First record of albinism for Dipsas neuwiedii (Serpentes: Dipsadidae) in northeastern Brazil

Ana Cecília Pires de Azevedo Lopes, Marco Antonio de Freitas, Epitácio Correia de Farias Júnior, Omar Entiauspe-Neto


An inadequate release of melanocyte pigments leads to a genetic disorder termed albinism (Alberts et al. 2004). According to Griffiths et al. (1998), albinism is caused by homozygous recessive alleles, leading to impaired melanin production, a pigment responsible for the black and brown coloration in animals. Albinism can be classified as ocular (where only the eyes are unpigmented), partial (where the organism can produce melanin in most of its body, with some exceptions), or oculocutaneous (where the whole body is affected). Usually, individuals presenting true (or total) albinism present an unpigmented integument, rose coloured skin and red eyes (Sazima and Pombal, 1986; Hoshing et al., 2013). According to Perez-Carpinell et al. (1992), a large proportion of these albinos present photophobia, pendular nystagmus, astigmatism, myopia, and poor visual acuity. This anomaly has been recorded in fish, reptiles, birds and mammals (Uieda, 2000).Albino individuals are more conspicuous, and therefore, more evident to predators (Rodrigues et al. 1999). Albino probability of success in nature is higher in cryptic or nocturnal species, or those presenting effective defense mechanisms (Sazima and Pombal, 1986; Sazima and Di- Bernardo, 1991). Albino reptiles are usually characterized by absence of skin pigmentation, red eyes and rosy tongue and occasionally, partial or total absence of dorsal and dorsolateral patterns (Sazima and Di-Bernardo, 1991; Di Toro, 2007; Krecsák, 2008). Some albinism cases have been recorded in the Dipsadidae snake family, (e.g. Sazima and Di-Bernardo, 1991; Freitas, 2003; Silva et al. 2010; Entiauspe-Neto et al. 2015).

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