Abundistic and leucistic zebra

Photo of an abundistic zebra foal taken in the Matira Bush Camp, Maasai Mara, Kenya. Credit: RS Photography

Isn’t this little foal cute? It is an abundistic (aka pseudo-melanism) zebra. In animal species that normally have black markings on a paler background color, excessively abundant markings (abundism) which merge or overlap produce an effect called pseudo-melanism. The background color may still be discerned between the markings, but to the casual observer, or from a distance, the animal appears to be black or melanistic.

© Michael Fitt

You can also get zebra with tan stripes, tan muzzles and dark eyes. They are called white zebra and are  leucistic, like white tigers. If an animal looks albino but has partial pigmentation, it may be leucistic. Leucism is a genetic condition in which there is partial loss of pigmentation in an animal resulting in white, pale, or patchy coloration.


Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

One thought

  1. Is it right to describe a dark coloured (polka dot, or minimal stripe) zebra as abundistic?
    Given that a zebra is a dark coloured horse with white stripes the feature on it is the stripes.
    For it to have hyper abundant markings it would need to be black markings on a white horse, rather than the opposite.
    Surely this is just a lack of depigmentation.. and thus actual melanism?
    (I know this is an old post, sorry)

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