An extremely rare calico-colored lobster has been spared the boiler pot of a Boston restaurant and instead will become the subject of study in a Rhode Island research center.

How the marble-colored lobster ended up in the Summer Shack restaurant without being singled out as a very special crustacean remains a mystery. Restaurant owner Jasper White told that his staff was cleaning the tank when the discovery was made.

“One of my guys said, ‘Chef, look at this lobster,’ and from across the room I knew it was special,” White said, adding that his staff named the critter Calvin.

Scientists with the New England Aquarium were glad to receive Calvin as a donation and are pondering whether to put him on display before he can be shipped to Biomes Marine Biology Center in Rhode Island.

“Calicos are considered a rare color. They used to say 1 in 30 million,” aquarium spokesman Tony LaCasse said. He added, however, that for whatever reason, several were discovered during the summer of 2009.

On Thursday, the aquarium blog posted a photo of Calvin (above) and of a blue lobster on display in the facility’s Gulf of Maine exhibit.

The aquarium has several blue lobsters on display. But they’re not nearly as rare, according to the blog, occurring in the wild at an estimated rate of 1 in 2 to 5 million.

Said White of the calico lobster: “We go through over 300,000 pounds of lobster a year, and I’ve been doing this for 40 years. I’ve seen a lot of lobsters, but I had never seen one like this.”

— Images are courtesy of the New England Aquarium

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