Rare White Penguin Spotted At Scientific Base In Antarctica

Not all penguins wear tuxes. A rare white penguin has been spotted at a scientific base in Antarctica, where it was standing out like a sore thumb among its black-and-white brethren. The bird, which belongs to the Gentoo species, was discovered by researchers at the Gonz├ílez Videla Antarctic base on Jan. 4. The species typically have reddish-orange bills and black heads with white patches around their eyes, the result of a genetic mutation known as leucism. Unlike albinism, which affects all melanin production, leucism doesn’t impact pigment cells in the eyes. The condition isn’t harmful, but it can still prove dangerous for the penguin. Being an animal that has a mostly white body can make it easier for a predator to hunt it. Gentoo penguins are the third-largest living penguin species, with adults ranging in size from about 11 to 17½ pounds, while emperor penguins can reach nearly 4 feet tall and weigh more than 88 pounds.