Rare, speckled dolphin spotted off the coast of California

Patches the dolphin is adorable, unique and beyond rare.

The speckled sea creature was spotted off the coast of Southern California this week while swimming with about 40 other dolphins near Dana Point.

According to the Orange County Register, no one has seen patches since 2006 -- the year he was discovered by naturalist Mark Tyson.

Patches and his pack of offshore bottlenose dolphins swam northeast after being spotted by Robin Lowe, an American Cetacean Society naturalist.

"I was over the moon with excitement," Lowe told The Orange County Register. "As the naturalist on board, I was able to explain how rare it is to see Patches."

According to Lowe, the famous dolphin has Leucism -- a reduction in melanin that causes a partial loss of pigmentation. That's why his skin is white, pale and patchy.

Read Full Story