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  • Washington Outdoor News

    Some wildlife is more colorful than others
    Location: Washington

    University of Washington landscape architecture student Becky Chaney took the above photo of a black-tailed deer in her front yard in Carnation and sent a copy with the following note to WDFW wildlife biologist Russell Link:

    I thought you might be interested in this photo I took of a young deer that we see in our neighborhood. Its coloring is quite unusual and we are assuming that it is some type of genetic mutation. The deer has been sighted just outside of Tolt McDonald Park (King County) for about a year and a half. The first time I saw it, it was tottering after its mother."

    It is a type of genetic mutation or defect in pigment cell differentiation, Russell says, that results in a ępiebald,ę or animal with spotted coloration.

    People often mistake these for albinos, he said, but that's a complete lack of pigmentation.

    Piebalds occur from leucism, a mutation of genes characterized by reduced or incomplete pigmentation. Unlike albinism, leucism causes a reduction in all types of skin pigment, not just melanin or dark pigments. Albinos also lack eye coloration while most leucistic animals have normally-colored eyes.

    Piebald horses are commonly known as pintos or by breed, paints. Cows, dogs, cats, birds, snakes and many other animals can have piebald coloration.

    While this colorful trait is bred for in some domestic animals,ę Russell said, piebalds in the wild are relatively rare because they can be easier marks for predators and the gene

    News Source: Washington DFW - Oct. 15, 2007

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