A rare bright blue lobster will be donated to an aquarium after being found in a shipment at a seafood restaurant in Massachusetts.
Arnold's Lobster and Clam Bar posted on social media that its owner, Nathan Nickerson III, had found the creature after it was caught in the Atlantic and brought to the establishment.
Restaurant staff decided not to release the lobster into the wild due to the local habitat being unsuitable and will donate the blue crustacean to St. Louis Aquarium in Missouri instead.
“Lobsters require rocky ground to hide in, something not accessible to us at our local beaches, you have to go miles out to reach ocean floors like that," Jennie Sparrow, the restaurant's marketing and social media manager, said.
“We thought a large aquarium would provide the best sanctuary and people can learn and admire at the same time."
American lobsters are generally dark bluish green to reddish brown.
According to the University of Maine's Lobster Institute (UMLI), an estimated one in every two million lobsters is bright blue.
Ms. Sparrow said: “The lobster arrived in one of our deliveries about two weeks ago.
“After discovering it we immediately decided we would donate it. It is much too rare to consume.
“While trying to figure out what aquarium to donate it to, our hockey team (the Boston Bruins) was playing for the Stanley Cup against the St. Louis Blues hockey team.
“After losing to them, we thought it fitting and a good gesture to donate our 'Little Blue' to the Blues' home town aquarium."
(Nathan Nickerson III/Arnold's Lobster and Clam Bar/PA)
According to the UMLI, some lobsters have bright blue coloring as a result of a genetic mutation that causes the lobster to produce an excessive amount of a particular protein.
The protein, and a red carotenoid molecule known as astaxanthin, combine to form a blue complex known as crustacyanin, giving the lobster its rare blue color.
The lobster will be donated to the St. Louis Aquarium next week.