For the first time ever, a Black Canada Lynx was photographed.

First-ever Photograph of a Black Canada Lynx

A researcher at the University of Alberta, Canada, captures an extraordinary moment as he photographs a black-coated Canada lynx for the first time. Thomas Jung, who is also associated with the Government of Yukon, managed to record a 30-second video of the lynx using his cell phone.

“Paint it black: first record of melanism in Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis)”

The remarkable discovery is detailed in an article titled “Paint it black: first record of melanism in Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis)” published in the journal Mammalia.

An Unusual Encounter in Whitehorse, Yukon

On August 29, 2020, the black lynx was spotted in a rural residential area near Whitehorse, Yukon. This area consists of sparsely populated houses nestled within mature forests predominantly occupied by white spruce. The lynx was observed from a distance of approximately 50 meters and appeared relatively calm despite the presence of nearby individuals and a dog, only leaving the area possibly due to the dog’s barking.

Confirmation from Lynx Experts

After analyzing the footage, several lynx experts have verified that the captured animal is indeed a lynx. Although the low resolution of the images hinders a detailed examination, some minor features are still discernible. Jung describes the lynx’s coat as predominantly black, with whitish gray guard hairs throughout. Additionally, there are whitish gray hairs present in the facial ruff, rostrum, and dorsal regions.

Rarity of Coat Color Variations in Lynx

The coat color of the entire Lynx genus is generally stable, showing minimal variation within species compared to other members of the cat family (felidae). Typically, Canada lynx have silvery grayish coats during winter, transitioning to reddish brown in summer with dark spots, and exhibiting black hairs on the tips of their tails and ears.

This sighting not only marks the first recorded instance of melanism in Lynx canadensis but also adds to the limited number of coat color variations documented within the Lynx genus.

Mysterious Melanism and Potential Disadvantages

The adaptive or maladaptive nature of melanism in lynx species remains elusive for researchers. Jung speculates that the black lynx’s loss of camouflage during winter could be maladaptive, putting the animal at a disadvantage while hunting hares in snowy conditions.

Understanding coat color variations within mammal species continues to be of great interest to scientists, as it can either confer evolutionary benefits or pose disadvantages depending on the circumstances. Further research is needed to unravel the implications and significance of melanism in lynx populations.

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