxanthin, the base carotenoid pigment, give lobsters their brown and green colors, said Chris Cash, assistant director for outreach and communication at the Lobster Institute at The University of Maine in Orono. The overexpression of the protein creates the bluish color, she noted, which is the main color on Haddie.
Finding a forever home
Humans may be enthralled with the pastel shades, but it poses a risk for lobsters out in the wild.
Crustaceans with unique colors have a harder time blending into their natural environment, which makes them easier for predators to spot, according to Maine Lobstermen’s Community Alliance.
Luckily, Haddie is now safe from both ocean predators and humans.
The special lobster has been adopted and will be transported to the Seacoast Science Center in Rye, New Hampshire.
When looking for an aquarium that would take care of Haddie, “it was all about finding the best place for her to live the rest of her life in safety and comfort, and Seacoast Science Center can offer just that,” Murrell said.
Lobsters can live long lives in captivity so long as the water is clean and well oxygenated, Cash said. The animal should also have access to enough food and shelter, she noted.