Electric blue lobster saved from the pot

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An electric-blue lobster is headed for the London Aquarium after a fishmonger rescued it from the pot.

The strikingly coloured crustacean, now named Lionel, was caught off the eastern coast of Scotland and offered for sale at Billingsgate Market.

Fishmonger Rex Goldsmith, 45, was purchasing supplies for his shop, The Chelsea Fishmonger, there when he spotted the lobster. Finding it too beautiful to be eaten, he purchased it and contacted researchers at the Natural History Museum, who took it and confirmed its identity as a European lobster (Homarus gammarus) before handing it over to the London Aquarium.

According to Goldsmith: "It's the most striking blue lobster I have seen in my 30 years in the business and was too nice to put in a pot and boil.

"I had a word with the seller and we both agreed on how nice it looked. He sold it to me for £10, which is the normal price for a lobster that size."

"I then rang up the museum and they came round to pick it up. It's beautiful and I can't wait to take the kids to see it at the aquarium."

European lobsters are typically much darker blue in colour. Experts believe that Lionel's colour is due to a rare genetic mutation. According to crustacean expert Paul Clark of the Natural History Museum, the spectacular colour would not keep well as a preserved specimen. The alcohol used in the process would cause the colour to disappear after a few years, he said.  

Since Lionel's fate is not to end up in a cooking pot or a museum jar (yet), it is hoped that his striking colour would be a source of admiration at the aquarium for years to come.

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