Black tiger cub in the wild

This tiger cub with their mother is described as a 'black tiger cub in the wild' by the ranger in his tweet. The cub is not entirely black. It is only melanistic wild cats which are near black with faint markings. This cub is what is called a pseudo-melanistic tiger cub. It brings to mind a pseudo-melanistic tiger cub that was born in Oklahoma zoo but was killed by their mother. The cub's body was preserved as a curiosity. 

Black tiger cub in the wild
Black tiger cub in the wild. Image: Twitter page of Susanta Nanda.

This is due to a genetic mutation. If this is a recessive genetic mutation, which it is as far as I know, the inbreeding of the tiger is going to allow this mutated recessive gene to come forward and show itself in terms of phenotype i.e. the appearance of the tiger. 

It is only through inbreeding that this recessive gene has the chance to work and dictate the nature of the coat. To the best of my knowledge, there are no confirmed reports of pure black non-striped tigers i.e. true melanistic tigers. As you can see in this tiger cub, pseudo-melanism describes a coat in which the thick near black stripes are so close together that the orange background is barely visible between the stripes. 

They can be seen in the wild and in zoos. And if the mother tiger that you see in the still picture and video is inbred it may result in her offspring becoming smaller. One factor here, which is at play, is the fact that sometimes people think that they are seeing a tiger when they are, in fact, seeing a leopard. 

They are getting the two species mixed up which may result in people saying that tigers are getting smaller when this might not be the case.
Note: This is an embedded tweet. Sometimes they are deleted at source which stops them working on this site. If that has happened, I apologise but I have no control over it.


Popular posts from this blog

What do tigers eat in the jungle?

Mythology in China - Bai Hu (white tiger)

Can tigers meow?