Melanism is the color of an animal when its skin contains an excess of color pigment compared to the general population. Melanistic individuals are usually much darker, and may be even completely black. Melanism may result from the over-expression or duplication of genes that are responsible for producing color pigment. A common protein that serves as a color pigment is melatonin. Definition link: melanism
black background with brownish-black markings. The melanistic gene is a recessive one and must be present in both parents for it to show up in a litter. They often display faint rosettes and markings, similar to those of a black panther.
derived from melanin, a dark coloured skin and hair pigment. In cats, melanism results in the fur of the animal being very dark or black in colour. In many cases the usual markings of the animal can be faintly seen through the dark fur, especially at certain angles in bright sunlight. Melanistic cats are commonly born into mixed litters along with normally coloured siblings.