Rare Melanistic Canada Lynx Captured on Camera for the First Time

The Canada Lynx, scientifically known as Lynx canadensis, is a native North American species of lynx found in Canada and certain regions of the United States.

While the typical fur coat of the Canada Lynx is light brownish-grey, occasional reports have mentioned individuals with black fur.

In 2022, an extraordinary event occurred when an individual managed to capture photographs of a black-colored Canada Lynx, a rare occurrence that gained worldwide attention.

This remarkable find was made by a researcher at the University of Alberta, Canada, and recorded on video by Thomas Jung, a Government of Yukon employee, using his cell phone.

The significant discovery was published in an article titled “Paint it black: first record of melanism in Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis)” in the journal Mammalia. The video was filmed in a rural residential area near Whitehorse, Yukon. Despite the grainy quality of the video, it was apparent that the lynx was not causing any disturbances as it was observed from a distance of approximately 50 meters. A few people and a dog were nearby, and the lynx eventually moved away in response to the dog’s barking.

Canada Lynx are known for their solitary and secretive nature, making sightings like this a rare occurrence.

Experts confirmed that the animal in the video was indeed a Canada lynx, although the video did not reveal many distinctive features.

Thomas Jung described the lynx’s black coat, which included whitish gray guard hairs throughout, along with whitish gray hairs in the facial ruff, rostrum, and dorsal regions.

In general, most lynx species exhibit similar coloring, with Canada lynx often having silvery gray coats in the winter and reddish-brown coats in the summer.

The black-coated lynx captured in the video is an exceptionally rare find due to its unique coat color variations.

Jung speculated that such variations could be either adaptive or maladaptive evolutionary traits. While scientists have not yet determined whether melanism in any species offers an advantage or disadvantage, Jung believes that in the case of the lynx, the trait leads to a lack of necessary camouflage, making it maladaptive. This means that while hunting in snowy environments during winter, the lynx with darker hair might stand out and struggle to blend in effectively with its surroundings.

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