Melanistic Animals

The word melanism is derived from a Greek word meaning black pigment. Melanistic animals are those with an increased amount of melanin or dark pigment on their skins, feathers, hair, or other parts of their bodies, though the same type of animal is generally of other colors. It is a genetic anomaly that makes them appear black. But they are different from naturally black animals as all individuals of such species are black.

The black panther is not a separate species but a melanistic form of the leopard and jaguar. Similarly, the silver fox is a melanistic form of the gray fox. Below is a list of animals that have melanistic forms. Commonly, these all-black animals have better chances of survival as their color keeps them camouflaged from their predators and helps them forage at night. While melanism is pretty common in peppered moths, completely black deer, and roosters are rare.

Melanistic Animals

List of Melanistic Animals



  • Barn Owl
  • Flamingo
  • King Penguin
  • Parrot
  • Pheasant
  • Rooster
  • Ural Owl


  • Black Moor Goldfish
  • Manta Ray




  • Aesculapian Snake
  • Caiman
  • Coral Snake
  • Eastern Blue Tongue Lizard
  • European Adder
  • Gecko
  • Grass Snake
  • Rat Snake
  • Rattlesnake
  • Turtle

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