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Rare yellow lobster turns up in Massachusetts seafood restaurant

June 12, 2009 |  2:02 pm

Fiona, a rare yellow lobster A lobster named Fiona is turning heads in Eastham, Mass., where she has been living in a tank at Arnold's Lobster and Clam Bar since being caught off the coast of Canada's Prince Edward Island a few weeks ago.

Fiona (named by restaurant owner Nathan "Nick" Nickerson after the granddaughter of his girlfriend) is thought to be an extremely rare yellow lobster, although her orange spots make it difficult to be certain. Whether or not she is the elusive yellow lobster, her unusual coloration is certainly the result of a genetic mutation -- a mutation so rare that specialists told the Boston Globe that she's a one-in-30-million specimen. 

"In 57 years in Cape Cod, I have never seen a yellow lobster and I doubt that I will ever see one again," Nickerson said in an interview with CNN.  Nickerson received Fiona as a gift from a fisherman friend, and although she shares a tank with lobsters he plans to serve as food to his customers, he insists that Fiona is a pet. 

When asked by the Globe if the rare lobster would ever be eaten, Nickerson responded with horror.  Making food out of Fiona would be "like steaming a Rembrandt," he said.  And he certainly treats her as a rare and precious artifact: Fiona's claws, unlike those of her tank-mates, aren't bound by rubber bands.  The yellowfin tuna she eats is "sushi quality," Nickerson explained (the other lobsters eat codfish). 

He plans to keep her in his restaurant for a while before donating her to either the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History or the New England Aquarium.  (For another photo of Fiona, click the jump.)

Fiona, a rare yellow lobster

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo (top): Fiona sits among normally pigmented lobsters at Arnold's Lobster and Clam Bar.  Credit: Julia Cumes / Associated Press

Photo (bottom): Nickerson holds up Fiona, right, and a normally pigmented lobster. Credit: Julia Cumes / Associated Press

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