For people associated with the American political party, see Black Panther Party.This article is about the animal. For other uses, see Black Panther (disambiguation).A melanistic jaguar at the Henry Doorly Zoo. Melanism is the result of a dominant allele and remains relatively rare in jaguars.A black panther is typically a melanistic color variant of any of several species of larger cat. Wild black panthers in Latin America are black jaguars (Panthera onca), in Asia and Africa they are black leopards (Panthera pardus), and in North America they may be black jaguars or possibly black cougars (Puma concolor – although this has not been proven to have a black variant), or smaller cats.Black panthers are also reported as cryptids in areas such as the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, and if these do exist, their species is not known. Captive black panthers may be black jaguars, or more commonly black leopards. Black panthers have sometimes been regarded as forming different species from their normally-colored relatives.The name "panther" is often limited to the black variants of the species, but also commonly refers to those that are normally-colored (tawny or spotted), or to white color variants: white panthers.