Maine teen nets rare blue lobster
A 14-year-old Old Orchard Beach girl has added to a summer of lobster oddities.
Meghan LaPlante pulled up a bright blue lobster Saturday from one of the 150 traps she tends off Pine Point in Scarborough. Only about 1 in 2 million lobsters is blue, according to the Lobster Institute at the University of Maine in Orono, and Meghan said she will donate hers to the Maine State Aquarium in West Boothbay Harbor.
“I knew that it was definitely rare, but I actually have never seen any other unordinary lobster,” said LaPlante, who is about to start her freshman year in high school. She and her dad have been lobstering many summer afternoons this year. “It definitely stood out,” said Jay LaPlante, who helps his daughter with her business. LePlante said he’s never seen anything close to the blue lobster they caught Saturday.
Earlier this year, a lobsterman pulled a calico lobster, sporting patches of orange and dark blue on its shell, out of a trap in New Hampshire. It was sent to a Hampton aquarium. Late last month, a bright yellow lobster – origin unknown – ended up in a supermarket tank in Florida, where a customer bought it and sent it to an aquarium in Rye, New Hampshire.
Meghan said she named the blue lobster Skyler because that’s her favorite name. The lobster will be kept in a separate tank from other lobsters until it’s taken to the aquarium. It’s not unusual for lobsters to turn to cannibalism, and Meghan said she wants to make sure that Skyler doesn’t become a victim.
Meghan has a student lobstering license that allows her to set out 150 traps a year. She has operated a business, Miss Meghan Lobster Catch, from her family’s home for the last eight years. She said she’s now exceeded the benchmark of 1,000 hours of lobstering under her student license and will be able to get a commercial license next year. That will allow her to set out 300 traps.
The money she’s earned goes toward her traps and buoys and a college fund, she said.
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Yellow-orange lobster — rarer than the blue one — arrives at New England Aquarium
The region’s run of weird lobsters continues today at the New England Aquarium, which announced that it has taken in a yellow-orange arthropod that is far rarer that the brilliant blue lobster pulled from Maine waters last weekend by a teenage trapper.
The aquarium — which boasts a blue lobster of its own — distributed an image of the newcomer with some of its other odd specimens.
The “welcoming committee” also included the “famous Halloween lobster, which is orange on one side and black on the other,” officials said in a statement.
The yellow lobster weighs 1½ pounds, and was pulled from a trap by Billy and Cheryl Souza of North Truro, the aquarium said. The pair found the unusual crustacean earlier this month, but left it in a secure trap for a few days so its eggs could disperse.
Blue lobsters, though striking, appear at a frequency of about one in 2 million, researchers say. The yellow-orange lobster is closer to one in 30 million. White lobsters are the rarest of all.
The retrieval of a blue lobster last weekend drew attention across the country, after 14-year-old Meghan LaPlante pulled it from the water near Old Orchard Beach in Maine.
LaPlante, who has a summer job with her parents at Miss Meghan’s Lobster Catch, donated her find to the Maine State Aquarium.
As statistically rare as these off-colored lobsters are, chances are that they all will show up at least once every few years. In Maine alone, statistics show that fishing operations took in almost 126 million pounds of lobster in 2013.
World’s Wooliest Sheep
A merino ram found wandering through scrub in Tasmania could take the title of world’s woolliest sheep.
The six-year-old ram, named Shaun, was found by farmer Peter Hazell on his property in central Tasmania.
Famer Peter Hazell, who caught the animal, said: “He couldn’t see very well because of the wool over his face, so I snuck up behind him and grabbed him.”
The six-year-old ram now has an appointment with a shearer and Mr Hazell and his wift Netty estimate the fleece could weigh at least 20kg, according to ABC news.
The farmers believe Shaun could have come from a farm on Tasmania’s east coast, and were surprised it had managed to wander so far and appear so healthy with such a heavy coat.
The world record for fleece-yield is currently held by a New Zealand sheep called Shrek.
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