A black panther is the melanistic color variant of any Panthera species. Black panthers in Asia and Africa are leopards and black panthers in the Americas are black jaguars.
What is black panther?
Melanism in the jaguar is conferred by a dominant allele, and in the leopard 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.
Reports of black panthers in Australia
Black panther sightings are frequently recorded in rural Victoria and New South Wales and Western Australia. The Australian “phantom panthers” are said to be responsible for the disappearances and deaths of numerous cats, dogs and livestock.
Pseudo-melanism 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.
Image: By Ron Singer – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Public Domain
Text: Wikipedia contributors. “Black panther.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 18 Aug. 2016. Web. 6 Sep. 2016.