[MARMAM] FW: new publication - white humpback NA

Kit Kovacs kit.kovacs at npolar.no
Sun May 5 01:44:29 PDT 2013

Lydersen, C., Øien, N., Mikkelsen, B., Bober, S., Fisher, D. and Kovacs, K. M. 2013. A white humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) in the Atlantic Ocean, Svalbard, Norway, August 2012. Polar Research 2013, 32, 19739, http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/polar.v32i0.19739.

A white humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) was observed on several occasions off Svalbard, Norway, during August 2012. The animal was completely white, except for a few small dark patches on the ventral side of its fluke. The baleen plates were light-coloured, but the animal's eyes had normal (dark) colouration. This latter characteristic indicates that the animal was not an albino; it is a leucistic individual. The animal was a full-sized adult and engaged in "bubble-feeding" together with 15-20 other humpback whales each time it was seen. Subsequent to these sighting, polling of the marine mammal science community has resulted in the discovery of two other observations of white humpback whales in the Barents Sea area. One of these records was a calf in 2004 and the other a larger individual in 2006. It is likely that all of these sightings are of the same individual, but there is no genetic or photographic evidence, so this suggestion cannot be confirmed. The rarity of observations of such white individuals suggests that they are born at very low frequencies or that the ontogenetic survival rates of the colour morph are low.
link: http://www.polarresearch.net/index.php/polar/article/view/19739

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