Mini aquarium gets rare lobster and crab in same week

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Josh Pennell
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An albino crab is now calling the Petty Harbour Mini Aquarium home. It was caught by local fisherman Bobby Chafe.

As if things from the ocean's depths weren't fascinating enough, the Petty Harbour Mini Aquarium got two rarities recently which have made its opening week all the more exciting.

Both a blue lobster and an albino crab were picked up in fishermen's pots this week, and the two curious crustaceans currently call the aquarium home.

Melanie Knight, executive director of the aquarium, says the two additions are spectacular.

"We're pretty amazed," she says. "That's the thing about the ocean. There's so much down there."

The lobster was picked up by a fisherman who reported it to DFO, which suggested the aquarium might like to have the specimen.

"He's doing really well," says Knight, adding that the lobster isn't a solid blue like some other blue lobsters that have made the news lately.

"He's more spotted than that, but he's a beauty," she says.

The albino crab was caught by Petty Harbour fisherman Bobby Chafe.

"It's not that often you see them," says Chafe.

Chafe has seen a couple of them during his time crabbing, and ordinarily he would just let them go. This time he immediately thought of the mini aquarium.

While Chafe may have seen them before, other fishermen are taking advantage of getting their first glimpse at one since it made it to the aquarium.

"Since then, every fisherman who's been fishing crab for forever have been coming in and they have just been blown away," says Knight.

For a crab to be albino, Knight says, the creature has to have two recessive genes. Part of the reason they're so rare is that the different colouring means they're not as camouflaged as regular crab and they get predated on quickly. They don't often live long enough to grow very big.

According to a news release from the Petty Harbour Mini Aquarium, it took in the two specimens, recent media reports have indicated the odds of catching a blue lobster have been calculated as one in two million and the odds of catching an albino crab are apparently even greater.

That said, the chances of getting to name a blue lobster are ridiculously slim, but the aquarium is inviting people to do just that.

On the Facebook page for the Petty Harbour Mini Aquarium, people can offer their ideas.

They can also provide it over Twitter @PettyHrMiniAqua with the hashtag #bluelobster.

Knight says the aquarium will take names until Sunday night and will put a panel together to pick the lobster's name from the Top 5. Some of the more interesting suggestions so far include Hypothermia and Bluestar.

The albino crab has already been named "Casper" by a number of fishermen, so Knight says the aquarium is going to let that name stick.

josh.pennell@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Petty Harbour Mini Aquarium

Geographic location: Petty Harbour

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