Black panther

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A "black panther" ± a melanistic jaguar A black panther is a large black cat. Black panthers are melanistic colour variants of several species of larger cat. Wild black panthers in Latin America are black jaguars (Panthera onca), in Asia and Africa black leopards (Panthera pardus), and in North America may be black jaguars or possibly black cougars (Puma concolor ± although this has not been proven to have a black variant), or smaller cats.[1][2] Black panthers are also reported as cryptids in areas such as the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, and for these (if they do exist) the species is not known. Captive

preliminary studies also suggest that melanism might be linked to beneficial mutations in the immune system. but is also used to refer to those which are normally-colored for the species (tawny or spotted).1 In captivity 3 Jaguars 4 Cougars 5 Reports of "black panthers" in the United States 6 Reports of black panthers in Australia 7 Pseudo-melanism 8 References 9 External links [edit] Melanism Melanism in the jaguar (Panthera onca).black panthers may be black jaguars. It is thought that melanism may confer a selective advantage under certain conditions since it is more common in regions of dense forest. Recent. giving an effect similar to that of printed silk. Contents [hide] y y y y y y y y y 1 Melanism 2 Leopards o 2. Close examination of the color of these black cats will show that the typical markings are still there. where light levels are lower. but are hidden by the excess black pigment melanin. is conferred by a dominant allele. or more commonly black leopards.[3] [edit] Leopards . or to white color variants: white panthers. Albino or leucistic individuals of the same species are known as white panthers. and in the leopard (Panthera pardus) by a recessive allele. Melanistic and nonmelanistic animals can be littermates. The name "panther" is often limited to the black variants of the species. Black panthers have sometimes been regarded as forming different species from their normally-colored relatives.

from Travancore and other parts of southern India and are said to be common in Java and the southern part of the Malay Peninsula where they may be more numerous than spotted leopards. This leopard had a uniformly black coat profusely sprinkled with white hairs as though draped with spider webs. from the forests of Mount Kenya and from the Aberdares. nicknamed the Cobweb Panther.8 and 2. acquired a 10 year old black leopard. that black leopards are often rejected by their mothers at an early age because of their color. It is a myth[citation needed]. In actuality. [edit] In captivity Melanistic leopards are the most common form of black panther in captivity and they have been selectively bred for decades in the zoo and exotic pet trades. Glasgow Zoo. The condition appeared to be vitiligo. [edit] Jaguars . black. She was exhibited for several years before being moved to the Madrid Zoo. One was recorded by Peter Turnbull-Kemp in the equatorial forest of Cameroon. Since then. respectively. captive black leopards[4] are less fertile than normal leopards. in Scotland. from Dublin Zoo.1. Assam and Nepal. but have been reported from Ethiopia (formerly Abyssinia). Myanmar. According to Funk and Wagnalls' Wildlife Encyclopedia.A melanistic leopard Black leopards are reported from most densely forested areas in southwestern China. Black leopards are smaller and more lightly built than normally-pigmented individuals. This is likely due to inbreeding depression. in Spain. and purple with rosettes. the white became more extensive. They are less common in tropical Africa. other "cobweb panthers" have been reported and photographed in zoos. as she aged. In the early 1980s. with average litter sizes of 1. Skin color is a mixture of blue. poor temperament has been bred into the captive strains as a side-effect of inbreeding and it is this poor temperament that leads to problems of maternal care in captivity. gray.

the ground-colour of the fur a rich golden-red tan. it is found to be anatomically as much like that beast as the black is like the spotted leopard. abundantly marked with black rings. Consequently. Nevertheless. the melanism allele is dominant. whose background colour may appear to be dark charcoal rather than black. the smaller jaguar. which they regard as distinct species ± the one described. that it belongs to the terra firma rather than to the water-side.A melanistic jaguar In jaguars. enclosing one or two small spots within. since. the black variety. but a pair of spotted jaguars can only produce spotted cubs. The black jaguar was considered a separate species by indigenous peoples. W H Hudson wrote: The jaguar is a beautiful creature. They scout the notion that their terrible "black tiger" is a mere melanic variation. This is the typical colouring.[5] . and. They regard it as wholly distinct. and affirm that it is larger and much more dangerous than the spotted jaguar. thirdly. Melanism is result of a dominant allele and remains relatively rare in jaguars. the familiar spotted jaguar. that black pairs with black. not rings. when stripped of its hide. finally. A melanistic jaguar at the Henry Doorly Zoo. like the black leopard of the Old World and the wild black rabbit. that they recognise it by its cry. The gene is incompletely dominant: individuals with two copies of the allele are darker (the black background colour is more dense) than individuals with just one copy. naturalists have been obliged to make it specifically one with Felis onca [Panthera onca]. black jaguars may produce either black or spotted cubs. and it varies little in the temperate regions. and that the cubs are invariably black. in the hot region the Indians recognise three strongly marked varieties. less aquatic in his habits and marked with spots.

called the black tiger. It therefore appears that the jaguar melanism gene is also dominant over normal lion coloration (the black jaguar sire was presumably carrying the black on only one allele). informs me. The female brings forth her young in the hollows of old trees. that the second is the couguar [sic]. named "Lola". 1843[citation needed] There are no authenticated cases of truly melanistic cougars (pumas). Sightings are currently attributed to errors in species identification by non-experts. less dangerous. that the cougar is smaller. Texas and eastern Nebraska. black leopards often fade to a rusty color but black jaguars fade to chocolate brown color. He adds. [edit] Cougars Illustration of a black cougar. spotted jaglion male. Georges-Louis Leclerc. that the jaguar is of the size of a large bull-dog. Canada. The head is pretty similar to that of the common cougar. was inadvertently crossed with a lioness. Black panthers in the American Southeast feature prominently in Choctaw folklore where. wrote of the "Black Cougar"[6]: "M. called the red tiger. and not so frequent in the neighbourhood of Cayenne as the jaguar. He weighs not much above forty pounds [18 kg]. Black cougars have been reported in Kentucky and in the Carolinas. but the animal has long black hair. In his Histoire Naturelle (1749). King¶s physician at Cayenne. The offspring were a charcoal black jaglion female and a tan-colored. Comte de Buffon. and that both these animals take six years in acquiring their full growth. In preserved.A black jaguar. There have also been reports of glossy black cougars from Kansas.[citation needed] These have come to be known as the "North American black panther". that the first is the jaguar. stuffed specimens. at the Bear Creek Wildlife Sanctuary in Barrie. that in the [South American] Continent there are three species of rapacious animals. There is wide consensus among breeders and biologists that the animal does not exist. that there is a third species in these countries. and likewise a long tail. Melanistic cougars have never been photographed or shot in the wild and none has ever been bred. de la Borde. and by the memetic exaggeration of size. on account of the uniform redness of his hair. of which we have given a figure under the appellation of the black cougar. which is called the tiger. they are often thought to symbolize Death. with strong whiskers. named "Diablo". and weighs about 200 pounds [90 kg]." . along with the owl.

but happily is a scarce species. and long whiskers on the upper lip: Lower lip.-. they are known as relatively docile . a small breeding population was introduced to Florida in the 1940s. The underparts are lightest. a few melanistic bobcats have been captured. underparts and limbs.Inhabits Brasil and Guiana: Is a cruel and fierce beast. Another possible explanation for black panther sightings is the jaguarundi. throat. fore part of the legs. In certain lights the typical spotpattern of the Florida bobcat can be distinctly seen on the side. with the head black. a cat very similar genetically to the cougar. bobbed tail. The most heavily pigmented portions are the crown and dorsal area. ²Pennant's Synops. Bobcats weigh 16±30 pounds (7. although the poor light in the quarantine cage may have been the reason. of a dusky colour. they appear black. sometimes spotted with black. being almost ferruginous in color. much dreaded by the Indians. whitish. the description was taken from two black cougars exhibited in London some years previously. covered with short and very glossy hairs. or very pale ash-colour: Paws white: Ears pointed: Grows to the size of a heifer of a year old: Has vast strength in its limbs. and one of the hunters called them black. Ulmer (1941) presents photographs and descriptions of two animals captured in Martin County in 1939 and 1940. In the photographs.This "black cougar" was most likely a margay or ocelot. is far from black. which grows to around 30 inches (76 cm) long with an additional 20 inches (51 cm) of tail..[8] Adult male bobcats are 28±47 inches (71±120 cm) long. [edit] Reports of "black panthers" in the United States In Florida. Females are slightly smaller. or cat. While their acknowledged natural range ends in southern Texas. with a short. The Bronx Park animal appears darker and the spots are not visible. The mahogany coloring becomes lighter and richer on the sides.5±2. belly. Another description of a black cougar[7] was provided by Pennant: Black tiger. The chin. and do have melanistic phases. but generally plain: Upper lips white: At the corner of the mouth a black spot: Long hairs above each eye. p 180 According to his translator Smellie (1781). of quad. In most lights these areas appear black. these have also apparently been mistaken for panthers. The Academy specimen. The limbs are dark mahogany. and the tail. and the inside of the legs. but the facial stripes can be seen clearly. Their coat occurs in a reddish-brown phase and a dark grey phase. and there are rumors of people breeding them as pets there as well. but at certain angles the dorsal strip has a decidedly mahogany tint. throat and cheeks are dark chocolate-brown. and are 18±24 inches (46±61 cm) tall at the shoulder. upon close examination.3±14 kg) while Florida panthers are 50±150 pounds (23±68 kg). live in trees.1 m) long. In Central America. which are under 40 pounds (18 kg) in weight. including the tail. Florida panthers are 23±32 inches (58±81 cm) at the shoulder and 5±7 feet (1. sides.

It has been suggested[by whom?] that these panthers mated with feral domestic cats. New South Wales and Western Australia. The jaguar has had several (photographically) confirmed. are responsible for many or most of the supposed black cougar sightings. New Mexico. These samples came back with the same results[citation needed]. It has been suggested that very small populations of jaguarundi. The Australian "phantom panthers" are said to be responsible for the disappearances and deaths of numerous cats. Animal X Natural Mysteries Unit[clarification needed] lead an investigation into the phantom panther. dogs and livestock. They discovered that scats and hair found by locals and sent to a lab came back as dog scat which had feasted on swamp wallaby and hair that had come from a domestic cat. but not beyond that region. memory bias could explain many of the sightings in the southeastern U. which rarely venture out of deep forests. black panther sightings are frequently recorded in rural Victoria. Another possibility would be the black jaguar which ranged into North America in historical memory.[citation needed] Today.[9] . Oklahoma. and much lower to the ground (many note a resemblance to the weasel). and many unconfirmed. A pseudo-melanistic leopard has a normal background color. [edit] Pseudo-melanism Pseudo-melanism (abundism) occurs in leopards. differently colored. significantly. The male jaguarundi's home range can be up to 100 square kilometres (40 sq mi) while the female's home range can be up to 20 square kilometres (8 sq mi). jaguars in general were persecuted to near-extinction in the 1960s. they have the requisite size. In an experiment. as far as non-domesticated animals go. but the spots are more densely packed than normal and merge to obscure the golden-brown background colour. The face and underparts are paler and dappled like those of ordinary spotted leopards. Melanistic jaguars are uncommon in nature and. Though they do not look exactly like cougars. Any spots on the flanks and limbs that have not merged into the mass of swirls and stripes are unusually small and discrete. [edit] Reports of black panthers in Australia At the end of World War II. the Animal X team sent in leopard scat and hair collected from a private zoo. While they are significantly smaller than a cougar. Within weeks of arriving in Australia. although this is nearly genetically impossible.pets.S. and southwest Texas. sightings in Arizona. an unreported number of panthers supposedly escaped. rather than forming rosettes. United States soldiers re-stationed in Australia reportedly brought black panthers as mascots.

in the former the rosettes are lost. producing the appearance of a broad streak of black running down the back.Male Persian leopard with an atypical coat pattern (Wilhelma. with an orange tinge.[10] This indicated a mutation in the local leopard population. six pseudo-melanistic leopards were recorded in the Albany and Grahamstown districts of South Africa. Harmsworth Natural History Most other colour morphs of leopards are known only from paintings or museum specimens. like those on the head of an ordinary leopard... but the spots.] These dark-coloured South African leopards differ from the black leopards of the northern and eastern parts of Africa and Asia in that while in the latter the rosette-like spots are always retained and clearly visible. This is different from a spotted leopard. In May 1936. A second skin had the black area embracing nearly the whole of the back and flanks. without showing any trace of the spots [. curls and fine-line traceries. Other king leopards have been recorded from Malabar in southwestern India. hence the modern cryptozoology term king leopard. blotches.[10] Shooting for trophies may have contributed to the loss of these populations. instead of being of the usual rosette-like form. ²Lydekker. Between 1885 and 1934. (1910). Germany) Richard Lydekker described specimens of pseudo-melanistic leopards found in South Africa in the late nineteenth century:[10] The ground-colour of this animal was a rich tawny.. the British Natural History Museum exhibited the mounted skin of an unusual Somali leopard. were nearly all small and solid. but similar to a king cheetah. .[10] The pelt was richly decorated with an intricate pattern of swirling stripes.. while from the top of the head to near the root of the tail the spots became almost confluent. R.

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