Share

These Oddly Colored Animals Will Make You Do a Double-Take

By Allie Goolrick
Published: January 21, 2014

There are some things that are just a given in nature: The sky is blue, grass is green, polar bears are white. So if you saw a purple polar bear or say, a pink dolphin, you would probably have to look again.

But the colorful creatures in the photos above haven’t been cleverly altered in Photoshop.

(MORE: Photos of Kid Animal Whisperers WIll Melt Your Heart)

Some of the more mind-boggling color twists in the bunch were the result of one-time phenomena. Take Pelusa the polar bear, whose fur turned electric purple by a medication used to treat a skin condition.

Other animals that made our list are examples of color changes that are more organic in nature. Ghostly white creatures are often a product of albinism, a recessive gene that causes an absence of pigment in the skin, hair and eyes. Melanism, which is the opposite of albinism, causes animals to be darker-hued than other members of the same species.

One of the most interesting reasons for color variations in animals is polymorphism, a genetic variation that causes there to be two or more forms or types of creatures within the same species.  If you’ve ever seen a black ladybug with red spots, you’re witnessing a color morph that may be related to varied weather from place to place and other environmental factors. Another reason that color morphs develop is so that species spread across different regions can adapt to better blend in to their individual environments.

No matter what the cause, these familiar animals in not-so-familiar colors are stunning proof of the ways that nature always seems to find a way to surprise us.

MORE: Animals That Change Color

Featured Blogs

Rare Hurricane Pounds Cape Verde Islands

By Dr. Jeff Masters
August 31, 2015

For the first time since 1892, a full-fledged hurricane is pounding the Cape Verde islands, as Hurricane Fred heads northwest at 12 mph through the islands in the far eastern North Atlantic. The eye of Fred passed just southwest of Boa Vista Island near 8 am EDT Monday. The torrential rains of 4 - 6" predicted from Fred, with isolated totals of up to 10”, are likely to cause unprecedented flood damage on the islands.

Crazy Summer in Hawaii: Record Rainfall, Record Heat, and Snow!

By Christopher C. Burt
August 26, 2015

Although much media attention weather-wise (at least recently) for Hawaii has been about tropical storms (Kilo’s possible impact on the Hawaiian Isles and more in the pipeline) an even more interesting story has been the exceptional rainfall that has drenched the islands in recent days and the on-going record hot summer. Despite a record warm July, accumulating snow managed to dust the summit of Mauna Kea on the Big Island. Here are some details about the above events.

Not a tropical cyclone?

By Stu Ostro
August 15, 2015

PWS Service Interruption Update

By Shaun Tanner
June 16, 2015

The development team here at Weather Underground has been hard at work producing a new homepage! Please take a look at the sneak peek and tell us what you think!

2013-14 - An Interesting Winter From A to Z

By Tom Niziol
May 15, 2014

It was a very interesting winter across a good part of the nation from the Rockies through the Plains to the Northeast. Let's break down the most significant winter storms on a month by month basis.

What the 5th IPCC Assessment Doesn't Include

By Angela Fritz
September 27, 2013

Melting permafrost has the potential to release an additional 1.5 trillion tons of carbon into the atmosphere, and could increase our global average temperature by 1.5°F in addition to our day-to-day human emissions. However, this effect is not included in the IPCC report issued Friday morning, which means the estimates of how Earth's climate will change are likely on the conservative side.