One-in-a-million ‘albino’ lobster caught by surprised fishermen in Yorkshire
A one in a million white lobster has shocked the fisherman after being caught off the Yorkshire coast.
The unusual crustacean, caught this month near Scarborough, is being sought as a new dish by aquariums and even by Michelin-starred restaurants.
But the fisherman has donated the previously unmentioned creature to the National Trust, which exhibits it before it is released into the sea again next year.
Only one in a million lobsters are said to be white, which is caused by a genetic condition that causes them to have little or no pigment in their shell.
The white crustacean was brought in earlier this month by a shocked lobster fisherman at Scarborough
Leukism leaves creatures with very little pigment in their shells
Despite the fact that he knew the great value of it, the fisherman who caught it donated it to the Inshore Fisheries & Conservation Authority (IFCA) for safekeeping
WHY ARE SOME LOBSTERS BORN DIFFERENT COLORS?
The vast majority of lobsters are born muddy brown to allow them to blend into the dark depths of the ocean.
With one in every 100 million, albino lobsters are the rarest. The depicted crustaceans were caught off the coast of Maine in 2017
But every now and then, a rare genetic defect leads to a more colorful crustacean.
The mutations cause the lobsters to produce too much or too little of a certain protein.
Blue lobsters, which occur at a rate of one in 2 million, have a defect that causes the overproduction of a certain protein.
In combination with their normal pigmentation, caused by a protein called carotenoid, the protein forms a blue color.
The one in 30 million orange lobster gets the color of a lack of that protein.
They only show the carotenoid pigment, which is bright red, which means that they already seem to have been cooked.
With one in every 100 million, albino lobsters are the rarest.
They are born completely white and do not even turn red when you cook them.
The fishermen who caught this lobster donated it to the Inshore Fisheries & Conservation Authority for safekeeping.
An IFCA conservation officer said “he has never seen anything like it.”
“Albino lobsters are incredibly rare – I’ve never seen one,” he said.
“We were contacted by a fisherman who caught it at Scarborough and wanted it to go somewhere where people would enjoy it.
“It was good for him to do that because it is known that they can be sold for good money.”
The crustacean, which is male and aged between seven and eight, is now on display at National Trust’s Old Coastguard Station at Robin Hood’s Bay on the North Yorkshire coast.
The lobster will be taken back into the sea somewhere in 2020 and National Trust officials have called for a creature name on Facebook before he returns home.
Lobsters are generally brown or gray in color, which camouflages them against the rocky seabed, but there have also been reports of orange and bright blue-colored lobsters.
Unusual colored lobsters are sought after by chefs and are sometimes sold in Michelin star restaurants for hundreds of pounds.
“The chance of finding an albino lobster is one in every 100 million lobsters,” said the Lobster Institute of the University of Maine. “People still find them.”
The unusual appearance is caused by a genetic condition called leukism, the partial loss of pigmentation in an animal.
Leukism is actually different from albinism, which describes the absence of any pigmentation – it causes distinctive red or pink eyes.
“Although the lobster in the aquarium is not completely white, they are known to fishermen and everyone in the fishery as albino lobsters,” the National Trust told MailOnline.
“If a lobster has albinism, it is likely that it is pure white and has the characteristic red / pink eyes. It is really difficult because no research has been done. “
Arnold’s Lobster and Clam Bar, in Eastham, Massachusetts – found a blue lobster in his seafood shipments
Lobsters can also be colored blue and orange; a fish restaurant in Portland last year was home to a ‘cotton candy’ colored lobster, although one of the chefs left it at sea.
Another Massachusetts chef was surprised earlier this year when he found a deep blue lobster in his seafood.
WHAT IS LEUCISM?
Leukism is an abnormal condition that affects animals, including birds, mammals, reptiles, and fish.
It is caused by a genetic mutation that inhibits melanin and other pigments – substances that give an animal its color.
This gives them a white or spotty colored skin, hair or feathers.
The condition is actually different from albinism, which is an absence of any pigmentation, also in the eyes and feet.
Vertebrates with albinism are not only white in color but also have very pale eyes, often pink or red – this is the easiest way to distinguish between leukism and albinism.
While in Ireland another albino lobster was found off the coast of Achill Island in 2017 and donated to a local aquarium.
Leucism is not only rare, but lobsters affected by the condition do not think that they will survive for long because their color makes them an important target for predators – making them even rarer.
“He has managed to go unnoticed by predators such as octopus, other predator fish and even seals without camouflage, not like other lobsters that can just disappear because of their darker colors,” the National Trust said.
Leukism can not only affect marine life, but also birds, mammals and reptiles.
Earlier this month an amateur photographer from Oxford shared a photo of a rare albino robin.
Only one robin per 30,000 is an albino or partial albino and only a handful of sightings are registered in the UK.
This is believed to be the first of its kind to be seen in the UK since a bird nicknamed “Snowy” in Surrey in 2010.