A list of my favorite images of black panthers.
A black panther is the melanistic color variant of any big cat species. Black panthers in Asia and Africa are leopards (Panthera pardus) and those in the Americas are black jaguars (Panthera onca) or cougars (Puma concolor).
Melanism in the jaguar (Panthera onca) is conferred by a dominant allele and in the leopard (Panthera pardus) by a recessive allele.
Close examination of the color of these black cats will show that the typical markings are still present but are hidden by the excess black pigment melanin, giving an effect similar to that of printed silk. This is called "ghost striping". Melanistic and non-melanistic animals can be littermates.
It is thought that melanism may confer a selective advantage under certain conditions since it is more common in regions of dense forest, where light levels are lower. Recently, preliminary studies also suggest that melanism might be linked to beneficial mutations in the immune system.
Pseudo-melanism (abundism) occurs in leopards. A pseudo-melanistic leopard has a normal background color but the spots are more densely packed than normal and merge to obscure the golden-brown background color. Any spots on the flanks and limbs that have not merged into the mass of swirls and stripes are unusually small and discrete, rather than forming rosettes. The face and underparts are paler and dappled like those of ordinary spotted leopards.
18 votesAnimals - B (25 lists)
list by kathy
Published 7 months, 3 weeks ago
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