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

(Dave Ogilvie photo)
One injured after being pinned by fallen forklift near Peachland

West Kelowna emergency crews responded to reports of a person stuck under a forklift

(Big White Ski Resort/Contributed)
Big White’s big clean-up: Large turnout for post-melt mountain tidy

More than 165 people showed up to help gather the litter left behind from the winter season

Mounties cover a burgundy truck with a tent at Buckerfields in West Kelowna on Monday, June 14. The RCMP is investigating after a woman’s body was found inside the truck. (Amandalina Letterio/Capital News)
West Kelowna RCMP investigating suspicious death after body found in truck

Police responded to a truck parked out front of a Main Street business where the body was found

(Jenna Cocullo / The Northern View)
Delays expected on Lakeshore Road this week

Northbound traffic on Lakeshore between Richter and Barrera will be detoured for paving

David Larsen, left, and co-host Tony Peyton. (K96.3/Twitter)
Popular Kelowna radio host dies after battle with cancer

David Larsen was half of the longtime Kelowna morning-show duo David and Tony

Singer-songwriter Jann Arden is pictured with a draft horse. (Canadian Horse Defence Coalition)
Jann Arden backs petition to stop live horse export

June 14 is the International Day to End Live Export of Animals

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Penticton Overdose Prevention Society co-founders Desiree Franz, Shane Surowski and Stephanie Lines have created the city’s first unsanctioned public overdose prevention site using an old wine-tour bus. The site began operations in June 2021. (Desiree Franz/Facebook)
Volunteers launch Penticton’s first public supervised injection site

2021 is on pace to be the deadliest year for overdoses in Penticton on record

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. ambulance station in Revelstoke is expected to get a new system called the Scheduled On-Call (SOC) this fall. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
B.C. ambulance changes could put Revelstoke residents at risk, warn local paramedics

Paramedics said to expect a substantial increase in ambulance response time starting this fall

Jane Linden
KCR: Volunteering keeps you active

Kelowna Community Resources shares stories of its volunteers in a weekly column

This goose family went for a leisurely stroll down Vernon’s Main Street Saturday, April 25. (Dave Deshane photo)
Controversial Vernon goose cull won’t fly this year

Necessary permit procedures held up at a federal level

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

Most Read