A rare orange-and-yellow lobster has been found off the coast of Prince Edward Island in Canada. Instead of the drab colours normally sported by lobsters, this female specimen boosts a spotted orange-and-yellow pattern. According to specialists, she’s one in about 30 million.

The colourful lobster is currently housed with roughly 100 other lobsters at Arnold’s Lobster and Clam Bar in Eastham, whose owner Nathan “Nick” Nickerson has named her “Fiona” after his girlfriend’s granddaughter. Getting a name is not the only special treatment she’s been awarded; unlike the other inhabitants of the tank her claws are not bound with rubber bands and she can therefore keep her house mates at bay. Lobsters can be cannibalistic, especially in crowded environments, but Nickerson says Fiona is “not very aggressive.”
Arnold’s Lobster and Clam Bar has not put the rare orange-and-yellow lobster on the menu.

“Gosh no!” Nickerson said. “That would be like steaming a Rembrandt.”

Instead, Fiona has gotten used to fine dining at Arnold’s – she’s kept on a diet of Yellowfin tuna of sushi quality while the other lobsters have to make do with cod fish. Nickerson plans on continuing to pamper her for a while before donating her to the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History in Brewster or to the New England Aquarium.

Nickerson received Fiona as a gift from his fried Michael R. Gagne, sales manager at Ipswich Shellfish Company Inc. who says Fiona is a “once-in-a-lifetime lobster”.

1According to Michael F. Tlusty, director of research at the New England Aquarium, Fiona’s distinctive coloration is caused by a rare genetic mutation. He estimated she might be 7 years old based on her weight, but how she managed to survive for so many years in her eye-catching garb is a true mystery.

“If you’re swimming over a muddy bottom, it would be much easier to see a yellow lobster than a normal-colored lobster,” said Tlusty, who has been studying lobsters for 10 years.

“Why was she able to survive with her coloration?”
Tlusty asked. “That’s something we’re not quite sure of.”