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In this paper, we propose a novel unsupervised algorithm for the segmentation of salient regions in color images. There are three phases in this algorithm. In the first phase, we use nonparametric density estimation to extract candidates of dominant colors in an image, which are then used for the quantization of the image. The label map of the quantized image forms initial regions of segmentation. In the second phase, we define salient region with two properties; i.e., conspicuous; compact and complete. According to the definition, two new parameters are proposed. One is called ldquoImportance indexrdquo, which is used to measure the importance of a region, and the other is called ldquoMerging likelihoodrdquo, which is utilized to measure the suitability of region merging. Initial regions are merged based on the two new parameters. In the third phase, a similarity check is performed to further merge the surviving regions. Experimental results show that the proposed method achieves excellent segmentation performance for most of our test images. In addition, the computation is very efficient.