Canadian scientists confirmed the first sighting of a black lynx with melanism, after analyzing a video recorded by a woman outside her home in northern Canada’s capital Yukon, showing a feline.
The clip was released last November to coincide with the publication of Thomas S. Jung’s research in the scientific journal mammals. The member of the Yukon Department of Environment explained that this is the first historical record of a Canada lynx with this genetic condition.
He lynx candensis It changes its coat color to reddish brown when the hot summer seasons arrive, while turning silver gray when fall and winter set in.
This is reported by the Defenders of America’s Wildlife organization. this species is common in northern Canada or in mountainous regions, as they need a mixed habitat where they can find dense vegetation to hunt small prey and a place to burrow.
The interesting thing about this case is that the variation in coat color can be linked to a potential level of adaptation to climatic conditionspoints out the researcher Jung in his article that appeared last October.
Thomas S. Jung explained that historically there are only “a small number of records of color polymorphisms” in the hair of these animals.
The University of Alberta academic noted that it is not known whether the color changes is the result of a process of “habituation”but there is a strong possibility that the loss of camouflage during the winter is related to a “maladaptation” to climate change that is affecting its habitat.
“The animal was definitely a lynx based on the size and shape of its body and the physical features seen on video,” such as its short tail and ear tufts, Jung explains.
He melanism is a genetic mutation that causes this coat change, due to the abnormal levels of melanin generated by the animal. In this case, the bobcat is in a “deprived” state during the winter.
Darcy Doran-Myers, a biologist and member of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, commented in an interview for the magazine National Geographic That this cat has done the right things to survive the hunters despite this condition.
After a search of the scientific literature, the Canadian University academic determined that there are no records of color polymorphisms of this species, so this sighting, near a house in Whitehorse, is the first case of a melanistic Canada lynx.
Recent studies have shown that American black bears have changed the color of their fur through evolution, allowing them to adapt to changes in their habitat.
The fur of these mammals has turned brown in areas of the United States where heat has increased. Researchers at the University of Memphis believed that these changes in animal melanin are part of the constant evolution of animals.
Doran-Myers explained before National Geographic that it is important to consider, in the case of the bobcat, the possibility that the reduced presence of snow in their habitat – due to climate change – results in a darker coat for survival.
However, the researcher noted that this is just speculation and that we have to wait for the sighting of more cats with this tonality to discuss and investigate the subject.