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Are Blue Lobsters Real

Updated on January 10, 2011

Blue lobsters are rare but very real!

Most live american lobsters are naturally colored an olive green or mottled dark greenish brown. In rare cases, lobsters come in shades of bright blue, white (albino), yellow, black, and red have been reported from time to time. Perhaps the most unusual colors are the "half-and-half" lobsters with a line straight down their backs where the two colors meet.

The major pigment in a lobster's shell, astaxanthin, is actually bright red in its free state; but in the lobster's shell astaxanthin is chemically bound to proteins that change it to a greenish color. When lobsters are cooked, heat breaks down these bonds, freeing the astaxanthin so that it reverts to its normal red color.

So how does a lobster turn bright blue?

A genetic defect has been found that causes a blue lobster to produce an excessive amount of protein. The protein wraps around a small, red carotenoid molecule known as as astaxanthin. The two push together, forming a blue complex known as crustacyanin which often gives the lobster shell a bright blue color. About one in a million lobsters are blue, but when cooked, it turns red like the other lobsters.

It has been suggested that more than 'one in a million' lobsters born are blue, but many do not survive because their bright blue shell brings too much attention to themselves, making them a prime target for predators. Scientists also believe that blue lobsters tend to be more aggressive than their normal colored counterparts. Since they don’t easily blend in, they have adapted and changed to be more aggressive to protect themselves.

The blue lobster is truly another gift from Mother Nature that most people never see. Many professional lobstermen go through their whole lobstering career without catching or even seeing a blue lobster. Those that do have the privilege of catching one beautiful creatures, are amazed and excited as it is seen as a once-in-a-lifetime event and feel a sense of awe when they experience seeing the strikingly beautiful blue lobster for the first time. Those that are caught are normally not eaten, but rather given to aquariums and educational institutions and kept on display in tanks for others to admire.

Blue Lobster photos .


More information on Blue Lobters. A research study conducted at the University of Connecticut, discovered that a genetic defect causes a blue lobster to produce an excessive amount of protein. The protein, and a red caratenoid molecule known as astaxanthin, push together to form a blue complex known as crustacyanin, giving the lobster its unique blue color. One reason that lobsters are so expensive, is that they do not reach marketable size quickly. It takes a lobster five to eight years to weigh a pound. To swim, lobsters propel themselves backwards, by flips of their tail. Lobsters breathe by means of gills located in cavities on either side of their body. Water is directed over the surface of these gills by small appendages on either side of the mouth.

• ... Lobster has the blues.

Blue Lobster video

Blue lobster in a tank

Blue Lobster Eating Another one

More interesting information.

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    • Wanderlust profile image

      Wanderlust 9 years ago from New York City

      This summer I was travelling to Maine, and of course was eager to see (and maybe to try) a blue lobster. I wasn't that fortunate as Capt. Julie, and realized that it is much more rare as I thought. Even professionl lobstermen haven't seen it ever, not to mention ate them... Supposetly a blue lobster should taste slightly different from regular one. But who can say..........

    • profile image 9 years ago

      I am a commercial lobsterman from Stonington Maine. I have been fishing for 20+ years and dove commercially for 14 years. I caught my first blue lobster this year. I had never actually seen one before. It was amazing!! I named him ROYAL and gave him to a breeding program where I hope he'll be very happy!

      Capt. Julie

    • Paul Edmondson profile image

      Paul Edmondson 10 years ago from Burlingame, CA

      The boston aquarium has blue and I think white lobsters. The color is surprisingly vibrant.