Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Abcdefghijkl…L is for leucism

Leucistic Grackle

What the heck is leucism?  Leucism is the term used for identifying defects in pigmentation in the skin, hair, or feathers.  It is not to be confused with albinism.  Albinos typically have red eyes while leucistic animals have normal eyes.

If you’ve ever spied an animal that appears normal in all respects, but has white patches where white shouldn’t be and you just can’t seem to identify it, well, you have seen a leucistic animal. 

While it is an exciting thing to see a leucistic bird, one must realize that he will probably face dangers that other birds will not.  The fact that he has lost his natural protective camouflage makes him vulnerable to predators. 

In all my years of feeding and watching birds I have only seen two leucistic ones.  On one occasion I was lucky to have a camera available to take photos. 

In my natural ABC book L is for leucism

Thursday, June 6, 2013

ABCDEFGHIJ…K is for koi

Last October, my husband and I visited the Capistrano mission in California, the grounds had beautiful lily ponds with lots of Koi.

Koi…hmmm so I pondered, what is Koi, that orangey looking fish swimming around that pond, lake—or my local Chinese restaurant?  Is it just a giant gold fish?

Actually the word koi comes from the Japanese word for carp. And koi are simply common domesticated carp. Originally bred in Asia for their color and hardiness, Koi are often found in decorative ponds. Well, you may think, they look just like giant goldfish, but are they just big goldfish?  

Goldfish and Koi are related, but different. When koi are small, they may be hard to tell apart from goldfish and they can even interbreed, but just like the horse and donkey, which produce a sterile offspring (mule) so it goes that any offspring of carp and goldfish are also sterile.  So there you have it…related but not the same.

If you would like more information about koi colors, meanings, etc., the following website is a great source. 

So we are getting close to the letter L, hmmm what could L be for...stay tuned.  

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