Definition of melanism in English:


Pronunciation /ˈmeləˌnizəm/ /ˈmɛləˌnɪzəm/


  • Unusual darkening of body tissues caused by excessive production of melanin, especially as a form of color variation in animals.

    • ‘Adaptations to short, cool summers include activity at low temperatures, selection of warm habitats and microhabitats, melanism and hairiness coupled with basking behaviour, and prolonged or abbreviated life cycles.’
    • ‘However, melanism and amelanism are known to occur in many species of natricine snakes.’
    • ‘That pattern of morphological convergence includes larger bills, reduced rust coloration in plumage, and increased melanism or dark coloration.’
    • ‘Albinism does occur in some populations, but there are no published records of melanism (black fur) in lions.’
    • ‘The work of Burtt and colleagues provides a nice complement to recent work on the genetic basis of melanism in birds.’



/ˈmeləˌnizəm/ /ˈmɛləˌnɪzəm/