In 2015, whale watchers off the coast of California’s Monterey Bay caught a glimpse of an albino baby Risso dolphin. Now, the all-white flipper has made another appearance and damn is it cute. They grow up so fast!
Albinism in animals is incredibly rare since it’s a recessive trait. The condition—which describes a lack of melanin production—is passed down genetically from parents to their offspring. The absence of melanin, which gives our skin, hair, and eyes their color, makes albino animals white with pink eyes.
In photos from this year, the albino dolphin looks a bit more yellow than it did two years ago. According to Kate Cummings of the Blue Ocean Whale Watch, this is because of algae called diatoms.
“The dorsal fin 2015/2017 comparison photo shows the mother’s dorsal fin from 2015 and 2017 which helped us confirm it was the same dolphin we’d spotted in Monterey Bay in both 2015 and 2017,” she told Gizmodo. “ I believe this is the only known albino Risso’s dolphin in the eastern Pacific, and there are around 13,000-16,000 Risso’s in the California, Oregon and Washington stock.”
Here’s to you, little dolphin. Long may you swim.