On South Georgia Island, for the first time in history, there wasdiscovered a penguin with yellow feathers. He was spotted by Belgian photographer Yves Adams, who arrived on the island to capture the life of 120,000 king penguins. The birds swam to the shore when the man tried to settle down in a convenient location for shooting. Among ordinary individuals with black and white plumage, he noticed a yellow penguin and immediately rushed to photograph him. He managed to take several successful pictures and after a few days journalists began to call the photographer in order to find out as much information as possible about the bird. And this is not surprising, because this is the first time in history when a person managed to see a yellow penguin. Because of what the found individual is so different from others, it is already known. Now I'll tell you everything.
What color are the penguins?
An unusual penguin was told in the publicationDaily Mail. As a rule, penguins are painted in black and white. But there are also more colorful types. For example, king penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus) have yellow spots on the head and breast. It is to this species that the found individual belongs. According to photographer Yves Adams, it is a great success that the penguin came out of the water near him. There were about 120,000 birds on the beach, so if this individual was at least 50 meters from it, an amazing meeting might not have happened.
What is leucism?
The unusual coloration of penguin feathers is associated withleucism. So it is customary to call a genetic mutation that stops the formation of melanin and all other pigments in feathers that are responsible for hair color. Sometimes leucism makes the color uneven and the animal has a speckled body. But in the case of this penguin, the mutation changed color completely. In no case should leucism be confused with albinism. The fact is that albinism affects only melanin, while with leucism, pigment cells are completely absent.
You might be interested in: you can distinguish an animal with leucism and albinism by the eyes. Albino eyes are also colored in an unusual color, such as red. With leucism, there is no change in eye color.
King penguins are a lot likeimperial, but smaller in size and have a brighter color. They grow up to a maximum of 1 meter and have a dark back and white belly. Until 1918, king penguins were often hunted. This led to the fact that on some islands, their population declined sharply. But thanks to protective methods, the number of individuals returned to normal and at the moment they are not threatened.
See also: In New Zealand, found the remains of a penguin as tall as a person
Why was the largest iceberg in the world dangerous?
However, recently the penguins of South Georgiawere in great danger. In August 2020, the world's largest iceberg with an area of 5,800 kilometers began to move towards this piece of land. Scientists worried that if the ice block did not change its route, the penguins would be trapped and unable to get food. This could lead to the death of all 120,000 penguins, because there was no plan to rescue them. An iceberg on the island's territory could get stuck there for as long as 10 years.
Fortunately, satellite imagery recently showedthat a huge iceberg split into several pieces. In early 2021, the four remaining units began to sail in different directions and eventually passed the island sideways. Thanks to a lucky coincidence, the king penguins survived. And this is great news, because these creatures live only in strictly defined places on our planet. In addition to South Georgia Island, they can be found only in the South Sandwich Islands, Heard Island and a couple of other places. There are about 1 million pairs of king penguins around the world.
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The found penguin is far from the only oneanimals with an unnatural yellow body color. In 2020, an animal similar to the Pokemon Pikachu was found in Australia. In fact, it turned out to be a fox-shaped possum (Trichosurus vulpecula), in whose body a mutation associated with the pigment melanin also occurred. Its unusual coloration made it more visible to predators, but it was taken under protection. At one time, the news became very popular - you can look at the unusual possum at this link.