Tag Archives: mutant

Mutant milkweeds

Below are some photographs of strange growths on a patch of Asclepias syriaca I visited several weeks ago. From the few publications I’ve found, enations can be caused by viruses (Geminiviridae, Luteoviridae, etc.), and thus could be transmitted to nearby individuals via insect vectors or by the connected roots (milkweeds are clonal). Could be a genetic mutation, too, I suppose — could be spread by seed or via clonal growth. Anyone seen this before?

Colin Purrington Photography: Plants &emdash; Developmental aberrations on milkweed leaves

Colin Purrington Photography: Plants &emdash; Developmental aberrations on milkweed leaves

Colin Purrington Photography: Plants &emdash; Developmental aberrations on milkweed leaves

Photographed at Hildacy Farm Preserve in Media, PA.

Masked robin

Mutant robin (Turdus migratorius) with mask of white plumage. I suspect the leucism  was congenital because the patches were located on several parts of the body (injury and parasites can sometimes cause regrowth to be white).  Regardless of cause, it’s a good look. Spotted on the campus of Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania.

Colin Purrington Photography: Birds &emdash; Leucistic American robin
Robins seem to be famous for leucism (Gross 1965), as a Google image search will confirm.  If you’d like to see some even stranger birds, check out this page from Cornell University.