Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Iceberg the White Orca Whale

The first recorded white adult male orca whale (Orcinus orca), also known as the killer whale, has been recorded off the coast of Russia. Given the name Iceberg by the group who discovered him, the Russian researchers left last week on another expedition to learn more about the elusive male. Though they are calling the whale an albino in the press, it does not appear certain if the whale has been determined as such yet. It could suffer from leucism as opposed to albinism. The two are similar and often one is mistaken for the other. Where leucism causes defective pigment cells so that patches of the skin, or sometimes all of it, are unable to make pigment. Albanism is a reduction in melanin only. I've been searching for more information and have yet to find any scientific discussion of this whale as an albino. Regardless, he is most definitely white, and he appears to be more than healthy. Making it to adulthood as a male orca takes some serious hootspa, as you might imagine. Anyway, there's more about this over at the Huffington Post, and be sure to check out this fist footage taken of Iceburg.

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