Sign up for our Free email Newsletter
and get all the latest wildlife news!
Choose:
Wild Travel Magazine

Albino Humpback spotted off Queensland

22/06/2011 07:52:19
whales/october_2009/migaloo_white_whale_cairns

Migaloo the albino humpback whale swims south between Low Isles and Batt Reef off Port Douglas. Photographer: MARC McCORMACK. © 2009 The Cairns Post PTY LTD.

Migaloo, the white Humpback whale, has been seen off Fraser Isalnd - Courtesy of Cairns.com.au

June 2011.  Migaloo -A Humpback whale that is bigger than a truck and iridescent white - has returned to Queensland's waters. He has joined a record number of Humpbacks making their annual migration to the warm Reef water from Antarctica.

Oskar Peterson, founder of the Gold Coast-based White Whale Research Centre,  believes the whale's early appearance in Queensland waters may be a result of flooding on the mid-north coast of NSW.

"He's probably avoided all of the coastal areas of New South Wales because of the rain," he said. "He doesn't like freshwater run-off - most whales don't."

13,500 Humpbacks
There are estimates that at least 13,500 whales will head north this year, with the first Humpbacks of the season seen by dive boats off Cairns late May.

Migaloo the albino humpback whale swims south between Low Isles and Batt Reef off Port Douglas. Photographer: MARC McCORMACK. © 2009 The Cairns Post PTY LTD.

Migaloo the albino humpback whale swims south between Low Isles and Batt Reef off Port Douglas. Photographer: MARC McCORMACK. © 2009 The Cairns Post PTY LTD.

First seen in 1991
Greg Kaufman, from the Pacific Whale Foundation, was amongst the group that first spotted Migaloo off the coast of Byron Bay in 1991 and took a photo of the famed Humpback. Aboriginal elders named him Migaloo - meaning "White Fella'.

The big fella was first seen off Snapper Island by a fishing boat and word quickly spread.

Click here to go to the original story on Cairns.com.au, or click here to go to their photo gallery of Migaloo.

Albinism, Leucism and other colour variations in animals

Leucism is a very unusual condition whereby the pigmentation cells in an animal or bird fail to develop properly. This can result in unusual white patches appearing on the animal, or, more rarely, completely white creatures.

Albinism is a different condition. The easiest way to tell the difference between the two is that in albinism the eyes are usually pink or red, and albinism affects the entire animal, not just patches.

This occassionaly causes very excited biologists to think they have discovered a new species, when in fact leucism is the cause of the unusual markings they have seen. Click here to see our gallery of leucistic animals and birds.

 

Read the comments about this article and leave your own comment

To post a comment you must be logged in.
CLICK HERE TO LOG IN AND POST A COMMENT

New user? Register here

 

Click join and we will email you with your password. You can then sign on and join the discussions right away.