Most rare and unusual animal species that make news headlines have something in common: they were spied and/or sampled in hard to reach places like impenetrable jungle rainforests, alongside superheated undersea volcanic vents or beneath thousands of feet of antarctic ice.
Occasionally, however, an unusual creature pops up in one of the most familiar places, say, Jasper White's Summer Shack in Cambridge, MA. The popular seafood restaurant features a 1,200 gallon holding tank in which lobsters are kept before being selected, prepared and served to customers. One such lobster narrowly escaped the cooking pot thanks to its startlingly marbled carapace.
“We happened to be cleaning the tank and I happened to be there," said White, a veteran Boston restauranteur who knows an odd lobster when he sees one, which ain't too often. “I’ve seen a lot of lobsters, but I had never seen one like this. We go through over 300,000 pounds of lobster a year, and I've been doing this for 40 years," added White, whose culinary career dates back to 1973.
“One of my guys said, ‘Chef, look at this lobster,’ and from across the room I knew it was special." White's right, and his suspicions were confirmed after he snapped a photo of pound-and-a-half “Calvin” and sent it to the New England Aquarium in Boston.
According to aquarium spokesman Tony LaCasse, “Calicos are considered a rare color, they used to say 1 in 30 million." That probability estimate may need to be reevaluated, however, as “an unusual number of calico lobsters were found during the summer of 2009.”
Rare or super-rare, Calvin's curious coloration (thought to result from a genetic abnormality) has garnered him a ticket to the Biomes Marine Biology Center in Rhode Island – as a resident, not a visitor. It sure beats being garnished with hot butter! (via NY Daily News, images via Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk, and Dan4th Nicholas)