Chromatophoromas in reptiles

  • A. Lanckneus
  • A. Martel
  • L. Bosseler
  • T. Hellebuyck


Tumors of the pigment cells or chromatophores in reptiles are classified as melanophoromas, iridophoromas, xanthophoromas, erythrophoromas or mixed type chromatophoromas based on the predominant type of pigment, and constitute a relatively common neoplastic disorder in captive reptiles. Especially melanophoromas and iridophoromas are frequently observed. The diagnosis of chromatophoromas is usually made through histological examination. The use of immunohistochemistry or electron microscopy may be required to discriminate the different types of chromatophoromas. Whenever possible, complete surgical excision is the treatment of choice. Due to the distinct malignancy and tendency to metastasize, the prognosis of cutaneous chromatophoromas in reptiles is generally guarded. Consequently, an early and correct diagnosis of these neoplastic disorders in reptiles is vital. This article provides an overview of the current knowledge regarding the occurrence, the performance, the pathogenesis and the diagnostic and therapeutic approach of chromatophoromas in reptiles with emphasis on melano- and iridophoromas.

How to Cite:

Lanckneus, A. & Martel, A. & Bosseler, L. & Hellebuyck, T., (2017) “Chromatophoromas in reptiles”, Vlaams Diergeneeskundig Tijdschrift 86(1), 5-15. doi:

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Published on
27 Feb 2017
Peer Reviewed