Black – Melanism

Research sheets

Melanism is a mutation that removes all pigment for red and yellow pigment, making the black pigment more intense and thus creating an all back animal. Although, white patterns may remain. In Zebra’s a melanistic animal has inreased amounts of black, but isn’t all black. The stripes are still visible, as well as the white legs. Only the back, sides, tail and head have an increased black color. In African Pygmy Hedgehogs, it is pretty much the same. The mask, nose, ears, eyes, quills and skin on the back are affected by the melanism mutation, but the belly, legs, white on the head and tail remain white. An ‘Algerian’ hedgehog might have belly mottling, dark legs, badger stripes and cheeck patches, which will also be affected by the melanism mutation making them black.

Melanism is an incomplete dominant mutation.  Meaning it inherits just like an autosomal recessive gene, but it is visible when carried. To be an actual Black hedgehog, the animal must have two alleles of the mutation. But when it only has one allele, the hedgehog will have a Dark grey color, but darker and with a grey hue instead of a brown hue.

  • Black, before fading.

Black hedgehogs have black ears, eyes, nose, mask and quills. The only thing that’s not fully black is the skin on their shoulders, which is a really dark anthracite color, nearly black. Also, however hedgehogs do lose fur on their mask when they get older, a true Black does not fade in color. This also counts for carriers of the mutation and all colors that constist of this mutation.


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