An extremely rare blue-colored red king crab has been plucked from the Bering Sea – and it’s at least the second specimen captured this year. Back in January, another lavender-hued crustacean was pulled from the same waters.
Nome, Alaska, fisherman Frank MacFarland spotted the latest mutant delicacy in a pot on July 4, and Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologist Scott Kent happened to be nearby to snap a photo. However, Kent could offer no concrete explanation for the weird coloring, telling KNOM radio:
The best answer I can give you is, I have no idea. My hunch is it’s just a very rare mutation and expressed in only few individuals within a population.
One of those other individuals was discovered in Japan, in a shipment of live red king crabs. Japanese experts mused that the color change could have been a result of the crab’s diet, but likely was “a mutation causing lack of pigment.”
Red king crabs are (traditionally) red, and found in the Bering Sea, as well as along the coast of Alaska and Canada down to British Columbia.
I don’t know why, but I like this sort of story – the harmless animal mutation that results in something beautiful. If this were a comic book, the mutant crabs might have unbreakable claws and shoot lasers from their eyes! But there’s nothing special about these fellows – they weren’t even imbued with the intelligence to avoid stepping into a trap!