industrial melanism

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The increase of melanic (dark) forms of an animal in areas darkened by industrial pollution. The example most often quoted is that of the peppered moth (Biston betularia), melanic forms of which markedly increased in the industrial north of England during the 19th century. Experiments have shown that the dark forms increase in polluted regions because they are less easily seen by birds against a dark background; conversely the paler forms survive better in unpolluted areas. See also directional selection.

Subjects: Biological Sciences.

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