Officials report rare genetic mutations in Pacific sea life — Experts: “Never seen anything like this” — Photos show red crabs completely white, “shockingly bright blue… almost unnatural”, or with yellow legs — Environment “could play a role” — Similar finding recently in Japan (VIDEO)
July 22nd, 2014
Nome Nugget (pdf), July 10, 2014: EXTRAORDINARY— Crab fisherman Frank MacFarland shows a rare blue-colored red king crab that he found in his commercial crabbing pots […] According to ADF&G fishery biologists, the blue color is most likely a rare genetic mutation. Biologists also report rare occurrences of white red king crab.
ABC World News, Jul 19, 2014: It is extremely unusual for red king crabs to be blue. Scott Kent, of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Nome, told the AP that blue crabs turn up “once in a blue moon.” He suspects the crab’s unusual coloring is the result of a mutation.
Anchorage Daily News, July 12, 2014 (emphasis added): Alaska The crab’s shell was a deep periwinkle, likely the result of a naturally occurring genetic mutation, Kent said. The rare discovery thrilled Norton Sound fishery managers and biologists in the Northwest Alaska city. […] Justin Noffsker [assistant plant manager at the Norton Sound Seafood Center] said he’s never seen anything like this […] In his 11 years with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Kent had never seen a blue red king crab either […] In September, during a pot survey in Cape Nome, Kent saw his first white red king crab, another rare coloration believed to be caused by a genetic mutation. He has also recently seen piebald crabs, spotted with irregular patches of white. Another had a red carapace but yellow legs. All the variations are considered to be the kind of “normal, random, very rare” mutations that occur within animal populations, Kent said. The environment and the crab’s diet could play a role, he said, but he doubts it. […] In January, wholesalers in Hokkaido, Japan, found [a blue-colored red king crab] in a Russian shipment.
Anchorage Daily News, July 12, 2014: a crab with a deep lavender shell [is] the likely result of a genetic mutation. It was a rare discovery, one that thrilled Norton Sound fishery managers and area biologists who said such sightings are few and far between.
KNOM, July 18, 2014: Onlookers have called it “shockingly bright blue,” “almost unnatural,” and “like that can’t possibly be real.” Causing the stir is a blue-colored red king crab. […] And the question everyone’s asking is, why is it blue? >> Full KNOW broadcast here
Anchorage Daily News, July 12, 2014: Research biologist, Jenefer Bell holds a white red king crab captured during a fall pot survey last September (2013) in front of Cape Nome.
Anchorage Daily News, July 12, 2014: A piebald variety crab photographed by a fisheries observer in the 2013 summer commercial red king crab fishery.