Color phase

In zoology, a color phase of an animal species is a group with similar coloring and markings. The predominant color phase within a population often corresponds with the overall color of the environment, as camouflage often provides a survival benefit. For example, the white color phase is likely predominate in arctic regions. However, a brown color phase of the same species predominate in a heavily wooded area. Albinos should not be confused with white color phases. Also note that the word "phase" does not mean that animals change between color phases over their lives.


  • Gray Wolf (Canis lupus) − White, gray, and black.
  • American Black Bear (Ursus americanus) − Black, brown, cinnamon, tan, blonde, white ("spirit bear", which are not albino), and blue-grey ("glacier bear").
  • Snow Goose (Chen caerulescens): White and blue.
  • Freckled hawkfish (Paracirrhites forsteri): Light pink, brown, or olive color, with or without lighter streaks down the side of the body. Another color phase is deep maroon with yellow tail.

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