Extremely rare orange lobsters rescued from local seafood markets


Orange is the new lobster.

Two extremely rare pumpkin-colored lobsters turned up this summer at local seafood markets, which recognized their one-in-a-30 million uniqueness and sent them to local aquariums instead of selling them.

The lobsters, which looked like they’re cooked without ever being thrown in a pot, are likely to live much longer in a tank than they would in the wild, where their bright shells would make them easy targets for predators compared to their mud-colored counterparts.

Lobsters can live 100 years, and grow to 4-feet-long and 40 pounds, in captivity. In the ocean, after a couple of years it would be sayonara, shellfish.

Jim R. Coronesi, who has owned Cor-J Seafood Market in Hampton Bays, L.I., for 25 years and buys upwards of 5,000 pounds of lobster annually, instantly recognized he had acquired a scarce crustacean when it arrived from Maine about two months ago.

“For someone to eat it would be ludicrous. Lobsters can live a long time. If they take care of it, that thing could grow to be huge,” Coronesi said.

A month later, the 1.5-pound lobster named “Luigi” — after Coronesi’s father — was given to the New York Aquarium on Coney Island, where he will become “an ambassador for his species.”

For now, Luigi is in quarantine adapting to his new environment: a 100-gallon tank where he spends his days hiding behind rocks and feasting on oysters, clams, shrimp and scallops.

An orange lobster at Essex County Turtle Back Zoo

“I want to make sure he is well-acclimated and doing his lobster thing,” said Animal Programs director William Hana. “I think he is going to start to molt pretty soon.”

In Toms River, N.J., a second orange lobster from Maine was discovered at a Stop & Shop in late July. Employees promptly confined him to his own tank with a “Not for Sale” sign and searched for a permanent home.

Now “Fred” is the latest addition to the Essex County Turtle Back Zoo.

“The chance of finding a lobster this color in the wild is one in 30 million, so we are really lucky to have him in our collection!” the zoo posted on Facebook.