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

The Binche Fishing Derby at Stuart Lake is fast approaching. (Binche Fishing Derby Facebook photo)
Binche shares excitement for upcoming fishing derby

“It’s more than just fishing,” says Dave Birdi

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Local youth vaccination clinics underway

Pfizer vaccine will be used

Priya Sharma. (Submitted)
Column: Why ultimatums don’t work

By Priya Sharma It is a common misconception that people can choose… Continue reading

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Most Read