me·​la·​no·​phore | \ mə-ˈla-nə-ˌfȯr How to pronounce melanophore (audio) , ˈme-lə-nə- \
plural melanophores

Definition of melanophore

: a melanin-containing chromatophore cell especially of fishes, amphibians, and reptiles that is similar to a mammalian melanocyte Fishes rely on melanins. These compounds, ranging in color from brown to black, are produced in tiny granules called melanosomes; these granules move around within large branching cells called melanophores.— Joe Levine

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, 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, 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

History and Etymology for melanophore

borrowed from German Melanophor, from melano- melano- + -phor -phore

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The first known use of melanophore was in 1903

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Cite this Entry

“Melanophore.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Nov. 2021.

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More Definitions for melanophore


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

Medical Definition of melanophore

: a melanin-containing chromatophore especially of fishes, amphibians, and reptiles that is similar to a mammalian melanocyte

Other Words from melanophore

melanophoric \ -​ˌlan-​ə-​ˈfōr-​ik, -​ˈfȯr-​ How to pronounce melanophore (audio) \ adjective

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