White Alligator


Alligator mississippiensis

Available as a print in 5x7 and 8x10 sizes

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Matting color

t-shirt-- get it at the webstore

This is a design for my T-shirt company.  The animal is, in part, based on Mardi, the white alligator who lives at the Palm Beach Zoo, where I often volunteer.   Although white alligators appear to be albino, they actually have a genetic condition called leucism.  To understand the difference, you have to know that animals have several different types of pigments in their skin.  Xanthophores are yellow pigments, erythrophores are red and orange, and the familiar melanophores produce black and brown (blues are usually generated by light-refracting cellular structures called schemochromes).    Albinism means that only the pigment melanin (produced by melanophores) is missing, while in leucism, all skin pigments are missing or substantially reduced.  This is why leucistic animals like the white alligators are pure white, whereas albino organisms are often tinted yellow or pink. 




White Alligator ©2010 John Meszaros.  All Rights Reserved