Save The Bay’s Exploration Center & Aquarium has just received a rare calico lobster (Calico Colormorph) from local lobsterman Bobby Braman and the fishing vessel “Sweet Mystery.” A native American Lobster is a very common animal to see in an aquarium, but it is unlike the calico currently on display at our facility.
Our calico lobster needs a name!
Come visit the Exploration Center & Aquarium in Newport and submit your idea for a name. While in Newport, enjoy a boat trip on one of our vessels as we search for seals in Newport Harbor. Up to 40 seals have been seen in the harbor during our trips at low tide. All seal watch trips leave from Long Wharf in downtown Newport.
American Lobsters (Homarus americanus) can have many exoskeleton color variations, just like hair color in humans. Lobsters can be albino, blue, orange, red, brownish-black, bi-color, calico or a combination of any of these. A blend of dark red, brown and blue is the most common color. At our Exploration Center & Aquarium, we are lucky enough to have a lobster with the calico color variation on display, which is a mixture of orange and black.
How do lobsters get their color?
Depending on a lobster’s diet, the coloration of their shells can vary. Foods high in iodine, such as squid, give lobsters a bluish hue. Foods high in a certain carotenoid, called astaxantian, help give our calico lobster its vibrant orange color. Caroteniods are found in plants such as carrots and phytoplankton.
Since lobsters don’t like carrots, and phytoplankton is too small for adult lobsters to eat, we have to incorporate animals that filter feed on phytoplankton such as mussels, clams, and quahogs. These are all common in Narragansett Bay and loved by our calico lobster.
In the wild, lobsters live on a rocky bottom habitat, both in bays and the open ocean, ranging from Labrador, Canada and south to Virginia. Out of this entire lobster population, it is estimated that calico lobsters are 1 out of every 30 million lobsters.
For more information about adventures with Save The Bay, visit our website.