Mongolian spot

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Mongolian spot
Mongolian spot visible on six-month-old Taiwanese baby girl
Classification and external resources
Specialty Dermatology
ICD-10 D22.5 (ILDS D22.505)
ICD-9-CM 757.33 (CDC/BPA 757.386)
DiseasesDB 8342
MedlinePlus 001472
eMedicine derm/271
MeSH D049328

A Mongolian spot, also known as Mongolian blue spot, congenital dermal melanocytosis,[1] and dermal melanocytosis[1] is a benign, flat, congenital birthmark with wavy borders and irregular shape, discovered on and named after Mongolians by Erwin Bälz.[2][3][4][5] It is also extremely prevalent among other East, Southeast, North, and Central Asian peoples, Malay archipelago islanders, Indigenous Oceanians (chiefly Micronesians and Polynesians), Africans,[6] Amerindians,[7] East Africans, Latin Americans and Caribbeans of mixed-race descent, and Turkish people.[8][9][10] It normally disappears three to five years after birth and almost always by puberty.[11] The most common color is blue, although they can be blue-gray, blue-black or even deep brown.


The Mongolian spot is a congenital developmental condition exclusively involving the skin. The blue colour is caused by melanocytes, melanin-containing cells, that are usually located in the epidermis but are in the deeper region of the skin known as the dermis in the location of the spot.[10] Usually, as multiple spots or one large patch, it covers one or more of the lumbosacral area (lower back), the buttocks, sides, and shoulders.[10] It results from the entrapment of melanocytes in the lower half to two-thirds of the dermis during their migration from the neural crest to the epidermis during embryonic development.[10]

The condition is unrelated to sex; male and female infants are equally predisposed to Mongolian spot.[citation needed]

Among those who are not aware of the background of the Mongolian spots, it may sometimes be mistaken for a bruise, possibly resulting in unfounded concerns about abuse.[12][13][14]


Infants may be born with one or more Mongolian spots ranging from small area on the buttocks to a larger area on the back. They occur in about 90-95% and about 80-85% of Central Asian and Native American infants, respectively.[9] Approximately 90% of Polynesians and Micronesians are born with Mongolian spots, as are about 46% of children in Latin America,[15] where they are associated with non-European descent. These spots also appear on 5-10% of babies of full Caucasian descent; Coria del Río in Spain has a high incidence due to the presence of descendants of the first Japanese official envoy to Spain in the early 17th century.[9][16] Black babies have Mongolian spots at a frequency of 96%.[17]

A marriage between a Chinese man and a white Mexican woman was recorded in "Current anthropological literature, Volumes 1-2", published in 1912, titled "Note on two children born to a Chinese and a Mexican white"- "Note sur deux enfants nes d'un chinois et d une mexicaine de race blanche. (Ibid., 122-125, portr.) Treats briefly of Chen Tean (of Hong Kong), his wife, Inez Mancha (a white Mexican), married in 1907, and their children, a boy (born April 14, 1908) and a girl (born September 24, 1909). The boy is of marked Chinese type, the girl much more European. No Mongolian spots were noticed at birth. Both children were born with red cheeks. Neither has ever been sick. The boy began to walk at ten months, the girl a little after a year."[18][19][20][21][22][23]

The Journal of Cutaneous Diseases Including Syphilis, Volume 23 contained several accounts of the Mongolian spot on mixed white-native children in the Americas: "Holm ("Ethnological Sketch. Communications on Greenland," X., Copenhagen, 1887) announced the presence of the spot in the east part of Greenland. Bartels ("The So-Called 'Mongolian' Spots on Infants of Esquimaux," Ethnologic Review, 1903) received letters regarding it from East Greenland and also from Esquimaux of Alaska. In half-breed European-Esquimaux, Hansen says he has encountered it. Among Indians of North Vancouver, British Columbia, there are observations made by Baelz as well as by Tenkate (secondhand). In the Mayas of Central America, Starr's (Data on the Ethnography of Western Mexico, Part H., 1902) facts are corroborated by Herman (Aparecimiento de la Mancha Mongolica. Revista de Ethnologia, 1904). He cites A. F. Chamberlain (Pigmentary Spots, American Anthropologist, 1902,) and Starr (Sacral Spots of Mayan Indians, Science, New Series, xvii., 1903). In Central America, according to these authorities, the spot is called "Uits," "pan," and it is an insult to speak of it. It disappears in the tenth month. It is bluish-reddish (in these red men), and is remarkable by its littleness. Mayan half-breed infants do not have it (red men and Spanish white). The mulberry colored spot is very well known in Negroid Brazil. Among individuals of mixed Indian blood (black and red) it is called "genipapo" from its resemblance in color (bluish-gray) to an indigenous fruit of Brazil, named genipapo (an Indian word adopted into Portuguese). "Tem genipapo" means the same as "he is of colored (negro) race." Brazilians say that the spot has a great tendency to preserve itself through the generations by inheritance, and that "Indian blood" is never lost when entering a new. This is the explanation made by those in whose family it occurs. It is rather like the Minorcan blood of the Dr. Trumbull negroes of St. Augustine, Florida, among whom this same spot shows itself even to-day. Yet no one knows them to be black, except that a dark child is sometimes born and strangled by the beautiful women of that race descended from the old Negress of Spain, whom Dr. Trumbull married and brought to America with him. Dr. Lehmann-Nitsche (Mancha Morada de los recien Nacidos, La Semana Medico, 1904) has known of cases of the spot among very swarthy individuals of Europe. He believes that the religious Brazilians are wrong in their accusation that it is the "Seal of Cain." (Cain's seal was on the forehead. Besides, a tribal tattooing in all probability was Cain's seal, as every anthropologist might explain.)"[24][25]

Almost the entire mestizo (mixed Spanish-Indian) people of Mexico have the Mongolian spot.[26]

Among Central Americans indigenous children were subjected to racism due to their Mongolian spots but progressive circles began to make having the Mongolian spot popular after the late 1960s.[27]

Highland Peruvians have the Mongolian spot.[28]

The Mongolian spot appeared at a high frequency of around 42% among the "white" population of Uruguay when compared to Spain, this suggested high levels of African and native Indian admixture.[29]

Cultural terminology[edit]

The Mongolian spot is referred to in the Japanese idiom shiri ga aoi (尻が青い), meaning "to have a blue butt",[30][31] which is a reference to immaturity or inexperience. In Mexico, where its name is the "green butt" (Spanish: rabo verde) it is referred to as la patada de Cuauhtémoc, meaning "Cuauhtémoc's kick". In Korea, it is thought that the Mongolian spot is the bruise formed when Samshin halmi (Korean: 삼신할미), a shaman spirit to whom people pray around child birth, has beaten in order for a baby to go out from his or her mother.

In Ecuador, the natives Indians of Colta are insultingly referred to in Spanish by a number of terms which allude to the Mongolian spot.[32]

In Spanish it is called mancha mongólica and mancha de Baelz.[33]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Rapini, Ronald P.; Bolognia, Jean L.; Jorizzo, Joseph L. (2007). Dermatology: 2-Volume Set. St. Louis: Mosby. p. 1720. ISBN 1-4160-2999-0. 
  2. ^ Die koerperlichen Eigenschaften der Japaner.(1885) Baelz.E. Mittheil.d.deusch Gesell.f.Natur-u-Voelkerheilkunde Ostasiens. Bd.4.H.32
  3. ^ Circumscribed dermal melanosis (Mongolian spot)(1981) Kikuchi I, Inoue S. in "Biology and Diseases of Dermal Pigmentation", University of Tokyo Press , p83
  4. ^ Bernard Cohen (1993). Atlas of pediatric dermatology. Wolfe. p. 6-17. ISBN 1563750198. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  5. ^ JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, Volume 51. American Medical Association. American Medical Association. 1908. p. 2262. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  6. ^ Kevin C. Stuart (1997). Mongols in Western/American consciousness (illustrated ed.). Edwin Mellen Press. p. 95. ISBN 0773484434. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  7. ^ Miller (1999). Nursing Care of Older Adults: Theory and Practice (3, illustrated ed.). Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. p. 90. ISBN 0781720761. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Frequency and characteristics of Mongolian spots among Turkish children in Aegean region". July 2006. 
  9. ^ a b c About Mongolian Spot
  10. ^ a b c d Mongolian blue spots - Health care guide discussing the Mongolian blue spot.
  11. ^ Mongolian Spot
  12. ^ Mongolian Spot - English information of Mongolian spot, written by Hironao NUMABE, M.D., Tokyo Medical University.
  13. ^ Empson, Rebecca M. (2010). Harnessing fortune : personhood, memory and place in northeast Mongolia. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780197264737. 
  14. ^ Robert M. Reece; Stephen Ludwig, eds. (2001). Child Abuse: Medical Diagnosis and Management (2, illustrated ed.). Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. p. 180. ISBN 0781724449. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  15. ^ Epidemiology of Mongolian spot on MedScape
  16. ^
  17. ^ N Silverberg (2012). Atlas of Pediatric Cutaneous Biodiversity: Comparative Dermatologic Atlas of Pediatric Skin of All Colors. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 34. ISBN 1461435641. Archived from the original on 2012. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  18. ^ Current Anthropological Literature, Volumes 1-2. American Anthropological Association, American Folklore Society. American Anthropological Association and the American Folk-lore Society. 1912. p. 257. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  19. ^ Current Anthropological Literature, Volume 1. American Anthropological Association, American Folklore Society. American Anthropological Association and the American Folk-lore Society. 1912. p. 257. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  20. ^ Current Anthropological Literature, Volumes 1-2. American Anthropological Association, American Folklore Society. American Anthropological Association and the American Folk-lore Society. 1912. p. 257. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  21. ^ George Charles Engerrand (1912). Note sur deux enfants nés d'un chinois et d'une mexicaine de race blanche (in French) (reprint ed.). Librairie F. Alcan. p. 125. Retrieved May 17, 2010. 
  22. ^ Engerrand, Georges (1912). Note sur deux enfants nes d'un Chinois et d'une Mexicaine de race blanche. [microform] (in French) (reprint ed.). F. Alcan. p. 125. Retrieved May 17, 2010. 
  23. ^ Current Anthropological Literature, Volumes 1-2. American Anthropological Association, American Folklore Society. American Anthropological Association and the American Folk-lore Society. 1912. p. 257. ISBN 1137001712. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  24. ^ The Journal of Cutaneous Diseases Including Syphilis ..., Volume 23. 1905. p. 210. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  25. ^ Journal of Cutaneous Diseases Including Syphilis, Volume 23. American Dermatological Association. American Dermatological Association. 1905. p. 210. Archived from the original on Nov 11, 2008. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  26. ^ Lawrence C. Parish; Larry E. Millikan, eds. (2012). Global Dermatology: Diagnosis and Management According to Geography, Climate, and Culture. M. Amer, R.A.C. Graham-Brown, S.N. Klaus, J.L. Pace. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 197. ISBN 1461226147. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  27. ^ Arturo Arias (2007). Taking Their Word: Literature and the Signs of Central America. U of Minnesota Press. p. 239. ISBN 1452913161. Archived from the original on 2007. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  28. ^ Herbert Goldhamer (2015). The Foreign Powers in Latin America. Princeton Legacy Library, Rand Corporation research study. Princeton University Press. p. 105. ISBN 1400869153. Archived from the original on 2015. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  29. ^ Sahra Gibbon; Mónica Sans; Ricardo Ventura Santos, eds. (2011). Racial Identities, Genetic Ancestry, and Health in South America: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Uruguay. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 1137001712. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  30. ^ (Japanese)
  31. ^ "The butt is blue": the untold story, Language Log, October 15, 2008 @ 3:14 pm; comment of October 16, 2008 @ 11:39 am
  32. ^ Eileen Maynard (1966). The Indians of Colta: Essays on the Colta Lake Zone, Chimborazo (Ecuador). Department of Anthropology, Cornell University. p. 6. Archived from the original on May 30, 2008. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  33. ^ Vox (2012). Vox Super-Mini Medical Spanish and English Dictionary. Vox dicitonaries. McGraw Hill Professional. p. 184, 121. ISBN 0071788638. Retrieved May 17, 2014.