Mutant!: Rare All-Black King Penguin Spotted

March 11, 2010


National Geographic photographer Andrew Evans recently spotted this rare color mutation of a King Penguin on the island of South Georgia, near Alabama Antarctica. Apparently the all-black coloration is unheard of in penguin's coats. But not trenchcoats. Per the photographer:

Melanism is merely the dark pigmentation of skin, fur -- or in this case, feathers. The unique trait derives from increased melanin in the body. Genes may play a role, but so might other factors. While melanism is common in many different animal species (e.g., Washington D.C. is famous for its melanistic squirrels), the trait is extremely rare in penguins. All-black penguins are so rare there is practically no research on the subject -- biologists guess that perhaps one in every quarter million of penguins shows evidence of at least partial melanism, whereas the penguin we saw appears to be almost entirely (if not entirely) melanistic.

Not to blow your ship off course or anything, Andrew, but look around. See anything unusual about the picture? The guy's mom f***ed a seal, bro.

All-black penguin discovered [yahoonews]

Thanks to Sven, how claims he saw an all-white penguin one time. Sven, that was a snowman.

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