Asian Leopard | Online Record Book Preview
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Asian Leopard - Species Detail
Panthera pardus fusca
Leopardo Asiático (Sp), Panthère Asiatique (F). Commonly called panther in much of Asia, especially in its melanistic (black) color phase. "Leopard" and "panther" are names for the same animal, despite the ancient and mistaken belief that the leopard was a hybrid between the lion (Latin leo) and the "panther" (Latin pardus).
DESCRIPTION Head and body length 44-72 inches (112-183 cm). Tail length 18-30 inches (46-76 cm). Shoulder height 20-28 inches (51-71 cm). Weight 100-150 pounds (45-68 kg), sometimes more.
A large, handsome cat with a long body and comparatively short legs. The dense coat varies from pale yellow to rich buff or chestnut, and is marked with numerous black spots grouped in rosettes. The tail is long and spotted, with black bands near the tip. Melanistic individuals ("black panthers") can occur in otherwise normal litters, especially in dense, moist forests. The claws are sharp, curved and retractile. Unlike most cats, leopards (also lions, tigers and jaguars) have an elastic vocal apparatus that enables them to roar. Females are similar to males, although smaller and more slightly built.
HABITAT Among the most adaptable of living mammals, it occurs in all types of habitat that provide it with enough food and cover, from rain forest to subdesert and from low plains to high mountains.
DISTRIBUTION More adaptable to humans than most large cats, and still found over most of its original range, though in much fewer numbers. In Asia, leopards occur from the Sinai and Arabian peninsulas and Turkey eastward across southern Asia to the Pacific, including Sri Lanka, the Malay Peninsula, Java and the Kangean Islands; and north through China to Manchuria, Korea and southeastern Siberia.
Outside of Asia, leopards are widespread in Africa, especially south of the Sahara.
TAXONOMIC NOTES Twelve subspecies are listed in Asia: ciscaucasica (Caucasus), delacouri (Indochina), fusca (India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar [Burma], southern China), japonensis (northern China), jarvisi (Sinai Peninsula), millardi (Kashmir), nimr (Arabian Peninsula, Jordan, Israel), orientalis (southeastern Siberia, Manchuria and Korea), pernigra (Nepal to Sikkim), saxicolor (Iran to Baluchistan), sindica (Kirthar range), and tulliana (Asia Minor to Transcaucasica). They are combined here, with fusca Meyer, 1794 having priority.
STATUS All Asian leopards are listed as endangered by the USF&WS (1972). All leopards are on Appendix I of CITES (1975). The Asian subspecies jarvisi, nimr, orientalis and tulliana are listed as endangered by the IUCN.
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