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.
“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.