Not only is the dolphin colorful as it leaps over the waves, but it also appears to glow underwater. And swimming alongside its grey-toned companion, it shines out even more. Kate Cummings captured this video near Monterey Bay, California.
While this is not the same as the white whale depicted in Moby Dick, it is comparable—at least in terms of coloration. The fortunate passengers on board the Princess Monterey Whale Watching Boat were delighted to see an amazing young pale-skinned human dolphin that appeared to be in good health and spirits.
The dolphin, from the start, could undoubtedly be confused and has been questioned as to whether it could be a “leucistic” singular (which refers to a partial loss of pigmentation in the skin, as opposed to a complete loss of pigmentation as a genuine pale-skinned person may have) due to the yellow splotches all over its body.
Nonetheless, it is now widely believed that the hue is caused by “diatoms,” or planktonic green growth on its surface.
For those still believing that this Risso is a true albino, Kate Cummings of Blue Ocean Whale Watch has done some “underwater” awesome detective work (comparing the mother’s dorsal fin in recent photos with ones from another baby albino also spotted in Monterey Bay) to find out that this juvenile dolphin actually belongs to one last seen two years ago.
Although the eyes are less visible in the recent images, the confirmation that this is the same dolphin as the one observed in 2015 indicates that it is a real albino, as evidenced by the pinkish tint of the eyes—rather than blue, which would imply leucistic colouring.
As calves, Risso’s dolphins are normally a dark gray color, but can range in adult color from blueish gray to grayish brown to pale white. Additionally, they have several scars on their bodies, most likely from clashes with the deep sea squid on which they feed.
Such a unique creature is an incredible sight, and it becomes all the more surprising when you consider that albinism is estimated at around “one in 10,000 births”. While Risso’s dolphins are classified as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List, which means there are many more to discover, we agree with Blue Ocean Whale Watching when they say, “I hope we don’t have to wait years to see them again!”
Watch the amazing video here: