18 February 2010


The term means variation in coloration, and is perhaps most striking when it involves coloration of the iris.  Wikipedia has the details re the mechanism and corollary conditions, and Environmental Graffiti has collected an assemblage of photos of cats and dogs.

People can also have heterochromia - Dan Aykroyd, David Bowie, Kiefer Sutherland and Christopher Walken are listed as examples.

Cat photo credit Keith Kissel, dog photo  credit Jeffrey Beall.


  1. Actually, I think David Bowie's eye colour comes from a romantic rivalry in his teens. The sphincter muscles in Bowie's left eye were torn and after some operations, his pupil remains permanently open.
    Beautiful pictures nonetheless.

  2. I have heterochromia. When I was young the difference was more obvious and striking. As I've aged the difference has mellowed somewhat and is less obvious. I have met a handful of others in my life who also have "two different colored eyes".

  3. I'm more familiar with this being referred to as Tetragametic chimerism [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chimera_(genetics) ]

  4. My cat has full heterochromia, his left one baby blue and the other a clear bright green. He is deaf in the left ear, corresponding to the blue eye - the vet said this was common in white cats with blue eyes.

    I myself have Central heterochromia, my eyes are blue but I have a ring of yellow around the pupils. We must make an odd pair. Thanks for sharing!


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