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Rare orange lobster found in New York restaurant: one in 30 million

'18.08.2023'

Alina Prikhodko

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A rare orange lobster has become the star of a restaurant in Williamsville, New York. This unique marine creature has caused quite a stir among visitors and marine experts. They compare his appearance to a real “winning the lottery,” reports USAtoday.

Found this orange lobster at the Hayes Seafood House restaurant, which is located in one of the supermarkets in Williamsville. The owner and general manager of the establishment, Nicholas Pitsikevich, said that when he opened a package with live lobsters, he discovered this bright and unique representative of marine life. He was struck by the unusual color of the lobster and immediately realized that this was an unusual find.

“It was definitely a wild lobster,” Pitsikevich said. “When I took him in my hands, he showed me with his claws that he was alive.” He called the lobster company, who sent the package to his supermarket, and they told him it was rare.

While it's not clear exactly where the lobster was found, store management said the lobster was shipped from Maine, along the coast and all the way to Canada.

The restaurant said they had never seen such a lobster before. The odds of seeing one like this are 1 in 30 million.

How's the lobster

The lobster is alive and well, in a perfectly healthy condition and now lives in the Hayes Aquarium. Moreover, some customers of Hayes Seafood House have already laid eyes on the lobster - they offered to take it home.

“I want to make sure that everything is all right with him,” Pitsikevich stressed.

He then contacted the Niagara Aquarium, New York, to help him find a permanent home for a lobster named Hayes after the shop. However, details about Hayes' permanent residence are not yet available.

The Niagara Aquarium put him in touch with Ripley's Entertainment and they decided to send Hayes to Ripley's Aquarium in Toronto.

Hayes Seafood House was founded as a fresh food supermarket in 1877. In 1990, he expanded and opened a restaurant at the market, which later turned into a fresh food restaurant.

Not the first

The chances of finding an orange lobster are slim, but Hayes is not the first of the species to be found in the area. It's the third to be found this year, Pitsikevich said, having heard that one was found in a supermarket in Buffalo, New York.

Niagara Aquarium public relations director Christine Stephans said the aquarium was temporarily inhabited by several orange lobsters that were discovered at local Tops markets in early summer. These lobsters have now been moved to Ripley's Aquarium in Toronto, she said.

The Niagara Aquarium also contained two orange lobsters, Larry and Tangerine, which were found at local Tops Markets in 2020 and 2021. Both have already moved, too: Mandarin went to the Aquarium and Education Center in Bar Harbor, Maine, and Larry, who is now known as Larry Lombardi, went to the Kansas City Zoo.

Why orange lobsters are special

Lobsters, Stephans explained, look orange due to a genetic mutation.

“They don't produce the protein that gives the shell its traditional reddish brown color. It's the same kind of American lobster that you see in restaurants and grocery stores - they just have a different color morph." Other color representations include blue, yellow, white/albino, calico and even “split” where the lobster has two different colors,” she explained.

The reason why they are seen relatively often, Stephans says, is “the sheer amount of lobster that is being caught and distributed.” The bright orange color of lobsters makes them stand out among their own kind, and they are easy to spot in the catch.

How to win the lottery

Niagara Aquarium fish and invertebrate curator Rafael Calderon says seeing an orange lobster is like winning the lottery.

“Not many people actually win, but when it does, it becomes known because of the unusual nature of the situation,” he concluded.

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