Spotted on the MBTA: The latest crustacean celeb

If you’re getting home after finals by way of the commuter rail anytime soon, keep an eye out for a special rider: a lobster chillin’ in a cooler.

what if lobsters were mobsters?

Calvin (but no Hobbes)

They say a leopard can’t change its spots, but a lobster’s might save its life. Calvin the calico lobster was caught in Maine and discovered by a chef in his Cambridge restaurant‘s tank. (Fun fact: Though now a pricey food, lobster meat was seen only as fertilizer, fish bait, or a mark of poverty until the mid-19th century in North American society.) His shell’s spots got him out of a tight spot. Noticed for his strange coloration, Cal was spared being boiled or steamed alive and thrashing… or after having been placed in the freezer or stabbed between the eyes, or dying in some other more humane way, that is, if the chef had been concerned that he could feel and remember pain. Apparently, calico lobsters, 1 in 30 million, are the second rarest type of lobster in terms of color after white, estimated at 1 in 100 million.

The lucky crustacean is currently in quarantine at the New England Aquarium and somewhat of a celebrity. And you know what, lobsters are actually a lot more interesting than you might think if you’re procrastinating on studying for finals. Indeed, “they are tranquil and serious, and they know the secrets of the sea,” according to French poet Gérard de Nerval, who had a pet lobster named Thibault. Like snails and spiders, they have blue copper-rich blood, can flee backwards at up to 11 mph, and don’t show signs of aging(!). This means that, protected from injury, disease, and capture, Calvin might live to like 100 years once he gets to his new home at the Biomes Marine Biology Center in North Kingstown, Rhode Island where he will be displayed for school field trips and other educational purposes. Road trip, anyone?


  1. lizbeth hardwick

    11 mph? Seems fast. For how long?

  2. Kathy Nguyen (Author)

    I suppose 5 m/s would be a measure of more appropriate scale, but we don’t use the metric system, so. Also, this is how they do it:

Leave a Reply