Rare Albino-Like Penguin Spotted in Antarctica
17.01.2012 - Flora & Fauna, Antarctic
Tourists on a National Geographic Journey to Antarctica cruise discovered a rare chinstrap penguin with white and light-brown colouration while passing through the South Shetland Islands.
The penguin appears to have isabellinism, a genetic mutation in which pigment is greatly reduced. The result in birds such as penguins is a uniform lightening of the feathers. In the case of penguins, the areas of the head and back which are normally black are grayish-yellow or pale brown.
Many species of penguin exhibit this rare colouration. Isabellinism has been most widely observed in gentoo penguins.
Normally a penguin’s black camouflage helps protect them against predators. It is suspected that isabellinism would affect the species’ survival, although no studies have been done to investigate this.