Toby the Blue Lobster

Meet Toby

Our beloved blue lobster!

DID YOU KNOW?

Toby’s blue hue comes from a genetic variation that is present in every 1-in-2 million lobsters!

Exhibit Name and Location:

Maryland: Mountains to the Sea

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Toby the Blue Lobster

About Toby

Fisherman John Gourley caught Toby in 2012 on his boat, the Pot Luck, near Ocean City, Maryland. Because of his rare blue hue, Gourley generously donated Toby to the National Aquarium.

After going through a short quarantine period, Toby was transferred to our facility in Washington, D.C., where he joined the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary exhibit.

After our D.C. facility closed in September of 2013, Toby was transported up to Baltimore on January 7, 2014, Toby was added to the Atlantic Shelf Gallery in the Maryland: Mountains to the Sea exhibit.

According to the University of Maine Lobster Institute, Toby’s blue color comes from a genetic variation that causes him to produce an excessive amount of a particular protein. This characteristic is estimated to be present in every 1-in-2 million lobsters.

About the American Lobster

American lobsters, like Toby, are found along the eastern coast of North America. They like cave-like structures and the continental shelf habitat of the coastline. Lobsters are bottom dwellers and tend to settle on the ocean floor, where they hide in caves and crevices.

Lobsters have 10 legs, including two strong claws. One has big teeth to help crush shells, and the other has teeth like a steak-knife edge to help with cutting soft flesh.

Lobsters molt about 20 to 25 times in their lifetime, outgrowing their skeleton shell and shedding it to form a new one. Sometimes they even eat their old shell, which gives them calcium to harden their new shell.



Lobster Facts

Diet

Lobsters are omnivorous. Their diet typically consists of a mixture of fish, crabs, clams, mussels, sea urchins and sea stars.

Size

Lobsters can measure up to 3.25 feet in length and can weigh up to 40 pounds.

Type

Invertebrate.

Lifespan

The average known lifespan of a lobster can range anywhere from 20 to 50 years.

Range

North Atlantic waters, from Canada to South Carolina.

Population Status

Stable: American lobsters are not considered threatened, but overfishing could change that in the future.

Relatives

Toby is a crustacean, which means he is related to crabs and shrimp, and distantly related to spiders.

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Holly Bourbon
Curator of Large-Fish Exhibits/Diving Safety Officer

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As the curator of large-fish exhibits, Holly's day-to-day responsibilities include managing our staff of aquarists and making sure that all of the animals under our care are doing well! Learn More

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