Eddie is a rare calico lobster who recently found himself on a Rhode Island fishing boat, then at the headquarters of a Washington, D.C., fish wholesaler, only to be saved from certain boiling by his extraordinarily unusual mottled appearance.
"Some say those are as rare as one in 30 million, though any calculations would be inexact," says Cathy Billings, a spokesperson for the Lobster Institute.
ProFish's director of sustainability, John Rorapaugh, tells HuffPost that the lobster "came in with our normal loads," delivered -- and first spotted -- by Newport fisherman Peter Martone, whose long career has included time on the "Perfect Storm"’s Andrea Gail. Martone told Rorapaugh he'd "caught just about everything that swims or hides under the sand" and was impressed with this lobster.
"Wow, this is rare," said Rorapaugh, before taking a picture of Eddie, which he sent out on Twitter.
While ProFish's other sea-dwellers will soon be delicacies -- the company is one of the area's largest fish sellers; its more exotic offerings include toothy northern snakehead and blue catfish -- Eddie is not destined for your dinner plate. ProFish, which has not always been lauded for its preservationism, is looking for a more permanent, less buttery landing point for the crustacean -- maybe with Baltimore's aquarium.
"They're one of our customers," says Rorapaugh. "We supply the seafood for their cafeteria."
Until he's rehomed, Eddie is sequestered away at ProFish's D.C. offices, in "his own little tank." Rorapaugh says that ProFish is not considering keeping the black and orange lobster as a mascot, however. "Don't think he could handle the attention!"
While, mysteriously, more calico lobsters are turning up in the Northeast than in previous years, oddly-colored lobsters still make news. For example in 2012, chef Jasper White famously pardoned a black and yellow calico lobster named Calvin.
“He’s a lucky lobster because he’s not going to get cooked,” White told the New York Times.
Lucky lobster indeed, Calvin eventually made his way to join a horseshoe crab with a prosthetic tail and an octopus who opens jars of food at a private aquarium in Rhode Island -- by commuter rail; the marine biologist who owns the aquarium said he'd keep Calvin in a cooler on the train.
Nearly a year later, Calvin's luck is holding out.
"Yeah, he's still here," says Graham Hall of the Biomes Marine Biology Center.
Would Biomes be interested in taking in another rare lobster -- and also reconnecting Eddie with his Little Rhody roots -- should Baltimore not be interested in adopting this colorful guy?
"I'd have to talk to my boss," says Hall. "I'd imagine we would. I'm sure he would be very interested."
In which case there's just one last thing to worry about: what happens if Eddie's spots don't last.
"Lobster colors outside of the norm are typically due to genetics," says the Lobster Institute's Billings. "In some cases the food a lobster eats may affect its color in the short-term."