This paper presents a QuadTree-based melanoma detection system inspired by dermatologists' color perception. Clinical color assessment in dermoscopy images is challenging because of subtle differences in shades, location-dependent color information, poor color contrast, and wide variation among images of the same class. To overcome these challenges, color enhancement and automatic color identification techniques, based on QuadTree segmentation and modeled after expert color assessments, are developed. The approach presented in this paper is shown to provide an accurate model of expert color assessment. Specifically, the proposed model is shown to: 1) identify significantly more colors in melanomas than in benign skin lesions; 2) identify a higher frequency in melanomas of three colors: blue-gray, black, and pink; and 3) delineate locations of melanoma colors by quintiles, specifically predilection for blue-gray and pink in the periphery and a trend for white and black in the lesion center. Performance of the proposed method is evaluated using four classifiers. The kernel support vector machine classifier is found to achieve the best results, with an area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve of 0.93, compared to average area under the ROC curve of 0.82 achieved by the dermatologists in this study. The results indicate that the biologically inspired method of automatic color detection proposed in this paper has the potential to play an important role in melanoma diagnosis in the clinic.