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Rare blue lobster found at mouth of Conn. river avoids the cooker

6/13/2007

NEW LONDON, Conn. — Call it crustacean discrimination.

A lobster caught last weekend by Steve Hatch and his uncle
Robert Green was spared from being cooked and ripped apart on a
plate because of its color.

The 1 1/2-pound clawed creature is bright blue, the result of an
extremely rare genetic mutation.

It turned up Sunday morning in one of Hatch and Green's lobster
traps at the mouth of the Thames River.

``I've heard about them but this is the first one I've ever
seen,'' Hatch told The Day of New London newspaper.

Later that afternoon, he put the lobster in a cooler and brought
it to the Mystic Aquarium and Institute for Exploration, where it
will live out its days in an elementary school classroom for
children to learn about.

Catherine Ellis, curator of fish and invertebrates at the
aquarium, said only one in 3 million lobsters are ``true blue,''
meaning their color is the result of genetics and not the
environment.

The one caught Sunday will join two other blue lobsters at the
aquarium.

Researchers at the University of Connecticut found that the blue
coloring occurs when lobsters produce an excessive amount of
protein because of a genetic mutation.

But if blue lobsters are cooked like their red brethren, they
too turn red, Ellis said.