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Rare Albino Dolphin Spotted In California [VIDEO]

Oct 08, 2015 12:36 PM EDT
Albino Risso's Dolphin
A rare albino Risso's calf was recently spotted swimming with its mother in Monterey Bay, Calif.
(Photo : Blue Ocean Whale Watch)

A rare albino Risso's calf (Grampus griseus), a type of dolphin, was recently spotted swimming with its mother in Monterey Bay, Calif., according to Blue Ocean Whale Watch. This calf was last seen in January.

"We spotted the albino Risso's dolphin calf today!" the whale watching tour company Blue Ocean Whale Watch wrote on its Facebook page

The calf appears to be bleached, compared to its dark gray mother. Albinism in animals is rare. However, the only difference between the white-colored animals and the other normal-colored members of their species is that albinos' cells are unable to produce melanin.

Melanin controls pigmentation in skin, scales, eyes or hair. Therefore, albino animals generally appear white or pink. Pure albino animals generally appear to be completely pink, because without coloration, their blood vessels show through. On the other hand, partial albinos have some coloration typical of their species and instead appear white.

Being white, however, doesn't automatically make an animal albino. There are many animals that are naturally white, so those that are albino are distinguished by having pink or light blue eyes. Because the Risso's calf's eyes are pink and not blue, it can be considered a true albino, according to Earth Touch News Network.

This is not the only place an albino dolphin has been spotted. In fact, last month "Pinkie" was spotted in Louisiana in the Calcasieu River's ship channel, according to KLFY News. Pinkie, however, appears almost 100 percent pink.

Risso's dolphins are one of the larger members of the dolphin family that generally live in warmer offshore waters. They also tend to travel in groups upwards of 50 animals, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association

A video of the Risso's calf swimming alongside its mother can be found online, courtesy of YouTube. 

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