Monday, June 20, 2016

June 20. Day 172. Shell shocked

Given that curiousity killed the cat, it is just as well I'm a dog person. When something takes my attention or puzzles me I find it hard to let it go. Today's question involves a turtle I have named Marilyn, on account of the fact that it she a blonde (bomb)shell. I spied Marilyn on Saturday and it started me thinking. Albino turtle: what are the chances?  UQ sustainability had no record of albino turtles in the lakes and nor did UQNews (although they were the ones who made me realise a nickname was essential in this day and age. Think Migaloo the albino whale). Now a "normal" person may have left it there. Yeah, perhaps it was marking avoidance´but for whatever reason I wasn't leaving it there. Time for an email to the Queensland Museum. There I learned that Marilyn was probably leucistic not albino which means she has a partial loss of pigmentation. It's in the eyes, apparently. The pigment cells in the eyes are not affected by the condition. My expert says colour mutation genes are probably not uncommon in populations but are most likely recessive. And here'e the kicker: "there is often strong selective pressure against the survival of individuals that express these genes in a visible form. For example, a predator will often selectively target the unusual individual from the rest of the flock etc". It appears it is not only humans that target those who are different. The email went on to say that a turtle with colouring like Marilyn's "probably experience more attention from sight predators such as herons and are unlikely to survive to adulthood, yours is a lucky one!" So there you have it. With all that information I went back looking for Marilyn but I couldn't see her. There were, however, plenty of other turtles sticking their necks out
Today's steps 15 032

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