, Volume 41, Issue 1, pp 190-197

Inheritance of the black form of the leopardPanthera pardus

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The black form of the leopard is shown to be inherited as an autosomal monogenic recessive to the spotted wild type. Pairings of black animals inter se have a significantly smaller litter size than other possible pairings. Two reasons are offered for this: (1) that black animals may be slightly more inbred than the spotted or (2) black animals may be more prone to pre-natal loss than the spotted. The significance of the latter possibility is briefly discussed in relation to the persistence of the spotted/black polymorphism for areas of South-east Asia.