An ultra-rare “cotton candy” colored lobster was destined for the boiler pot of Portland, Maine., seafood restaurant. But the chef who found the sky-blue crustacean told the Portland Pess-Herald he couldn’t bring himself to do it.
“It was just too interesting to cook it,” Fred Eliot, an executive chef at Scales Restaurant, told the paper. “It was almost translucent.”
“We had a “cotton candy” lobster in our tank over the weekend! They are extremely rare! (About 1 in 100 million!) Chef Travis decided to give her back her freedom and took her on his row boat to release her in the ocean! #byebluebetty” the restaurant wrote.
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Lobsters are normally a muddled reddish color before turning bright as a firetruck when cooked. There aren’t solid numbers on the actual rarity of the oddly colored creatures. University of Massachusetts Boston researcher Michael Tlusty told National Geographic they’re certainly rare finds and usually only spotted about twice a decade.
Social media users praised the restaurant for giving the lobster another chance at life.
“She was pretty feisty,” Eliot told the Press Herald. “Some people started calling her bubbles because she was foaming at the mouth.”
It’s not clear what causes some lobsters to be blue like “Blue Betty,” Tlusty told National Geographic. He guessed it could be caused by the lobster’s diet, or be a genetic mutation.
She isn’t alone in the ocean, either. Another “cotton candy” lobster was found in November of 2017 when lobsterman Robin Russell hauled one up in his boat before donating it to a science museum in Canada, Time reported.
Another Maine lobster also got a breather this year as well — although this one was a deep mottled blue, not the cotton-candy blue of Blue Betty. That one, nicknamed “Blue lob,” was released by a different seafood restaurant in Kittery, Maine., after diners called for the crustacean’s release, according to the Portsmouth Herald.