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Lobster Color Facts

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Lobsters are normally greenish-brown in color; however, rare color variants occur in nature and include blue, orange, red, white, calico, and bi-colored options. Most of these oddities are genetic variants, but some forms of blue and light colored lobsters can be induced by a carotenoid-free diet. The carotenoid pigment is found in plant items.

Lobsters turn red when cooked because the protein bonds between the pigments are denatured by the heat and the red pigment (the most stable) becomes visible.



Eyed lobster eggs: as the embryo develops within the egg, egg color changes from dark green (caused by the yolk protein vitellogenin) to reddish brown prior to hatching (due to the uptake and utilization of the protein by the embryo). As the embryo grows, its eyes increase in size dramatically and are visible as black dots through the egg casing.


Blue and red lobster genetic color variants


Bi-colored lobster (protandric gynandromorph): a rare sex-linked genetic color variant with a male organ on one side and a female organ on the other.


Calico color variant (sometimes called Leopard Lobster).

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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This is not the full law. Consult the Division of Marine Fishieries for further details. All persons are reminded that the statutes, code and regulations are the legal authorities.
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