Archive for September 7th, 2018

September 7, 2018

Leucism

Moby-Dick

Leucism [loo-kizm] is a condition in which there is partial loss of pigmentation in an animal resulting in white, pale, or patchy coloration of the skin, hair, feathers, scales or cuticle, but not the eyes. Unlike albinism, it is caused by a reduction in multiple types of pigment, not just melanin.

More common than a complete absence of pigment cells is localized or incomplete hypopigmentation, resulting in irregular patches of white on an animal that otherwise has normal coloring and patterning. This partial leucism is known as a ‘pied’ or ‘piebald’ effect; and the ratio of white to normal-colored skin can vary considerably not only between generations, but between different offspring from the same parents, and even between members of the same litter. This is notable in horses, cows, cats, dogs, the urban crow, and the ball python but is also found in many other species.