The discovery of a black-colored Canada Lynx, also known as Lynx canadensis, is indeed a significant occurrence. While the Canada Lynx typically has a light brownish-grey fur coat, individuals with black fur are rare but not unheard of. In 2022, a fortunate individual managed to capture some pictures of a black Canada Lynx, which subsequently gained worldwide attention.
The animal was observed and photographed by Thomas Jung, a researcher at the University of Alberta and an employee of the Government of Yukon, Canada. The video of the lynx was recorded on his cell phone in a rural residential area near the town of Whitehorse, Yukon. In the video, the lynx can be seen at a distance of about 50 meters, not causing any harm. There were also people and a dog nearby, and the lynx eventually moved away when the dog started barking.
The discovery of the black Canada Lynx was documented in an article titled “Paint it black: first record of melanism in Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis)” published in the journal Mammalia. The video footage, although grainy, provided confirmation that it was indeed a Canada Lynx. However, due to the quality of the video, it was challenging to observe many distinctive features.
The black-coated Canada Lynx observed in the video had whitish gray guard hairs throughout its fur, including the facial ruff, rostrum, and dorsal regions. This coloration variation makes the lynx particularly rare and unique among its species.
Regarding the significance of this coat color variation, experts have not determined whether melanism in any species provides an advantage or a disadvantage. Thomas Jung, the observer, suggests that the black coat coloration in the lynx may be maladaptive because it hinders the animal’s ability to blend into its environment. In winter, when the lynx hunts, the darker coat would make it stand out against the snowy background, reducing its camouflage and potentially making it more vulnerable.
Further research and observation are necessary to fully understand the implications of melanism in the Canada Lynx and its impact on the animal’s survival and adaptation.