Rare 1 in 30 million calico lobster found at Maryland fish market

The female lobster, named Eve, will be donated to an aquarium.

A rare lobster with a striking color scheme has been discovered alive at a Maryland fish market.

The owner of Ocean City Seafood in Silver Spring, Maryland, "was struck" by the calico lobster -- mottled in bright orange, yellow and black -- as he was checking the fresh catch that had just been shipped from Maine on Dec. 21, the fish market's spokeswoman, Rita Montoya, told ABC News.

"I’ve never seen anything like it," the owner, who was identified only as Nicholas, told ABC Washington, D.C. station WJLA.

Calico lobsters so rare that the chances of finding them alive are about 1 in 30 million, according to the University of Maine's Lobster Institute. The only lobsters more rare than the calico are split-colored lobsters, at 1 in 50 million, and "crystal" or albino lobsters, at 1 in 100 million, according to the institute.

When Nicholas found the female lobster, whom he affectionately named Eve, he didn't realize how rare she was and "wanted to let it live out its life in a tank in his shop rather than become someone's dinner," according to a press release posted to the fish market's Facebook page.

Nicholas then called the National Aquarium in Baltimore. When a researcher came to visit Eve, she was in "shock," saying, 'I need to sit down, 'cause this is crazy,'" Nicholas told WJLA.

Calico lobsters seldom survive in the wild because their wild colors make them susceptible to predators, which is why the fish market will not be releasing Eve back into the wild despite calls from some people to do so, Montoya said. Eve is estimated to be about five to seven years old, according to Montoya.

"With her bright colors, as beautiful as they are, it's actually a danger for her in the ocean," Montoya said. "It's surprising that she's made it this far. Predators can see her easily when she's on the ocean floor."

While Eve is still being housed in Maryland, Ocean City Seafood plans to donate her to an aquarium. Both the National Aquarium and the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta have expressed interest in becoming Eve's permanent home, according to WJLA.

Eve has been so popular in the community that Ocean City Seafood is planning to write a children's book about her, Montoya said.