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Which animal are very black?

Which animal are very black?

There are a number of animal species that are known for being predominantly or entirely black in color. The black coloration serves different purposes for different animals – it can help with camouflage and protection, regulate body temperature, or be used for signaling and communication. In this article, we will explore some of the most notably black animals across different taxa and understand the evolutionary advantages that the black coloration provides them.


Some of the most iconic black mammals include:

Black panther

The black panther is a melanistic color variant of any big cat species, most commonly leopards in Asia and Africa, and jaguars in the Americas. Their distinctive black coat is a result of a genetic mutation that causes a surplus production of melanin, making the fur much darker compared to regular leopards and jaguars. This coloration makes them well-suited for hunting, as they can easily blend into the dark environment and avoid detection by prey.

Black bear

The American black bear is a medium-sized bear native to North America. As the name suggests, they have thick black fur coats, though brown and white color variants also exist. The black fur helps black bears remain concealed when foraging at night or in dense forests. It also provides insulation in colder climates.


Many bat species tend to have black fur, such as the black flying fox and black myotis. The black coloration provides excellent camouflage when roosting in dark caves, hollows of trees, or under foliage during the daytime. It also helps them remain hidden from predators when foraging at night.


Some birds are also well-known for their black plumage:

Ravens and crows

These corvid species are entirely coal black, including their beaks, eyes, and feet. The black color serves an important signaling function, helping them recognize their own kind. It also provides camouflage when perched on branches or foraging on the ground. The black feathers are also resistant to bacterial degradation, helping keep the plumage clean.

Black swan

Unlike most swans which are white, the black swan has striking black plumage with white wing tips. The dark coloration likely arose as an adaption to iron-rich acidic waters in Australia where they are native. The black hue also helps conceal nests which are built on the ground near water.

Ravens and crows

These corvid species are entirely coal black, including their beaks, eyes, and feet. The black color serves an important signaling function, helping them recognize their own kind. It also provides camouflage when perched on branches or foraging on the ground. The black feathers are also resistant to bacterial degradation, helping keep the plumage clean.


Black mamba

This highly venomous snake, found in parts of sub-Saharan Africa, gets its name from the inky black interior of its mouth which it displays when threatened. The mamba’s jet-black skin blends in well with rocky crevices, tree branches, and holes where it resides.

Black racer snake

Widespread across North America, the black racer snake has smooth and shiny black dorsal scales. This aids camouflage in vegetation and soil, helping the snake hunt small prey while avoiding detection by predators. Melanism is common in colder northern parts of its range.

Black-headed python

Native to Australia and New Guinea, this nonvenomous python has black upperparts, transitioning to cream or yellow underparts. Juveniles may have banded patterns which fade to solid black with age. The dark pigmentation helps regulate body heat and provides camouflage.


Some predominantly black amphibians include:

Black rain frog

This petite frog species found in the western parts of South Africa is almost entirely black with some gray mottling. When threatened, it arches its back and inflates its body to appear larger. The black skin acts as camouflage in its rocky habitat.

Black salamander

The black salamander inhabits forest areas in the eastern United States. It has a sooty black and gray body with white or silver flecks and spots. This provides effective camouflage against moist leaves and soil in its woodland habitat.

Alpine newt

Also known as the black salamander, this widespread newt native to Europe has an all-black skin stage that aquatic adults acquire after the breeding season. The dark pigmentation provides camouflage in the water and also protects against ultraviolet radiation.


Blacktip reef shark

Found in shallow Indo-Pacific waters, this medium-sized requiem shark gets its name from the prominent black tips on its fins. The black coloration serves as an effective camouflage when hunting against dark near-shore reefs and rocks.

Regal tang

This vibrantly colored coral reef fish, found in the Indo-Pacific region, has a predominantly jet black body with distinctive yellow and white markings. The black color helps conceal it within the shadows of the reefs.


Also known as the Mexican walking fish, axolotls exhibit a range of color morphs including black. Those with dark pigmentation tend to thrive better as the black provides camouflage from predators in Lake Xochimilco where they are native.


A huge variety of insects display black coloration either wholly or partially:

Black widow spider

This venomous spider has a shiny black body with characteristic red hourglass marking. The black abdomen helps conceal the spider in wood piles and vegetation, allowing it to build webs and catch prey.

Black soldier fly

This fly has a black abdomen and chitinous exoskeleton. It serves to provide camouflage in compost and manure where it feeds. The dark body also helps absorb and retain heat.

Black beetle

There are over 800 species of black beetles around the world, often with a matte, non-reflective exoskeleton. It provides excellent camouflage while foraging and hiding from predators. Melanism also helps conserve body heat.


Coconut crab

The coconut crab is the largest land-living arthropod in the world. It has a black exoskeleton that acts as armor and allows it to camouflage against dark backgrounds like volcanic rock.

Black ghost knifefish

This is a freshwater, nocturnal fish found in South America. It gets its name from its dark coloration and phantom-like movements. The black skin helps it stay concealed in the darkened aquatic habitats.

Vampire crab

This tiny crab lives in the mangrove swamps of the Indo-Pacific. It has black legs and carapace that help it hide in the wet muddy floor and avoid predators.


In summary, black is a common color in the animal kingdom and serves vital functions like camouflage, signaling, and thermoregulation. Black coloration has independently evolved in unrelated animal groups, showing convergent evolution. The adaptiveness of black is highlighted by how it helps prey evade predators and predators ambush prey across diverse habitats. With melanin pigmentation providing clear survival advantages, we can expect to see many more striking examples of black animals thriving in nature.


Animal Habitat Function of Black Coloration
Black Panther Forests and jungles Camouflage for hunting
Raven Wide range Signaling and camouflage
Black Mamba Rocky outcrops and savannas Camouflage
Coconut Crab Coastal rock formations Camouflage and armor
Animal Class Example Black Species
Mammals Black panther, black bear, bats
Birds Ravens, crows, black swan
Reptiles Black mamba, black racer snake, black-headed python
Amphibians Black rain frog, black salamander, alpine newt
Fish Blacktip reef shark, regal tang, axolotl
Insects Black widow spider, black soldier fly, black beetle
Crustaceans Coconut crab, vampire crab