Baltimore Aquarium Aquires Rare Blue Lobster

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Photo of a different blue lobster (not Toby!) via USA Today
Photo of a different blue lobster (not Toby!) via USA Todaynn

In June 2012, the crew of the fishing boat the Pot Luck pulled something unusual out of the ocean off the shore of Ocean City. It was a lobster, but it didn’t look quite right — perhaps because it was a bright, cobalt blue.

The blue lobster is a rarity in nature; only one in two million lobsters have the excess protein that will make their shells turn blue.

According to the Baltimore Sun, Pot Luck captain John Gourley had actually caught a blue lobster before, nine years earlier; that one died shortly after capture. That’s a little less surprising when you consider that Gourley routinely catches a half-ton of lobsters during his year-round fishing trips off the coast of Ocean City.

Whereas other fishermen have attempted to sell the blue lobsters they find, Gourley was happy to donate it to the National Aquarium. “I catch lobsters and sell them. That’s how I make my money,” he told the Sun. “If I was to sell it on the market, I would get about 10 bucks. That’s a small price to pay for everyone to get the chance to see it.”

Experts estimate that Toby weighs two pounds and is six to eight years old; since lobsters can live up to 50 years in the wild (and may even be immortal — seriously) — there’s not necessarily any rush to go pay Toby a visit. But if you do want to say hi, you can find him at the aquarium’s Atlantic Shelf Gallery.

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