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It was a little after 10:30 a.m. Saturday, and hauling lobster traps was off to a slow start for Meghan LaPlante and her father, but within minutes, the two would make a rare and exciting catch — a vibrant, sapphire-blue lobster.
“I’ve never seen one before,” Meghan LaPlante said, adding that her father, Jay LaPlante, had never seen one either. “It was exciting.”
The two were at Pine Point, near Scarborough, Maine, when they caught the prized, sapphire crustacean.
LaPlante, now 14 years old, has been trapping lobster for more than six years. Under a student-commercial license, she now has 150 traps and will have 300 by the summer of 2015.
Her father, Jay, and mother, Renee, along with her younger brother, Zachary, all help operate the family business, Miss Meghan’s Lobster Catch company, located in Old Orchard Beach, Maine.
“This was the first time any of us had seen this,” Renee LaPlante said.
The blue color is a result of a genetic defect, but blue lobsters are not the rarest of nature’s anomalies.
While typical lobsters are often a brown or greenish color, others can be bright red (uncooked), calico, multi-colored, orange and even albino, which is likely the rarest of all lobster shades.
“They’re rare, but we still see them every summer,” University of Maine Lobster Institute Executive Director Robert C. Bayer said. “We see around three to four a year.”
Bayer said there is still much unknown about the number of lobsters, but according to some estimates, only one out of two million lobsters is blue.
“No one really knows the frequency of it, but I would say albino lobsters are the rarest in my experience,” Bayer said, adding that he has been studying lobsters for 35 years.
The blue lobster, named "Skyler" by Meghan, will be donated to the Maine State Aquarium, so that others can view and enjoy the rare sight.
“We have this tank, so we brought it back and it is now kind of separate from the other lobsters,” LaPlante said, adding that the lobster is scheduled to be transferred to the aquarium on Tuesday.
Maine State Aquarium spokeswoman Elaine Jones said, judging from the picture, LaPlante’s lobster is the most brilliant blue she has ever seen.
The aquarium currently houses other rare lobsters including several blue lobsters, a calico, spotted lobster, a bright orange one, ones with multiple colors, split down the middle and a rare, white lobster.
“This one is very, very vibrant,” she said.
Providing awareness and education of the indigenous aquatic species of the Gulf of Maine is the aquarium’s main goal, Jones said.
Skyler’s departure from the LaPlante family has placed the blue crustacean in a new home in West Boothbay Harbor, Maine.
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