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My 50th - Etosha's Black Zebra

My 50th - Etosha's Black Zebra
Photo Information
Copyright: Carl Landsberg (Jakkals) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 187 W: 3 N: 587] (2813)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2011-08-26
Categories: Mammals
Camera: Canon 40D, Canon EF 300 f/4L IS USM, Tiffen 77HTDUC Filter
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/800 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): RARE or SIGNIFICANT contributions to TN 3, Nature's Oddities [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2012-01-22 10:25
Viewed: 12439
Points: 66
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
After our August/September 2011 holiday in the Etosha National Park I decided to hold on to this photo for my 50th posting. Unfortunately it is not a first on TN as an image of a Black Zebra was posted on 2006/04/15 by Francesco De Florio. I also noticed that Loot Eksteen placed that photo on a website called "RARE or SIGNIFICANT contributions to TN 3 [view contributor(s)]". So I would like to share my image with you Loot. Hope you enjoy it.

While searching the web for Black Zebras I came upon a very interesting article by a German tourist, Peter Spätling.
Enjoy and comments are welcome.

Pseudo-melanistic Plains Zebra
Etosha’s Black Zebra
During the last few years plains zebra easy noticeable by their black skin and very few stripes were noticed on various occasions in the Etosha Nasional Park.

German tourist Peter Spätling – a geography teacher and amateur photographer – noticed such a zebra in 2004.

After a few visits to the park in the years following he identified ten mainly black zebras and in early September he visited the Etosha Safari Lodge of the Gondwana Collection and told the tour guides there about his observations.

In a newsletter of the Gondwana Collection it is said that Spätling had asked game wardens in Etosha about the black zebras. They suggested that dark zebras had a shorter lifespan because it was easier for predators to spot them and therefore they were targeted more often.

“Spätling followed up on the game wardens’ suggestion. It helps that every zebra has its very own pattern of stripes, which makes it relatively easy to recognize. More than half of the black zebra identified by Spätling were spotted several times in Etosha National Park between 2005 and 2010. Spätling concluded that their life expectancy is no different from that of ordinary striped zebra. He did not observe any odd behaviour either. In his opinion they were fully integrated into the herd’s social structure.”

The newsletter states that so far there is no unequivocal scientific explanation for the mutation of individual zebra. It is possible, however, that the cells responsible for the black colouring are defect and produce too much black pigment called Pseudo-melanistic or Abundism.

“In his report ‘Black Zebra in Etosha’ Spätling emphasizes that his observations are those of a Namibia traveller who spends a few days only in Etosha every year. He hopes that his report will trigger scientific research,” reads the newsletter.
Spätling’s report also mentions that apart from mainly black zebra there is another small herd of plains zebra with largely lightly coloured skin, reminiscent of the quagga, a subspecies of the plains zebra which had been hunted to extinction by the late 19th century.

The Quagga Project in South Africa attempts to bring back this zebra and reintroduce it to its former habitats.

Pseudo-melanistic Plains Zebra
Two colour variations at the extreme ends of the scale are melanism and albinism. There are essentially a measure of the amount of melanin (pigment) in the skin. Melanistic forms of animals commonly have an excessive amount of melanin which results in completely black forms (as is often seen in black panthers) while albinos have a lack of melanin giving the animals a white appearance.

So what then is the case with this zebra? Well there is another condition referred to as pseudo-melanism or Abundism. This form of darker pigmentation is commonly seen in patterned coats where the number or size of darkly pigmented areas increases. So although there is an increase in the amount of dark pigment the white stripes are still visible.

Argus, vanda, PaulLees, jusninasirun, nasokoun, marius-secan, maaciejka, Miss_Piggy, loot, pegos, bungbing, pirate, CeltickRanger, Mamagolo2, uleko, anel has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To Miss_Piggy: Etosha's Black ZebraJakkals 1 02-09 10:23
To loot: Appreciation - Black ZebraJakkals 2 01-24 13:05
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2012-01-22 11:35]

50 is a good milestone Carl!
I hope you continue to show us many more of your high standard images like this one of the melanistic Zebra!
Taken from a fine POV with excelent lighting and natural colours with the sharpness and composition adding to the quality of the image.
Thanks and have a good week,

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2012-01-22 11:38]

Hello Carl,
Congratulations on your 50th posting. And a special one. Never seen a Black Zebra. Excellent sharpness, beautiful natural colours and a good DOF.
Hope to see a lot more from you.

to be honest I never new about the existence of the Black Zebras, Carl and this memorable milestone of yours will take a special place into Treknature's library! Congratulations and well done!
George Veltchev

  • Great 
  • vanda Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 338 W: 25 N: 754] (3673)
  • [2012-01-22 11:49]

Hi Carl!
Very, very interesting. Black Zebra is new for me :) I had never seen it before. Thanks.
Your picture is very good, with very good sharpness and nice light. Good note.
Congratulations, also on your 50th post.
Ciao! Vanda

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2012-01-22 12:09]

Hello Carl.
Congratulations, also on your 50th post.
WOW what a wonderful animal and what a superb shot.Charming Zebra with beautiful natural colours.Best regards Siggi

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2012-01-22 13:04]

Hi Carl,nothing better to celebrate your 500th post.A very interesting and rare zebra and a magnificent capture,perfect position and light for the best details,i like it!Have a nice week and thanks,Luciano

amazing zebra, TFS Ori

  • Great 
  • ana974 Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 477 W: 48 N: 968] (4857)
  • [2012-01-22 14:05]

Wow dear Carl! Your zebra lost some of its stripes!!! kkkkkkkkkkkkk Nice contribution! I didn´t know nothing about black zebras, now I KNOW and thanks to you Carl!!! Many congrats for your 50th uploads! It is really wonderful have such good member like you in TN.
Have a nice week!

Hi Carl, Well the first thing that comes to mind here is that they should have let the paint dry before releasing him eheheh, most unusual and very interesting phenomenon!, congratulations on your 50th post Carl and keep them coming,
Best Regards,


Hello Carl,
Congratulations on your 50th with this beautiful zebra in natural setting. Lovely shallow focus and natural tone.
Kind regards,

Congratulations Carl, a very good photo performance in this very interesting subject...:keep photographing!"

Ciao Carl, congratulations for your splendid 500 post on TN and thanks for all your beautiful photo, great capture of lovely couple in nice action, excellent clarity and wonderful natural colors, very well done my friend, ciao Silvio

  • Great 
  • tcr Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 158 W: 8 N: 538] (3384)
  • [2012-01-23 4:26]

This one is newness to me too.
Very well done light management.
Sharp and well composed image.

Interesting subject and great photo Carl! Very good composition, wonderful colours and impressive sharpness.

  • Great 
  • nagraj Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1618 W: 106 N: 3208] (15166)
  • [2012-01-23 4:57]

Very interesting image of this unique black zebra, well captured. tfs.

hello Carl Very good picture for the 50th
with great details of the strange colour
thanks greeting lou

Hello Carl,
Excellent capture of a wonderful animal. Great clarity, details and and natural colors.
It is a interesting image with this black zebra. I have never seen before....
The exposure is perfect.
Thanks for sharing!

Hi Carl,
congratulations for your 50th photo. Amazing colours. Very good sharpness and details.
Have a nice week,

Hallo Carl
My kritiek is in Afrikaans sodat ek myself beter kan uitdruk. Ek is jammer dat ek nou eers daarby uitkom om kritiek te lewer op hierdie besonderse foto. Ek het geruime tyd gesukkel met die webbladsy. Baie dankie dat jy hierdie foto aan Loot opgedra. Glo my hy sal dit net so baie geniet soos ek. Eerstens baie geluk met jou 50ste foto wat jy met ons deel, daar is so min van ons Afrikaans sprekende lede en is dit dus lekker om te weet nog iemand wat my taal praat is ook lid van hierdie klub. Dan moet ek nou regtig vir jou sê dat dit die 1ste keer is wat ek hierdie dier sien en ek moet bieg ek het nie eers geweet van sy bestaan nie. Praat van oogklappe deur die lewe gaan hê? Dit is nou regtig 'n baie interresante spesie. Dit lyk kompleet of die wit verf opgeraak het toe daar eers begin verf is. Ha-ha sommer'n grappie, maar dit fasineer my geweldig. Ek kan in alle eerlikheid ook sê dat vir my persoonlik is dit nie een van die mooiste diere wat daar is nie, maar uniek, baie beslis. Baie dankie vir hierdie deeltjie uit die natuur wat jy met ons gedeel het. Het dit baie geniet.
Vriendelike groete

  • Great 
  • loot Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5524 W: 722 N: 4163] (11276)
  • [2012-01-23 17:01]
  • [+]

Wow, this guy played with the ink pot and had a serious slip.

Hi Carl

A warm congratulation on your 50th posting. Over the past 7 months or so you've treated
us with some wonderful postings as seen through your lens. You have made great strides
in quality and technique both in your photography and in your post processing. Keep up the
good work and best of luck for the next milestone.

As you mentioned, this is only the 2nd 'black Zebra' we see on the site, but in truth and reality
this one is a much better quality shot than the previous one. So, without the slightest hesitation,
it is also going straight to my theme for "RARE or SIGNIFICANT contributions to TN".
This is a very extraordinary and unusual genetic anomaly (as is also highlighted in your notes)
and throughout all the years that I've been visiting numerous parks and reserves in South Africa
I have never come across this phenomenon. In fact, I've never even observed any mention of it
in any text books either.

You did some good research on the topic and provided a worthy note to accompany this rare
sighting. It is exactly what this site is all about – "To learn about the natural world through
photography" and as a secondary spin-off "To learn about photography through nature".

Well done and TFS.
Take care and have a great week.

  • Great 
  • pegos Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 222 W: 0 N: 356] (1982)
  • [2012-01-24 6:28]

Hello Carl,
congratulations on your 50th posting!
This is a splendid image of this rare "black zebra" with great sharpness and POV; beautiful ambientation and perfect light; a beauty!!
Thanks for sharing

Hello Carl,
Congratulations on your 50th posting! It is an unusual capture with a very interesting note. The details, sharpness, colours and POV are perfect. Well done!

Hello Carl,
Congratulations on your 50th posting on TN!
A very interesting Zebra you have captured, very good lighting, well exposure and excellent sharpness details,
Thanks for sharing and have a nice evening,
Best Regards,

  • Great 
  • pirate Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 799 W: 152 N: 1186] (7474)
  • [2012-01-24 14:34]

Not only a great natural document but a great picture too

Hello Carl

Congratulations for your 50th photo on TN,
excellent close-up shot of the Etosha's Black Zebras,
fine POV, excellent contrast, excellent focus
sharpness and details, TFS


Hi Boet,
Now this is truly not only a stunning sighting but an absolutely stunning image. You have out done yourself and sometimes I think back to the first time we discussed your photo's and you said it was not good enough to post on TN and then I just smile!! Your postings have just been a pleasure to view and I've often thought if we still stayed in the same town, what we would experience together. Congratulations on your 50th posting and I hope to see many more of your stunning photos. Interesting notes on this truly amazing phenomenon of nature. Excellent!!!

Ciao Carl. What interestig capture for your 50th! Impressive ligh and intrigant wild environment.. Excellent details.


Interesante y curiosa fotografía de esa Cegra tan raramente pigmentada.
Un abtazo y felicidades por tu tomanº50:
Josep Ignasi.

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2012-01-30 4:46]

Hello Carl,
It's always interesting to spot a new species on TN and you did well finding this ione. It is not as beautiful as the 'common' Zebras but you show good details in beautiful light and against a natural background.
TFS and best regards, Ulla

  • Great 
  • Jamesp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
  • [2012-01-30 5:14]

Hi Carl

I have been away from the site for a long while, so I read your bio with interest. I sort of disagree - after a while, looking at so many different photos posted on here, I found the way I approached subjects altered without me realising - it just rubs off! :)

A very good shot of a very difficult subject - getting the exposure right on the white and black areas AND keeping detail is a tall order, but you managed it very well.

Best wishes


I am always interested to see your nature photos. this black Zebra is marvelous, as a dedicated nature photographer you pointed it and taken photographs accurately.

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2012-02-02 6:22]

Hello Carl,
Most interetsing posting of the Black zebra of which I never had heard before. You have taken an excellent picture showing so well this special dark coloration which makes the animal more visible in its surrounding. Interesting note too for which I thank a lot too.
Kind regards

Dear Carl
I am so glad you reminded me of the Black Zebra! It is an ideal example for my theme "nature's oddities"! Thanks for sharing.
The notes are extremely interesting, thanks for compiling them .

Have you seen black Springboks? I have somewhere photos, but the animals were very far away...
These are not considered as wild.

Take care
Warm Regards

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