Aberrant Animal Colors and Morphs

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An albino kangaroo and joey.

Found on http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/topics/science-environment/2014/04/gallery-natures-white-animals/albino-animals-kangaroo

"In the wild albino animals are much less likely to survive for a number of reasons. Being fair or white makes them vulnerable to predators, sunburn and cancer."

Rare Pink Elephant Spotted in South Africa (PHOTOS)

Found on https://weather.com/photos/news/rare-pink-elephant-spotted-in-south-africa

"With his bright pink ears flapping in the wind, this tiny calf was spotted drinking from a river with its mother at Kruger National Park. The pink calf is believed to be an albino, an extremely rare phenomenon amongst African elephants. The rare sighting was made by tourist Nicki Coertze, 58, while on safari with his family in Shingwedzi. (Nicki Coertze/Caters News Agency)"

Rare Pink Elephant Spotted in South Africa (PHOTOS)

Found on https://weather.com/photos/news/rare-pink-elephant-spotted-in-south-africa

"Tourist Nicki Coertze spotted a rare sight while on safari in Kruger National Park in northeastern South Africa with his family. A pink elephant calf, believed to be albino, was photographed drinking from a river with its herd. (Nicki Coertze/Caters News Agency)"

A lone magpie with a rare pigment condition shines white in the crowd

Found on http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/photography/reader-photos/2014/09/reader-photowhite-magpie

"The magpie (Cracticus tibicen)...most likely has a genetic defect known as leucism.

Leucism is a general term caused by defects in pigment cells during development. The hiccup in the genes result in either the entire surface (if all pigment cells fail to develop) or patches of body surface (if only a subset are defective) having a lack of cells capable of making pigment.

This defect differs from that of albinism, as the animal retains areas of normal colouring, such as the beak, legs and eyes. Leucism can also result in the 'piebald' effect sometimes seen in horses and pythons, where the lack of pigmentation only occurs in some areas.

Another contrast between albinism and leucism is in eye colour. Due to the lack of melanin production in both the retinal pigmented epithelium and iris, albino animals typically have red eyes. This is due to the underlying blood vessels showing through, while in contrast, most leucistic animals have normally coloured eyes."

Leucistic giraffe alive and well in Tarangire

Found on http://africageographic.com/blog/leucistic-giraffe-alive-well-tarangire/

"Omo" the leucistic giraffe calf in Tarangire National Park in Tanzania (2015)

Leucistic giraffe alive and well in Tarangire

Found on http://africageographic.com/blog/leucistic-giraffe-alive-well-tarangire/

"Omo" the leucistic giraffe calf in Tarangire National Park in Tanzania (2016)

Leucistic pied Northern Cardinal

Found on http://feederwatch.org/learn/unusual-birds/

"Leucism is a genetic mutation that prevents melanin and other pigments from being deposited normally on feathers. Leucism comes in two main varieties — paleness, an equal reduction of pigment in all feathers; and pied, an absence of pigment in some feathers creating white patches."

A melanistic White-winged Dove.

Found on http://feederwatch.org/learn/unusual-birds/#color-variants

"Melanism is color variation referring to the excessive deposition of the pigment melanin. This results in feathers that are darker than normal. This color variation is far less common than leucism."

Melanistic King Penguin

Found on http://eol.org/data_objects/12569110

Melanistic King Penguin, with two normal-coloured friends, spotted in Fortuna Bay South Georgia Island, Falkland Islands
[credit: Gerald and Buff Corsi © California Academy of Sciences]

Pseudo-melanistic Plains Zebra

Found on http://www.treknature.com/gallery/photo269671.htm

"Two colour variations at the extreme ends of the scale are melanism and albinism. There are essentially a measure of the amount of melanin (pigment) in the skin. Melanistic forms of animals commonly have an excessive amount of melanin which results in completely black forms (as is often seen in black panthers) while albinos have a lack of melanin giving the animals a white appearance.

So what then is the case with this zebra? Well there is another condition referred to as pseudo-melanism or Abundism. This form of darker pigmentation is commonly seen in patterned coats where the number or size of darkly pigmented areas increases. So although there is an increase in the amount of dark pigment the white stripes are still visible."

The Pink Katydids

Found on http://scribol.com/environment/animals-environment/natures-pink-camouflage/2/

"The pink coloring of some katydids is due to a condition called erythrism, an unusual reddish pigmentation that can affect an animal’s body, skin, feathers, hair or eggshells. It is caused by diet or a genetic mutation that either leads to the absence of a normal pigment or the excessive production of another. In katydids, the pink coloring might be a kind of camouflage that hides them on reddish or pinkish plants."


Found on http://jimmccormac.blogspot.com/2009/01/lutino-cardinal.html

"Tom's lutino cardinal. "Lutea" is latin for yellow, thus the term lutino. This cardinal is exhibiting a condition known as xanthochroism, a genetic anomaly that causes an excess of yellow pigments to show through. It may be caused by darker pigments being suppressed, thus permitting less dominant colorations to shine through."

Yellow-breasted Grosbeak

Found on https://seabrookeleckie.com/2009/07/05/scheduled-post-yellow-breasted-grosbeak/

"We caught this bird during our normal MAPS operations on our previous visit to Maplewood Bog. No, it’s not a new species – it’s a Rose-breasted Grosbeak with some plumage abnormalities. ... The yellow breast (and underwing coverts), it turns out, are the result of a condition called xanthochroism. Just like albinism is a lack of pigment, and melanism is an excess of pigment, xanthochroism is an abundance of yellow pigment. It may be caused by certain abnormal items in the diet or dietary deficiencies, or may be genetic. The yellow may either be present in excess, or it may replace another colour (usually red, which is often itself controlled by diet)."

Yellow Hairy Woodpecker

Found on http://www.drewmonkman.com/2013/05/08/

"In xanthochroistic birds, either there is excessive yellow pigment in the feathers or yellow replaces another color, typically red. Xanthochroism occurs not only in birds, but also in other organisms. It may be caused by dietary deficiencies or a genetic mutation. While fairly rare, the condition is nonetheless reported in a number of species of birds."

Yellow House Finches

Found on http://feederwatch.org/learn/unusual-birds/#2

"FeederWatchers often report seeing strangely colored House Finches that they believe have xanthrochroism. However, House Finch coloration varies widely, and research has shown than most of the variation is diet-related rather than a pigment abnormality.

All male House Finches have the same potential for yellow, orange, or red coloration. Researchers who kept House Finches in captivity found the red plumage replaced by yellow unless a carotenoid pigment was mixed in with their food during molt. In the wild, three carotenoid pigments found in natural foods give House Finches their color. Beta-carotene produces yellow to orange colors, isocryptoxanthin produces orange colors, and echinenone produces red colors. Yellow House Finches are frequently seen in the southwest and Hawaii where natural foods are low in some of these carotenoids. In the east birds often feed on the high-carotenoid fruits of ornamental plants."

"SciShow explores one of the more rare and unusual results of sexual reproduction: gynandromorphy, in which an animal is part male and part female."

Gynandromorph Rose-breasted Grosbeak!

Found on http://www.livescience.com/14210-gynandromorphs-dual-sex-disorder-strange-birds-butterflies-gallery.html

"This rose-breasted grosbeak has the red wing lining of a male on one side and the yellow wing lining of a female on the other. It was captured during a bird banding effort."

A gynandromorph cardinal: one half male, the other half female

Found on http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com

"A 'gynandromorph' cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis). A gynandromorph, as the name implies, is an animal that is part male and part female, with the sex-specific parts usually demarcated cleanly."


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