Marine Learning: Normal Text
Genetic Learning: Underlined Text
The chances of catching a leucistic (full white) fish are very low, but there have been occasions where people have caught a leucistic fish. Take Jonathon Morris for example, on June 11, he was fishing off the coast of New Smyrna Beach when he got a snag on his line and reeled in a red snapper that was fully white.
Johnathon caught a leucistic red snapper, and after viewing the photo, marine biologists confirmed it had a condition known as leucism.
Leucism is a condition in which there is partial loss of pigmentation in an animal, resulting in white, pale, or patchy coloration of the scales, but not the eyes. It’s occasionally spelled leukism. Unlike albinism, it is caused by a reduction in multiple types of pigment, not just melanin. Leucism is a general term for the phenotype from defects in pigment cells from the neural crest to skin, hair, or feathers during development. This results in either the entire surface (if all pigment cells fail to develop) or patches of body surface (if only some parts are defective) having a lack of cells capable of making pigment. Since all pigment cell-types are different from each other, leucism can cause the reduction in all types of pigment. This is different from albinism, which leucism is often mistaken for. Albinism results in the reduction of melanin production only, though the melanocyte (or melanophore) is still present. In species that have other pigment cell-types, albinos are not entirely white but instead display a pale yellow color. Basically, leucism is caused when certain pigments don’t get produced, so the animal is either all white (leucism) or has white patches (piebaldism). Onto you, Marine Learning!