noun[mass noun] chiefly Zoology
Darkening of body tissues caused by excessive production of melanin, especially as a form of colour 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.
- Example sentences
- There may still be very good mechanistic reasons why melanic plumage color reveals individual quality in European barn swallows, but they should have nothing to do with carotenoid signaling.
- We suggest that, in addition to its other functions, an important selective advantage of melanic plumage is its resistance to degradation by bacteria that are part of every bird's environment.
- The majority of studies on melanin ornaments cited in Table 1 measured only the size of discrete patches of melanic feathers.
For editors and proofreaders
Line breaks: mel¦an|ism
Definition of melanism in:
What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?
Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.