Odds of trapping a white lobster is 1 in 100 million

Rarest of the rare white lobster finds new home in Thomaston

Posted:  Friday, September 22, 2017 - 5:15pm

THOMASTON – It is the rarest of rare lobsters, and the chances of catching one are 1 in 100 million, but that's what Desiree Smith, of Rockland, did. She found in his traps an albino/white lobster, and it is now at Brooks Trap Mill in Thomaston.

How many different colors of lobster are there?

It's been written that the odds of catching a blue lobster are 1 in 2 million, while orange comes in at 1 in 10 million. Yellow and orange-and-black calico lobsters have been pegged at 1 in 30 million, split-colored varieties at 1 in 50 million, and white — the rarest of all — at 1 in 100 million.

According to the Maine Lobsterman's Community Alliance, there are even lobsters that are two different colors, one on each half of their bodies. Those bicolored lobsters are typically hermaphrodites bearing a male sex organ on one side of their body and a female sex organ on the other side.

Lobstermen have also hauled up calico lobsters, orange lobsters, even bright red lobsters.

Just like pigments determine skin color in humans, lobster shells contain the pigment astaxanthin. Astaxanthin is naturally red, but when it binds with certain proteins it can appear blue or yellow. White lobsters are albinos and lack any pigments in their shells.

Even blue and yellow lobsters turn bright red when they are cooked. When the lobster shell is introduced to heat, the proteins that astaxanthin bind to are destroyed so the pigment shows up in its natural state, a bright red. The only kind of lobster that won't become red when cooked is a white lobster because it doesn't contain any pigments at all.

For the record, there are no plans to cook the albino lobster. The lobster was under the legal measurement limit when caught and the Marine Patrol had to give special permission to remove it from the ocean.

Stephen Brooks, one of the owners of Brooks Trap Mill, along with brother Mark and sister Julia, use the tank to house different types of sea life.

Mark said they will often host tours of school children because the tank has side windows that are at eye-level for the children and allow a great view.

Lexie Simmons, an employees at Brooks, said the lobsters are fed shrimp, mussels and sometimes tuna.

For more pictures and information go to the Brooks Trap Mill Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/brookstrapmill/