Picture of the Day: The White Whale
THE WHITE WHALE
An extremely rare white humpback whale was spotted recently near Norway. Welsh maritime engineer Dan Fisher made the startling discovery off the coast of Norway in August. According to the Daily Mail (where you can find more photos), Fisher has dubbed him Willow the White Whale.
Website Life’s Little Mysteries states: this is only the second known adult white humpback whale on the planet. The first is Migaloo, a humpback who’s made numerous cameos off Australia’s east coast. The whale’s name means “white fella” in Aboriginal, and he’s usually spotted as he makes his annual migration to Antarctic waters during the southern spring.
While Migaloo is thought to be affected by albinism, a genetic condition that stifles melanin pigmentation, it’s possible his Norwegian counterpart is not albino, but leucistic. Leucism can affect pigments other than melanin and it doesn’t result in the pink eyes characteristic of albinism.
Leucism can also leave an animal with splotches of colour, such as the ones seen briefly on the underside of the Norwegian whale’s tail in the video below: