What is Industrial Melanism?
Industrial melanism is the result of human activities that cause pigment changes in different species. With the advent of the Industrial Revolution, many communities in North America and Europe began to turn black due to carbon footprint.
Species that depended on camouflage to avoid predators adapted or became extinct in changing environments. Industrial melanism implies microevolution due to species mutation.
Industrial Melanism in Peppered Moth
The garlic fly Biston betularia F.typica is a light-colored species with dark spots that help hide the lichens on the bark of trees F.carbonaria which is a species of F.typica has been slightly modified to a dark-colored species with spots.
In polluted areas, lighter colored species were unable to defend against predators. As the lichen population was reduced by pollution, lighter colored species were easier to appear in the bark and this replaced F.typica with F.carbonaria.
Since Europe began to use modern ecological technology, the selective pressure of nutrition has reversed, and the fly has returned to its native species.
This process is slower than the original transition because alleles regress for darker colors and must be copied from both parents. This is called reverse industrial melanism. In Australia, a species of water snake, with black and white stripes, has turned completely black due to urban pollution.
Industrial Melanism in Marine Dwellers
Industrial melanism has been observed in the turtle-headed sea snake. These snakes have black and white stripes on their bodies, but researchers have seen snakes living in sewage that are completely black.
This is further evidence of the evolution of animals with respect to changes in the environment around them.