Clawdia the rare blue lobster rescued from local seafood restaurant

Need a feel-good news story to pick you up today?  Here you go.  It’s certainly nice to see Ohio in the news for non-COVID reasons.

The Akron Zoo, where I worked briefly about 10 years ago, recently got a new resident: a blue lobster.  Employees at the local Red Lobster restaurant, which is literally down the road from me, discovered this specimen in one of their shipments and reached out to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which put them in touch with the Akron Zoo.  It turns out that only one in about 2 million lobsters are blue, which certainly makes this lobster pretty special!

A blue lobster taken at the Lobster Trap fish market by Jane Carter / CC BY-SA

“Clawde” then got adopted and relocated to the zoo, which happens to have a lot of experienced aquatic animal keepers because many were hired on there after SeaWorld Ohio closed in 2000.  After settling in there, zoo staff discovered that the lobster was actually female, and she was renamed “Clawdia.”  She’s being housed in the Komodo Kingdom building where the aquatic exhibits are located, though you can’t visit her yet as all zoo building are currently closed to the public due to COVID-19 precautions (the zoo itself is open).

Blue American lobster (Homarus americanus). Taken at the New England Aquarium (Boston, MA, December 2006. Copyright © 2006 Steven G. Johnson and donated to Wikipedia under GFDL and CC-by-SA.

Clawdia’s special color is due to a genetic mutation: she produces an excess amount of a certain protein, which interacts with a red carotenoid molecule known as astaxanthin to form a blue complex known as crustacyanin. As rare as Clawdia is, blue lobsters are caught by fisherman fairly regularly, probably every year.  Even rarer are yellow lobsters and albino lobsters!  And some lobsters can actually be two different colors on their right and left sides, like little crustacean jesters.

So kudos to the Red Lobster staff for recognizing Clawdia’s uniqueness and helping her live out her life in comfort.

ETA: If you want to help support Clawdia, you can donate $50 for her care through the Akron Zoo’s Care for a Critter program, and receive an adorable blue lobster stuffed animal for a limited time.

Read more:

Akron Zoo adopts rare blue lobster from Red Lobster restaurant

Red Lobster employee saves rare blue lobster from becoming dinner



Father’s Day with the Dadman

I am lucky enough to have a wonderful dad, and I am lucky enough to live close to my parents so I was able to spend Father’s Day with him. Somehow when I was growing up, he developed the nickname “Dadman.”  I don’t really remember how.  In any case, he is the Dadman.  Goo goo g’joob.  The image at left is a card I made for him several years ago for Father’s Day.  The inside reads, “Hey, Darth Vader was a father, too!”

I may look like my mother, but I get a lot of my personality from my dad.  Reading is his favorite pastime (along with watching college sports), and he owns pretty much the complete works of Louis L’Amour.  When I was growing up, he read every book that I read.  At the time, I thought it was weird that a grown man was reading The Babysitters’ Club, but now I see that he was trying to relate to me, to understand my worldview, while also passively monitoring my information intake without censoring it.

We took Dadman to the Akron Zoo for Father’s Day this year, and we had a really nice time.  Akron has a lovely little zoo; you can walk the whole thing in a couple of hours, which is just the right length for small children.  They have improved the exhibits tremendously in the 15 years I have been in NE Ohio.  In fact, there have been improvements since I worked there several years ago! There are no monkeys or free-roaming savannah areas, but you can get within feet of a jaguar, feed goats and sheep, and wander through some stellar gardens.  Their new aquatic exhibit, Journey to the Reef, was very interesting–it includes jellyfish, various kinds of corals, a 4-ft. octopus, and clownfish (MOM IT’S NEMO!).  There is also a touch tank with rays at the end.  Next year, they are planning on opening another whole section of the zoo called Grizzly Ridge.

We ate lunch in the Komodo Kingdom cafe, and while it was a little expensive, I was very impressed with the food.  I had a good quality hotdog (advertised as local meat) and a side salad with lots of nice mixed greens–no iceberg here.  They had little Father’s Day activity sheets on the cafe tables for kids to do with Mad Libs and coloring.  Naturally, my husband and I did one also:

Well, I don’t recall my dad ever making pizza or sleeping in a spotted tent, but he is pretty awesome!