1-in-30 million calico lobster a hit at Hampton Beach

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By Kyle Stucker

Hampton Union, August 1, 2014

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

Calioco lobster
Josiah Beringer, captain of the fishing vessel Patricia Lynn, caught
this rare calico lobster in one of his traps. [Deb Cram photo]

HAMPTON — An extremely rare marine creature has been creating quite a buzz around Hampton Beach since a local fisherman pulled it from the mouth of Hampton Harbor last week.

Josiah Beringer and his nephew Isaiah JewellJosiah Beringer found a bright orange calico lobster with dark blue spots in one of his traps July 23 and decided to donate it to the Explore the Ocean World Oceanarium for educational purposes.

"I've caught five of them including that one (over the last 14 years), but that is definitely by far the coolest by a long shot," said Beringer, 27. "This one even had spots on his antennae. It was pretty rad."

Beringer and his nephew, Isaiah Jewell, caught the 1½-pound, approximately 5-year-old male lobster in an area known as Washerwoman Rock, an area between two rocks that he said gets its name from its "really rough" and "washing machine"-like waters.

Ellen Goethel, a Hampton marine biologist who runs the oceanarium, said calico lobsters are the "second most rare lobster" in the world.

The lobster's spots are the result of a genetic pigmentation mutation that occurs in 1 in every 30 million to 50 million lobsters, according to Goethel. Albinos are the most rare, found in 1 in every 100 million lobsters.

Beringer said he gave the lobster, which he named "Blue" after the color of trap in which it was caught, to Explore the Ocean World Oceanarium because it's "pretty interesting being able to go in" and see rare marine creatures in person.

"I always like to donate cool stuff like that so kids can learn about them," Beringer said.

The lobster has become somewhat of a local celebrity, as Goethel has received a number of calls inquiring about the colorful crustacean and his origins.

"I've never seen one this bright," Goethel said. "It's absolutely gorgeous. It is really rare and it is pretty cool."

Like all of the oceanarium's animals, the lobster will be a temporary resident for the summer before Goethel returns it to its natural environment.

Ellen Goethal
Ellen Goethel, a marine biologist and owner of Explore the Ocean World Oceanarium in Hampton, displays a calico lobster caught by Capt. Josiah Beringer. [Deb Cram photo]

"He's quite happy and he'll go back to the ocean after a little stint here," Goethel said. "I'm hoping to keep him here the whole summer."

Explore the Ocean World Oceanarium, which includes a touch tank and a variety of educational opportunities, is located at 367 Ocean Blvd.

Additional information about the oceanarium can be found online at www.exploretheoceanworld.com.

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