In the Pink

Photo of a rare Albino bottlenose dolphin spotted in Louisiana

Twice in recent weeks I’ve received emails  (thanks Karen W. & Stephen!)  tipping me off about news of a recent rare find — a pink bottlenose dolphin.   Sure, I’ve written before about the Indo-pacific Humpback dolphins in Hong Kong and there are the Amazon fresh-water river dolphins in South America, but this pink dolphin is much closer to home…

This pink bottlenose dolphin was photographed by Capt. Erik Rue during a fishing charter boat trip on Calcasieu Lake, an estuary just north of the Gulf of Mexico in southwestern Louisiana.

This marks only the 3rd reported sighting of an albino bottlenose dolphin in the Gulf of Mexico and is the most recent of a mere 14 recorded sightings in the entire world, with the earliest in 1962.

Where the common bottlenose dolphin is grey, this very rare albino calf has a bright bubblegum-pink coloration.   Albinism, a genetic disorder known to affect mammals, fish, birds, reptiles, & amphibians, is a condition that prevents the body from making the usual amounts of the melanin pigment.   This causes affected animals to have pink-hued skin and reddish eyes due to the underlying blood vessels showing through.