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Rare 'calico lobster' found at Maryland seafood counter

Unloading a shipment from Maine, the owner of Ocean City Seafood distributor in Silver Spring made a one-in-30-million discovery.

Among the dark bluish and greenish brown crustaceans, the owner found a rare “calico” lobster with a mottled orange and black shell in a delivery last month.

“We knew she was special we didn’t even know why,” said Rita Montoya, a spokeswoman for Ocean City Seafood.

Montoya said Ocean City Seafood’s owner quickly made the decision to set the calico lobster aside, sparing her from the steam pot, and called the National Aquarium in Baltimore for advice. Montoya said the lobster, named “Eve” remains in a special tank at Ocean City Seafood until she’s expected to be relocated to an aquarium.

“The fact that she was able to survive this long, it’s pretty amazing,” Montoya said.

The University of Maine’s Lobster Institute says such a find is a one-in-30-million chance, even more unusual than blue and live red lobsters, which are also quite rare. However, there are lobsters that are more elusive: a split-colored lobsters, with half the body being orange and half brown, and “crystal” or albino lobsters, which are only found in one in 100 million.

In October, the Portland Press Herald reported another calico found by a local lobsterman, which was named “Friendly Krueger,” a reference to the Freddy Krueger horror movie franchise. Food & Wine magazine has reported several rare lobster findings, including a rare blue lobster named “Cotton Candy.

The Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta has expressed interest in housing Eve permanently, Montoya said.

“We’re still in the very early planning stages of possibly caring for the lobster at the aquarium,” Georgia Aquarium spokeswoman Paige Hale said in an email Saturday.

National Aquarium staff members in Baltimore in the meantime have provided instructions on special care, including the best temperature for the tanks that she shares with other lobsters, Montoya said.

National Aquarium spokeswoman Corinne Weaver said “our team is doing what we can to help” and said there’s also been discussion that she could be taken to the New England Aquarium in Boston.

“We’re hoping to be a resource,” she said.

jkanderson@baltsun.com

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