A rare white lobster that was caught off Chebeague Island last week is getting attention on social media.

The Maine Coast Fisherman’s Association, a Brunswick-based nonprofit that supports and advocates for Maine’s community based fishermen, posted a contributed photograph and a short story about the catch on its Facebook page. The photograph shows the lobster resting on a lobster trap next to a more common reddish brown lobster.

Since then, the photograph, which was taken by 48-year-old lobsterman Alex Todd of Chebeague Island, has been shared more than 2,300 times on Facebook and received more than 300 comments. Todd said he was fishing in his boat, the Jacob and Joshua, when he hauled in the white lobster off the northeast end of Chebeague Island on Aug. 24.

“It was almost transparent, but you couldn’t see inside,” Todd said Thursday. Todd said he has been lobstering for years, getting his license when he was 6 years old.

Todd said he brought the lobster ashore to show his family and friends, but returned the crustacean to the Gulf of Maine.

“Everyone thought it was pretty cool,” he said. Todd said he has caught some multicolored lobsters during his years fishing, but never a white one. The one he caught did have some shades of blue.

Todd said the lobster was a V-notched female. Lobstermen use the V-shaped mark to signal that a lobster is a female and possibly carrying eggs – both criteria for returning it to the ocean.

Normally, a lobster gets its color by mixing yellow, blue and red protein pigments. But genetic mutations can occur, producing a blue, yellow or red lobster, the Fishermen’s Association post said.

“This lobster probably has a genetic condition called leucism, which isn’t a total loss of pigment – which would make the lobster an albino – but instead a partial loss. This is why you can still see some hints of blue on the shell and color on the eyes,” the post said.

Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

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