Nature is full of beauty, especially in its “imperfections”. Case in point? Color mutations in animals. Over time, evolution can transform an entire species, even creating new ones. Alternatively, a specific mutation can affect only a few individuals within a given animal population.
Several kinds of color mutations can affect the animal world, ranging from well-known albinism all the way to chimera. Some of these are much more common than others. But it seems that the rarer the mutation is, the more intrigued by it we become.
With a rarity of 1 in 2,000,000, it is always a great surprise when fishermen reel in a blue lobster. Such a shell hue is due to the over-production of a astaxanthin-wrapping proteins within the species. When the protein interacts with a naturally occurring red pigment molecule, it creates the blue tint known as crustacyanin.
Glass frogs are another example of a truly strange natural mutation. While some appear to be translucent, in truth the background pigment of most glass frogs is predominantly lime green. Some members of the Centrolenidae amphibian family actually have transparent undersides as well, making their major organs visible to the outside world.
Color Mutations: Albinism
One of the most known and widely seen mutations in nature is albinism. Present at birth, albinos are characterized by the lack of the pigment melanin, which typically gives color to the eyes, skin, and hair. Albinism can be found in all species and races; in animals it usually displays as yellow or pink skin, and pink eyes.