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White Orca

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dan loves zebras's picture
Joined: Oct 2 2006
White Orca

Originally Posted by Los Angles Times
ANCHORAGE, ALASKA -- The white killer whale spotted in Alaska's Aleutian Islands sent researchers and the ship's crew scrambling for their cameras.

The nearly mythic white whale was real after all.

"I had heard about this whale but we had never been able to find it," said Holly Fearnbach, a research biologist with the National Marine Mammal Laboratory in Seattle who photographed the rarity. "It was quite neat to find it."

The whale had been spotted once years ago in the Aleutians but had eluded researchers since, even though they had seen many of the more classic black-and-white orcas over the years.

Fearnbach said the white whale stood out.

"When you first looked at it, it was very white," she said Thursday.

More observation showed that while the whale's saddle area was white, other parts of its body had some pigmentation, a subtle yellowish or brownish color.

It probably is not a true albino given the subtle coloration, said John Durban, a research biologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Alaska Fisheries Science Center in Seattle. That's probably a good thing. True albinos usually don't live long and can have health problems.