Perhaps, everyone of you is aware about the uniqueness of an albino animal. Were you aware about the animals who had the opposite condition of it? Well, They’re the melanistic animals. These are the animals who appear to be rather dark coloured or blackish instead of the normal colour. Don’t be amazed if I say that they’re real.
Albinism in animals is a rare genetic mutation which results in a loss of pigmentation in their skin. For example fur in the animals with albinism are white and they don’t have the natural colour of fur with them.
Melanism too occurs in a very similar way. The reason for Melanism is also another type of a genetic mutation. This mutation of several genes has caused more dark pigmentation and this is the reason for the animal to become black. Although there are a lot of animals of this kind, they are very rarely identified as this isn’t a condition which is seen usually. Have you seen panthers? Of course they’re melanistic jaguars with a genetic mutation.
There’s another type of a pigmentation which can cause the dark colour of an animal and that’s known as abundism or pseudo-melanism. In such situations, the spots or the stripes of animals such as zebras and jaguars seem to be larger than the others’. As a result of this, they get quite dark but not black.
Both abundism and pseudo-melanism can be transmitted from one generation to the next. Perhaps it can be a part of evolution too. Black panthers have been benefited to catch their prey easily at night due to this genetic mutation.
Some other types of Pigmentation
There are several pigmentation variations other than Melanism and Albinism. They are,
- Xanthism: These animals have extra yellow pigment together with a lack of other pigments.
- Erythrism: extra orange and red pigment.
- Axanthism: This can be seen in some frogs and this is the reason for some of them to appear in bright blue instead of green. This is a result of lack of yellow pigments.
However, these significant changes made on wild animals remind us how amazing nature can be. Consider yourself fortunate if you’ve spotted such a melanistic wild animal in your lifetime.