melanistic deer

Submitted by DW on 12/10/99. ( )

Anyone ever gotten one in to do? Am curious, as i know there are alot of piebalds and albinos around out there. Also how rare is it for a deer to have a nearly solid black stripe down its neck and onto its shoulders? And does this mean that this deer carried the genetics possible to concieve a full melanistic deer? Also what in heck do piebald fawns look like and what do piebalds look like in the summer coat? These may sound like stupid questions, but i'm really curious about this stuff!

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I know one answer...

This response submitted by Pacemakr on 12/10/99. ( )

Melanin in deer that cause them to be black is rare. White is the dominant color in deer. If a black deer bred with an albino, the offspring would probably be white.

Melanistic Animals

This response submitted by George Roof on 12/10/99. ( )

I've mounted several whitetails with melanistic traits, but none were solid black. Most had solid black stipes down the back side of the neck and I have one in the shop now with a solid black muzzle that goes up and flares out to form the eyebrows and forehead.

The only animals I've ever done solid black were fox squirrels and gray squirrels (I'm told they aren't considered melansitic) and a cottontail rabbit. The rabbit looked sable black until you got very close. The tips of the hair were standard cottontail and the white areas were pure white.

Recessive Genes

This response submitted by George Roof on 12/10/99. ( )

Just for the record, melanism is caused by a recessive gene and it occurs at about the same or greater frequency of albinism. Melanistic animals are harder to see and find than pure white ones. Deer with recessive genes can interbreed with normal deer and the gene may or MAY NOT appear for an extended cycle. Melanistic deer bred to albino deer would most likely have normal colored deer fawns. Piebald deer are also recessive, but aside from the color differences, physical problems seem to be inherent (Roman nose, knee joints that oppose, and long hair). They should be culled from a herd since these genes are passed along during breeding and subsequently cause recurrence of the same physical problems in the herd. Albino and melanistic deer cause no such problems with breeding.

If you don't have a copy of Leonard Lee Rue's DEER OF NORTH AMERICA, you and every individual interested in deer behavior should get one.

I'll tell you this much...

This response submitted by Bill on 12/11/99. ( )

Piebalds look like short haired piebalds in the summer, I have a LS velvet buck to do that color. The velvet has white and pink areas, too. I have a very dark yearling buck which I dont consider melanistic, yet he has a solid black dorsal stripe as well as an all black muzzle. I see many dark deer here in the wild, as well as piebalds. Oh, piebald fawns are normal colored where they are gonna be brown, and white where they will be white as adults. I have seen and mounted some very large and healthy piebalds, and also seen some of the throw backs that George has mentioned. I did take an albino 1 1/2 yr old 8 point this year, too. I think that all color variations can produce normal colored offspring as well as the othe variables. I know guys who breed piebalds to piebalds who come up with normal fawns. I would think the only sure thing is albino to albino, the recessive trait made dominant. I know a guy who does this, and I believe thats what he gets. Yes, I have pics to back up my statements, too! See yas later.

My Two Cents Worth

This response submitted by Lianne on 12/12/99. ( )

Genetics is a facinating subject and is not always "black and white". There are at least two genes that create the phenotype of a white deer. There is the true albino (pink eyes) and the white non-albino. To make things even more interesting there are "modifiers"; genes that change and/or dilute color as well. Because of modifiers,there is a range of melanism from a single black spot to dark all over. I have seen washed out "normal" brown with light hazel eyes. I have also seen an extreme dilution to a palomimo color with blue eyes.I have seen far more "white" deer than I have true albinos.

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