me·​la·​no·​phore | \mə-ˈla-nə-ˌfȯr, ˈme-lə-nə-\

Definition of melanophore 

: a melanin-containing cell especially of fishes, amphibians, and reptiles

Examples of melanophore in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

This organ contains color-changing cells such as melanophores, which either expand or contract according to the background the fish is trying to match, Burgess says. National Geographic, "Flounders’ Eyes Face Skyward. How Do They See the Ocean Floor?," 13 Aug. 2016 In this period, glass eels lack color-producing cells such as chromatophores and melanophores, says George Burgess, an ichthyologist at the Florida Museum of Natural History. Liz Langley, National Geographic, "5 Animals That You Can See Right Through," 25 Mar. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'melanophore.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of melanophore

1903, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about melanophore

Share melanophore

Statistics for melanophore

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for melanophore

The first known use of melanophore was in 1903

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for melanophore


me·​la·​no·​phore | \mə-ˈlan-ə-ˌfō(ə)r, ˈmel-ə-nə-, -ˌfȯ(ə)r\

Medical Definition of melanophore 

: a chromatophore especially of fishes, amphibians, and reptiles that contains melanin : a black or brown pigment cell

Other Words from melanophore

melanophoric \ -​ˌlan-​ə-​ˈfōr-​ik, -​ˈfȯr-​ \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on melanophore Encyclopedia article about melanophore

Comments on melanophore

What made you want to look up melanophore? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!