SHORT NOTE
Rare records of hypo- and hyper-pigmented individuals in two delphinid species off Madeira island
Filipe Alves 1, 2, 3  
,  
Rita Ferreira 2, 3,  
Luís Dias 3,  
Dinarte Sousa 4,  
Carlos Moura 4,  
Claudia Gomes 5,  
Ana Dinis 1, 2
 
 
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1
CIIMAR/CIIMAR-Madeira, Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental Research of Madeira, Edifício Madeira Tecnopolo, 9020-105 Funchal, Portugal
2
Oceanic Observatory of Madeira, Edifício Madeira Tecnopolo, 9020-105 Funchal, Portugal
3
VENTURA, Marina do Funchal, Madeira, Portugal
4
H2O-Madeira, Calheta, Madeira, Portugal
5
LOBOSONDA, Calheta, Madeira, Portugal
Online publish date: 2017-06-01
Publish date: 2017-06-01
 
Hystrix It. J. Mamm. 2017;28(1):116–118
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TOPICS:
ABSTRACT:
Sightings of anomalously all-white (leucistic) or all-black (melanistic) individuals are rare in nature, with information on hypo- and hyper-pigmented short-beaked common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) and Atlantic spotted dolphins (Stenella frontalis) being scarce in the literature. This study describes seven sightings of anomalously pigmented D. delphis and S. frontalis recorded off Madeira Island between 2014 and 2016. This includes: i) four records of a dark-pigmented D. delphis that lacked the distinctive hourglass colour (yellow) pattern, ii) two records of an all-white D. delphis, and iii) one record of an all-white S. frontalis. All records consisted of full-sized animals and were observed displaying the same behaviour as the other individuals in the same group, with no other delphinid species in the vicinities. The all-white individuals had a normal (dark) eye colouration, which indicated that the animals were not true albinos, but rather leucistic individuals. Despite inherent limitations of this condition, the adults observed in this study confirmed the potential longevity of these anomalously pigmented individuals in the wild. Similar reports as of those described here may provide a framework to better understand these animals. This study further highlights the value of sharing photographs via social media forums (e.g. Facebook).
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR:
Filipe Alves   
CIIMAR/CIIMAR-Madeira, Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental Research of Madeira, Edifício Madeira Tecnopolo, 9020-105 Funchal, Portugal
eISSN:1825-5272
ISSN:0394-1914