The leucistic crab found off the coast of Sooke. (Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea/Twitter)

The leucistic crab found off the coast of Sooke. (Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea/Twitter)

White crab found off Vancouver Island is never seen in Canada

The odds of the crab’s random leucism mutation are as low as one in six million

More obvious than a diamond in the rough was the lone white Dungeness crab fishers off the coast of Sooke B.C. found in their haul earlier this week.

The full-sized Dungeness crab doesn’t have its typical grey-brown hue with tinges of purple and white-tipped claws. Instead, its claws and legs are completely white while its shell is a cream colour.

Albinism was the first suspect for the crustacean’s colouration. But on closer inspection, the crab’s only partial lack of pigment suggests leucism. Albinism is associated with a complete lack of pigment.

The odds of the crab’s random colour mutation are between one in one million to one in six million, said Kit Thornton, head of animal care at Sidney’s Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea. “As far as I know, we’ve never seen one in Canada,” she said. “Most of us (at the centre) will never see this again in our lifetime.”

RELATED STORY: Invasive crab spotted near Sooke

The bottom feeder will be fed instead of food; the crab was donated to the centre, where it’s currently on display in the Pacific Salmon exhibit. Although it doesn’t have an official name, staff have nicknamed the crab “Walter,” Thorton said.

Thornton said Dungeness fisherman Robbie Heggelund and his crew had netted Walter five times before deciding it should be seen by the public.

“When an animal sticks out in a certain way, people can tend to make more of a connection with it,” Thornton said. “That really helps with our conservation message. We want people to connect with animals in the Salish Sea, so that they feel a passion to preserve them and conserve their habitats.”

RELATED STORY: Viral video shows Sooke resident calling out illegal crab fishers


Do you have a story tip? Email: kiernan.green@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

Hunting and FishingSalish Sea

Just Posted

District of Lantzville Mayor Mark Swain, left, and Snaw-Naw-As Chief Gordon Edwards sign a memorandum of understanding outside Snaw-Naw-As Market on Friday, June 18. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Lantzville and Snaw-Naw-As sign memorandum of understanding

District and First Nation create joint working group

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Tilray announces new line of products offering more inexpensive choices for medical cannabis users. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo-based Tilray launches new medical cannabis product line

Symbios brand products offered at ‘better price point’ for medical cannabis products

Freighters have becomd abundant in the Trincomali Channel on the east side of Thetis Island.
Nanaimo ponders taking on waste from nearby anchored freighters

Vancouver-based Tymac petitioning the Regional District of Nanaimo to accept waste at its landfill

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Janice Coady, left, Aimee Chalifoux and Linda Milford at a vigil for Amy Watts on Wednesday, June 16, outside Nanaimo city hall. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
‘We need to do better,’ says mother of woman killed in Nanaimo

Vigil held for former outreach worker Amy Watts, whose body was found downtown June 3

The B.C. Ministry of Education has announced close to $44 million for the province’s schools for COVID-19 recovery. (News Bulletin file)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith school stakeholders say COVID-19 recovery funding can make a difference

B.C. Ministry of Education announces it expects a ‘near-normal’ return to class in September

Regional District of Nanaimo is looking to repair sewage pipe in the Hammond Bay Road area, which was corroded by gas. (Black Press file)
Corroded sewer pipe along Nanaimo’s Hammond Bay Road will cost $5.5 million to fix

Pipe replacement and reinforcement part of $6.9-million infrastructure project

(V.I. Trail/Google Maps)
Now 90% complete, Vancouver Island trail forges new funding parnership

Victoria Foundation takes on Vancouver Island Trail Association; fund valued at $40,000

Karl and Stephanie Ann Johanson were thrilled to spot a pair of Sandhill Cranes in the Panama Flats this month, an unusual appearance for such birds. (Photo by Stephanie Ann Johanson)
WATCH: Sandhill cranes an unusual, joyful sight in South Island parkland

These birds don’t often touch down on their way between northern B.C. and Mexico

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Most Read