Sydney: A group of scientists spotted a rare albino humpback whale, possibly the mythical, rarely-sighted whale `Migaloo`, off the coast of New Zealand, official sources said on Monday.
The mammal was spotted along with another black humpback whale on Sunday coinciding with the 12th annual survey of cetaceans in the Cook Strait, separating the North and South islands of New Zealand, said the country`s Department of Conservation.
The leader of the expedition, Nadine Bott, said the whale`s dorsal fin and the bumps on it helped in identifying it as Migaloo, which is Aboriginal for "white fella", Efe news agency reported.
This rare specimen was sighted for the first time off the Australian coast in 1991 and appears almost every year in those parts.
"This is so unique. I have never seen anything like this in New Zealand," said marine biologist Carlos Olavarria, who was also on the boat.
Researchers took samples of whale skin to compare the DNA with the already stored DNA of Migaloo.
"White humpbacks are extremely rare. Only four have been reported in the world," said Bott, adding Migaloo is the "most famous" among them all.
The albino cetacean could be the father of two albino offsprings that "have been making appearances along Australia`s eastern coast".
"One has been named MJ, short for Migaloo junior," said the scientist.