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Although polymorphic phenotypes are common in wild felids, leucism is a rather rare characteristic and consists in the general cleaning of the animal's coat, assigning a white coloration pattern. This characteristic is genetically controlled, with reces-sive inheritance. We present the first record ever of leucism in pumas Puma concolor recorded in wild populations, from Serra dos Órgãos National Park, Atlantic Forest of southeastern Brazil. This record was documented with a great sampling effort, with camera traps from 2010 to 2016, being registered only in two of the twenty-four sampling stations in 2013. The record of this rare phenotype will be the baseline for later studies on the genetic basis of leucism and the adaptive relevance of this phenotypic characteristic in wild cat populations.
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ISSN 1027-2992
N° 68 | Autumn 2018
CATnews 68 Autumn 2018
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CATnews 68 Autumn 2018
First record of leucism in
puma from Serra dos Órgãos
National Park, Brazil
Although polymorphic phenotypes are common in wild felids, leucism is a rather rare
characteristic and consists in the general cleaning of the animal's coat, assigning a
white colouration pattern. This characteristic is genetically controlled, with reces-
sive inheritance. We present the first record ever of leucism in pumas Puma concolor
recorded in wild populations, from Serra dos Órgãos National Park, Atlantic Forest of
southeastern Brazil. This record was documented with a great sampling effort, with
camera traps from 2010 to 2016, being registered only in two of the twenty-four sam-
pling stations in 2013. The record of this rare phenotype will be the baseline for later
studies on the genetic basis of leucism and the adaptive relevance of this phenotypic
characteristic in wild cat populations.
Polymorphic phenotypes are common in wild
cats. There are records of iconic cases such
as melanism in leopards and jaguars called
‘black panthers’ (Eizirik et al. 2003, Schnei-
der et al. 2012, Silva 2017, Silva et al. 2017)
and leucism in white tigers and lions (War-
rick 2010, Cho et al. 2013, Xu et al. 2013).
Leucism can be defined as the total lack of
pigmented cells in the fur in some areas
or all the body, which rarely affects hair-
less body parts such as the nose, feet, and
exposed skin but never affects the iris, while
albinism is the impairment of the bioche-
mical pathway of melanin production that
affects all body parts, including hair, eyes
and skin (Arriaga-Flores et al. 2016, Utzeri
2017). The main distinctive feature of albino
animals is pink eyes, because without me-
lanin in the body, it is the colour that comes
from blood vessels behind the eye (Sokos
et al. 2018). These polymorphic phenotypes
are genetically controlled by several genes,
dominant in some cases, and recessive in
others (Eizirik et al. 2003, Utzeri 2017) and
can play adaptive roles in certain ecological
conditions (Caro 2005, Silva et al. 2017).
The main adaptive functions of colouration in
mammals, as a general rule, are concealment,
communication, and regulation of physiologi-
cal processes, but these mechanisms are still
poorly understood in felids (Caro 2005). Albi-
nism and leucism are commonly considered
a disadvantage for wild animals for various
reasons, such as their higher visibility to pre-
dators, visual pathologies and immunological
defects (Abreu et al. 2013, Sokos et al. 2018).
However, some authors argue that survival
of albinos does not differ from that of non-
albinos of cryptic or nocturnal species and of
those that have few predators (Abreu et al.
2013). Albino or leucistic specimens may not
be so attractive for breeding or be treated as
foreigners by their co-specifics (Sokos et al.
2018). Because such colour abnormalities
are rare and poorly studied, their effect in
the fitness and survival of the affected indi-
viduals is not yet known (Caro 2005, Abreu et
al. 2013, Sokos et al. 2018). Monitoring this
polymorphism may contribute to the identifi-
cation of the populations exposed to stress or
inbreeding (Bensch et al. 2000).
Only for two species of wild cat leucism is
presently described and already genetic ba-
sis defined: in tigers Panthera tigris the white
colouration pattern is associated with the
A477V gene that causes a dysfunction in the
transporter protein SLC45A2, promoting the
loss of function for pheomelanin (Xu et al.
2013); and in lions Panthera leo it is caused
by a mutation in the TYR260G>A gene, in the
same way inducing the white background
colour phenotype (Cho et al. 2013). This trait
has a recessive inheritance pattern, with very
low frequency and appears to be a neutral
character in wild populations (Xu et al. 2013).
The puma is the most widely distributed wild
cat in the Neotropics, occurring from northern
Canada to the southern tip of South Ame-
rica, from sea level to 5,800 m (Sunquist &
Sunquist 2002). This large felid is found in a
broad range of habitats, in all forest types,
shrublands, grasslands and savannas, as well
as lowlands and montane deserts (Sunquist
& Sunquist 2002). Throughout its distribution
this species is categorised by the IUCN as
Least Concern (Nielsen et al. 2015), but in
Brazil it is considered as Vulnerable (Azevedo
et al. 2013). Pumas are threatened by habitat
loss and fragmentation, and poaching of their
wild prey base (Novack et al. 2005). They are
persecuted across their range by retaliatory
hunting due to livestock depredation and the
fear that they pose a threat to human life
(Treves & Karanth 2003).
Adult pumas are uniformly coloured with no
body marks (Werdelin & Olsson 1997). Adult
dorsal pelage is usually tan but may appear
greyish, reddish, or brownish, and ventral
Fig. 1. Map of the study area, Serra dos Órgãos National Park (PARNASO) in Rio de Janei-
ro State, southeastern Brazil, depicting the locations of each camera trap sampling station
(orange circles) and the locations where the leucistic phenotype was registered (red circles).
original contribution
CATnews 68 Autumn 2018
pelage ranges from creamy to white (Trani &
Chapman 2007). The tail tip and the back of
the ears are brown to black, and the white
muzzle is bordered by a black line. According
to Sunquist & Sunquist (2002), temperate
pumas tend to have paler, light greyish co-
louration, while tropical pumas tend to have
brighter, reddish tones. There is no record of
any melanistic or leucistic phenotype for this
species in wild populations, although albi-
nism has been rarely recorded (Sunquist &
Sunquist 2002).
Serra dos Órgãos National Park (PARNA-
SO) is located in the mountainous area of
Rio de Janeiro State, southeastern Bra-
zil, about 100 km from Rio de Janeiro city
(-22°23’36.96’’ – -22°34’57.72’’ N and
-43°10’57.72’’ – -42°58’43.68’’ E). The park
protects 200.24 km² of Atlantic Forest, one the
most threatened biodiversity hotspots of the
world (Rezende et al. 2018), in a very complex
scenery, surround-ed by rapidly growing cities
and various sources of pressure, such as pol-
luting industries and agrochemical-based ag-
riculture (Cronemberger & Viveiros de Castro
According to Thorntwaite’s classification, cli-
mate in PARNASO is mesothermic and super
humid, with little or no water deficit (FIDERJ
1978). Rainfall presents a seasonal distribu-
tion, with concentration in summer (Decem-
ber to March) and dry season in winter (June
to August). This area has the highest rainfall
of Rio de Janeiro state, which varies from
1,500 to 3,000 mm annually, due to orograph-
ic rainfall (Davis & Naghettini 2000).
The park shows a very steep relief that
ranges from 80 to 2,275 m. The considerable
variation in altitude contributes to maintain a
high variety of micro habitats that favours the
occurrence of great biological diversity. The
vegetation is mainly dense ombrophilous for-
est (Veloso et al. 1991), which can be divided
into four phytophysionomies, according to al-
titude (Rizzini 1959). Over 2000 plant species
have been found in the area (Rizzini 1959).
The fauna is similarly diverse, and the most
species-rich vertebrate groups are birds, with
over 460 species, and amphibians, with over
100 species (Cronemberger & Viveiros de
Castro 2009). A recent study listed 99 mam-
mal species for the area, including five wild
cats with recent records (Puma concolor, Her-
pailurus yagouaroundi, Leopardus pardalis,
L. wiedii and L. gutullus; Cronemberger et al.
in prep). The jaguar Panthera onca was once
present but is considered locally extinct in
this area, along with three other large-sized
mammals (Cunha 2007).
Park staff conducted an extensive mammal
monitoring project using camera traps from
2010 to 2016, with a total effort of 18,252
camera trap days, which has recorded 24
species of medium and large sized mammals
(Pereira 2017). Puma was the second most
registered species in the sampling period,
being the opossum Didelphis aurita the first
one (Pereira 2017).
In 2013, we used 48 camera traps (Tigrinus®
and Bushnell® models) in 24 sampling
stations each consisting of 2 camera traps
facing each other, in an attempt to record
both left and right sides of the animals to
be able to identify individuals. Sampling
stations were located about 3 km apart from
each other (Fig. 1). The total sampling effort
was of 4,792 camera trap days (from April to
December 2013).
We obtained 33 independent records (at least
one hour apart from each other) of puma
from 11 different sampling stations. In this
dataset, we found four records of an indivi-
dual showing leucistic characteristics: its fur
was greyish white and it did not show typical
puma colouring on the tip of the tail, behind
the ears or around the mouth. This individual
was identified as a male and a young speci-
men (Fig. 2). This same specimen was cap-
tured by two different camera trap stations
located about 4.5 km apart (Fig. 2). Both sites
were located in dense ombrophylous forest;
MAE was located in 1,054 m of elevation and
CX was located in 1,259 m (Fig. 1). Because
Fig. 2. Leucistic male puma recorded in two different sampling stations of PARNASO: (A) MAE July 5th 2013, (B) MAE in August 13th
2013, (C) CX in July 21st 2013 and (D) CX in September 7th 2013 (Photos ICMBio).
first record of leucism in puma, Brazil
CATnews 68 Autumn 2018
of the proximity of the sites, and considering
the rarity of leucism in this species, assuming
it was a single individual seems more parsi-
monious than considering that two leucistic
individuals would appear in the study area at
the same time.
The animal visited both sites repeatedly: re-
cords show him on MAE on 5. July; then in CX
on 21. July; then back to MAE on 13. August
and back to CX in 7. September. In MAE, the
leucistic individual was the only puma record-
ed. In CX, there were other three records of pu-
mas (on 7. and 15. July and 2. September), but
different from the previous mentioned records,
these were made at night, using infrared light,
and resulted in poorer quality pictures which
do not allow to check the animal's fur colour-
ation. Nevertheless, considering the animal’s
size and structure, it does seem like the same
individual, but, being conservative, we have
not considered these records. Moreover, it is
noteworthy that between the two sites where
the leucistic individual was recorded lies a
third sampling station (CA2) where a female
and another male were recorded during the
same period, showing that the leucistic indi-
vidual may have crossed their territory mul-
tiple times to move between MAE and CX.
Unfortunately, the leucistic animal was not
seen in the following years, despite the effort
of 5,531 camera trap days in 2014, 2,023 in
2015 and 1,561 in 2016, including the same
sites where this phenotype was recorded in
2013. The two sites where it was recorded
were occupied by ancestral coloured pumas
between 2014 and 2016.
Despite the species’ wide distribution, this
is the first record ever of leucism for puma in
wild populations. We did not find any records
of leucism in this species, either in wild or
captive populations, described in the scienti-
fic literature. The next step of this study will
be to locate this individual, live capture it and
obtain a biological sample, aiming to identify
the leucism mutation in this species. Addi-
tionally, we hope to compare this genetic data
with the identified mutation for white tigers
(Xu et al. 2013) and lions (Cho et al. 2013) to
test if these different mutations have arisen
independently. As this record is very rare
and uncommon, this animal can be treated
as a treasure and opens up new avenues to
investigate this colouration polymorphic phe-
notype in wild cats and its ecological implica-
tions. Considering the recessive nature of leu-
cism (Utzeri 2017), the decreasing population
trend of pumas (Azevedo et al. 2013, Nilsen
et al. 2015) and the fragmented landscape of
the Atlantic Forest (Rezende et al. 2018), the
appearance of this leucistic specimen may be
an indicator of inbreeding or environmental
stress (Bensch et al. 2000) in the local popula-
tion, which is of conservation concern.
Authors would like to thank PARNASO’s staff for par-
ticipation in field expeditions and logistic support;
CENAP/ICMBio and LabVert/UFRJ for camera-trap
loans; Ernesto Viveiros de Castro, Vitor Pimentel,
Jorge Luiz do Nascimento, Eduardo Eizirik, Martín
Alejandro Montes, Felipe Pessoa, Ronaldo Morato,
Rogério de Paula and Beatriz Beisiegel for helpful
discussions;and ICMBio for research authorization
(number 24613). We thank PIBIC/ICMBio and PI-
BIC/UFRJ for undergraduate scholarships. We also
thank Maria de las Mercedes Guerisoli and Laura
Bertola for helpful comments in the editorial pro-
cess. This research was funded by ICMBio, CNPq,
PPBio/CNPq – Rede BioM.A., FAPERJ and FACEPE.
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1 Instituto Chico Mendes de Conservação da Bio-
diversidade, Parque Nacional da Serra dos Ór-
gãos, Av. Rotariana s/n, Teresópolis, RJ, Brazil,
2 Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Pro-
grama de Pós-Graduação em Meio Ambiente,
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
3 Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco, De-
partamento de Biologia, Recife, Brazil
Inaugural Range State meet-
ing for the joint CMS–CITES
African Carnivores Initiative,
5–8 November 2018 in Bonn,
In 2014, the Convention on the Conservation
of Migratory Species of Wild Animals CMS
and the Convention on International Trade in
Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flo-
ra CITES developed a joint work programme
for the period 2015–20201. It aims to perform
“joint activities addressing shared species
and issues of common interest”. Subse-
quently, the Secretariats of both Conventions
proposed the establishment of a Joint CMS
– CITES African Carnivores Initiative (ACI;
CMS & CITES 2017), covering the African lion
Panthera leo, leopard Panthera pardus and
cheetah Acinonyx jubatus, which are listed
under both Conventions, and the African wild
dog Lycaon pictus listed under CMS (CITES
2017, CMS 2018). The proposal was en-
dorsed by the 12th Conference of the Parties
to CMS and the task of establishing the ACI
was formally given to the Secretariat in Deci-
sion 12.60 (CMS 2017). The CITES Secretariat
does not yet have a mandate beyond the joint
working programme, as there has not been a
CoP since the development of the proposal.
However, it is expected that at the upcoming
18th CITES CoP in May 2019 in Colombo, Sri
Lanka, the ACI will be discussed.
The 1st Meeting of Range States for the Joint
CMS – CITES African Carnivore Initiative
ACI1 took place at the UN Campus in Bonn,
Germany from 5 to 8 November 2018. Repre-
sentatives of 31 Range States attended the
conference (Fig. 1 & 2; CMS & CITES 2018);
Fig. 1. Attendants of the 1st Meeting of Range States for the Joint CMS – CITES African Carnivores Initiative (Photo UNEP–CMS).
... concolor greeni (Nelson & Goldman, 1931)) and in the south-southeastern Atlantic Forest (P. concolor concolor (Linnaeus, 1758)) (Reis et al. 2011;Matte 2012;Nascimento and Garbino 2013;Cronemberger et al. 2018). Puma concolor is classified as Vulnerable in Brazil (Brasil 2014) and the state Rio de Janeiro (Estado do Rio de Janeiro 1998; Bergallo et al. 2000), mainly due to habitat loss and poaching (Rocha et al. 2003;Bergallo et al. 2009). ...
... It is now present at least in the Gericinó-Mendanha and Pedra Branca mountain ranges and in the RBEG (Figs. 1, 2). Individuals of P. concolor in the city of Rio de Janeiro may have dispersed from the Serra do Tinguá and surrounding areas (Cronemberger et al. 2018), first colonizing the Gericinó-Mendanha mountain range, then the Pedra Branca mountain range and lowlands, as in the RBEG. The presence of Collared Pecary, Dicotyles tajacu (Linnaeus, 1758), in the Gericinó-Mendanha mountain range (Martins and Pontes 2020), may attract and provide prey for P. concolor. ...
... Although P. concolor is not usually hunted in Rio de Janeiro state (Ferreira et al. 2018), there was a recent social media post of a mountain lion killed by a hunter in Serra dos Órgãos (O Globo 2019). Events like this threatened the existence of animals occurring in the fragmented Atlantic Forest (Cullen Jr. et al. 2001;Souza and Alves 2014;Galetti et al. 2016;Cronemberger et al. 2018), especially in densely populated areas such as the Rio de Janeiro metropolitan region, where hunting is still a common, albeit illegal, practice (Vaz 1985;Ferreira et al. 2018). ...
Full-text available
Large mammals, especially felids such as Mountain Lion, Puma concolor (Linnaeus, 1771), are disappearing from their original habitats, due to the loss of natural areas and hunting, especially in the metropolitan regions. In the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, P. concolor had not been observed for almost a century, despite the city having forest fragments as large as 10,000 ha. Here we present records that confirm the reappearance of this species in the city of Rio de Janeiro, where it has been considered extirpated.
... Leucism differs from albinism because leucistic animals show a total or partial lack of pigmentation but a normal colour of the eyes (Mahabal et al. 2019, Olson & Allen 2019. In addition, leucism rarely affects the colour of the nose, feet, and exposed skin (Cronemberger et al. 2018, Olson & Allen 2019. ...
... Cases of leucism have been reported in other carnivore species including puma (Puma concolor Linnaeus, 1771) (Cronemberger et al. 2018 (Olson & Allen 2019). In all these cases the specimens presented a whitish cinnamon fur but kept the normal colouration in the nose, feet, and exposed skin. ...
... In mammals, genetic anomalies in coat color are documented in most taxa (Abreu et al., 2013;Camargo et al., 2014;Cronemberger et al., 2018;Descalzo et al., 2021;Keener et al., 2011;McAlpine, 2021;Muller, 2017;Olson & Allen, 2019). The increase in camera trap use has recently been revealing new evidence on this phenomenon in mustelids too Gong et al., 2021;Hofmeester et al., 2021;Olson & Allen, 2019;Scrich et al., 2019). ...
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Evidence of abnormal coloration in wild animals provides useful information to better understand its adaptive function and its impact on survival. For this reason, we need to know the frequency and distribution of these abnormal phenotypes in wild populations. Here, we report two records of hypopigmentation in European pine marten Martes martes, obtained during a camera‐trapping survey on Elba Island, Central Italy. We do not know what has caused anomalous coloration of pine marten on Elba Island, but it is possible that the inbreeding may have played a role in this isolated population. Although the light coloration certainly entails an increased visibility of pine martens, it is possible that the low predator pressure and the absence of other wild carnivore populations in our study could mitigate the mortality risk due to the light phenotype. The increased use of camera traps across the world can potentially facilitate the discovery of cases of anomalous colorations in wild populations, providing an unprecedented insight into the occurrence of this phenomenon in wild mammal species. Evidence of abnormal coloration in wild animals provides useful information to better understand their adaptive function and their impact on survival. For this reason, it is useful to know the frequency and distribution of these abnormal phenotypes in wild populations. Here, we report two records of hypopigmentation in European pine marten Martes martes, obtained during a camera‐trapping survey on Elba Island, Central Italy.
... Reports of mammalian leucism include the puma (Cronemberger et al. 2018 (Ritland et al. 2001), sea lion (Acevedo and Aguayo 2008), shrew (Chetnicki et al. 2007;Guevara et al. 2011), wild boar (Samson et al. 2021), and field mice (Brito and Valdivieso-Bermeo 2016). This note documents the first report of a leucistic individual of Romerolagus diazi (Ferrari Pérez in Diaz, 1893), commonly known as zacatuche or volcano rabbit, which is endemic to México, has a restricted distribution, and is listed as an endangered species (Velázquez and Guerrero 2019). ...
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El leucismo es la pérdida total o parcial de la pigmentación del pelaje o plumaje sin afectar el color de los ojos, la piel y las uñas. Durante uno de los recorridos diarios de vigilancia y protección que realiza la brigada comunitaria Teporingos 1 realizó el registro de un zacatuche juvenil leucístico en los terrenos de la Reserva Ecológica Comunal de San Miguel Topilejo de la Ciudad de México, México. En esta nota, reportamos este primer registro de leucismo en la especie y discutimos la relevancia de este hallazgo.
... leucism ;Hofreiter & Schöneberg 2010). In Neotropical mammals, the most frequently reported cases are albinism, melanism and leucism, cases of piebaldism are more rarely reported (Abreu et al. 2013, Aximoff & Rosa 2016, Lucati & Lopez-Baucells 2016, Cronemberger et al. 2018, Aximoff et al. 2020a, Aximoff et al. 2021. Melanism is genetically controlled by recessive genes often associated causally with a selective advantage for hunting and can play adaptive roles in certain ecological conditions (Eizirik et al. 2003, Caro 2005, Silva 2017, Utzeri 2017. ...
Melanism in the Brazilian pam-pas cat and range extension in the Atlantic Forest, Brazil The biogeographical and natural history of the Leopardus colocola braccatus (Carnivora, Felidae), known as Brazilian pampas cat, including its coat colouration are poorly understood. Here we report new records of melanism in the Brazilian pampas cat, obtained from three localities in central Brazil. We also provide the southern-most known record, extending its known distribution range by approximately 300 km into the Atlantic Forest domain. During the fieldwork for a mammal survey (2010-2020) we searched for records of melanistic individuals at ten sites spread across three Brazilian domains: Atlantic Forest, Cerrado, and Pantanal. We collected 50 Brazilian pampas cat observations. We obtained in total eight records of melanistic individuals in three protected areas: one site was located in the Atlantic Forest and two sites in the Cerrado (all located in Mato Grosso do Sul state). Despite the long-term camera-trap survey (29,000 nights of camera traps), only 16% of the records were of Brazilian pampas cat showing polymorphic phenotypes. Our findings provide important contributions to our understanding of the species and have potential ecological and evolutionary significance. We strongly encourage further research on this species.
... (ii) Leucism, caused by a partial or total lack of pigmentation throughout the whole body, but with normal coloration maintained in the eyes [18,38]; some publications have reported that 'leucism' rarely affects hairless body parts, such as the nose and feet, and never affects the iris of the eye [31,[41][42][43], leading to de-pigmented fur only. ...
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Mammalian coat color is determined by heritable variations such as disease, nutrition, and hormone levels. Variation in animal coat color is also considered an environmental indicator and provides clues for the study of population genetics and biogeography. Records of abnormal coloration in the wild are rare, not only because it is often selected against, but also because of the difficulties in detection of the phenomenon. We used long-term camera-trapping data to first report abnormal coat coloration in yellow-throated marten (Martes flavigula) in China. Six types of abnormal coloration were found only in the Northeast Tiger and Leopard National Park, Northeast China, which were not reported in other regions in China. A total of 268 videos of Martes flavigula contained normal coloration, 455 videos of individuals of the species contained abnormal coloration, 437 contained the ‘gloving’ type (martens with de-pigmented front toes, paws or lower forelimbs), while the remaining other 18 videos contained five types (different degrees of white-spotting and dilution). The higher relative abundance index (0.428, ‘gloving’ to 0.329, normal) and wide distribution area of the ‘gloving’ type indicated that this abnormal coat coloration type is usual in Northeast China, which may reflect genetic variability in the local population. These records will contribute to further research on animal coat color and its corresponding adaptive strategy.
... Although many of the known records of leucism in carnivores are from animals in museum collections, an increasing number of records are being collected using camera traps Cronemberger et al., 2018;Olson & Allen, 2019;Scrich et al., 2019). can be used to monitor badger sets to study the number of offspring and offspring survival of sets with or without leucistic badgers, to derive estimates of fitness consequences of fur coloration (Bernardi et al., 2021). ...
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Coat coloration plays an important role in communication, camouflage, and sexual selection in animals. Genetic mutations can lead to anomalous colorations such as melanism and leucism, where animals appear, respectively, darker or lighter than normal. Reporting abnormal coloration in wild animals is an important first step to understand the distribution, prevalence, and potential fitness consequences of these rare events. Here, we report several records of suspected leucism in the Eurasian badger (Meles meles) in a population in central Norway. Several camera traps recorded at least two leucistic individuals between 2017 and 2020. It took considerable effort, almost 400,000 camera trap nights over a period of 10 years all over Norway, to obtain a total of eleven records of leucistic badgers, indicating the rarity of this phenotype. It is unclear what has caused the presence of multiple leucistic badgers in a single population, but recent colonization and lack of predators might have played a role. Due to our observations, future studies can now be developed to study the underlying mechanisms and potential consequences of leucism in this badger population. The increasing use of networks of camera traps in wildlife research will provide new opportunities to record rare coloration in wild animals.
... In Araguari (0.82%), Vale do Anari (0.26%) and Itamarati (0.54%) such observations were rarer, despite larger and more intense sampling effort, suggesting the rarity of these anomalies in these populations. In Brazil, reported cases of hypopigmented mammals are from regions under high human activities influence [such as São Paulo (Scrich et al. 2019), Serra do Caraça (MG) (Talamoni et al. 2017); Juiz de Fora (MG) (Vale et al. 2018); Rio de Janeiro (RJ) (Cronemberger et al. 2018)]. It is known that natural processes and age can cause changes in the coat of individuals, but environmental stress and inbreeding are also cited as possible causes for this phenomenon (Laikre et al. 1996;Bensch et al. 2000;Caro 2005;Protas and Patel 2008;Arriaga-Flores et al. 2016). ...
Animal coloring serves several functions, including camouflage and thermoregulation. However, some individuals have anomalous coloring patterns due to excess (melanism) or deficiency (albinism, leucism, or piebaldism) in melanin production. Although these anomalies occur in several species, there are few cited cases. Here, we report the occurrence of color anomalies in three Neotropical deer species. Data were obtained from wildlife inventories, through direct observation, camera-traps, and/or deer carcasses, between 2011 and 2020, in three biomes—the Brazilian Savanna (Cerrado), and the Atlantic and Amazon Rain Forests. We registered 10 individuals with anomalous coloring from Minas Gerais, São Paulo, Amazonas and Rondônia states; seven Mazama gouazoubira (six piebalds and one leucistic), two piebald M. americana, and one piebald M. nemorivaga. Of the registered individuals, five were males, two females, and three of undetermined sex. To our knowledge, this is the largest set of anomalous coloring data for Neotropical deer. Even with the increasing reports of anomalous coloring, little is known about the factors that may cause this and how it influences the survival of individuals and consequently wild populations.
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Leucism is a frequent chromatic mutation in mammals that causes partial or complete fur depigmentation. This type of mutation is interesting because they have physiological and ecological implications. We report here the first record of leucism in a pampas fox Lycalopex gymnocercus (Carnivora: Canidae), photographed using a camera trap in the northeast of the province of Corrientes, Argentina. Although cases of hypopigmentation are apparently very rare among pampas foxes, they could actually be more frequent than previously assumed. Given the ecological and physiological importance of these anomalies, researchers should report all records of this type in order to understand the degree to which these genetic variants are present in wild populations of different species of vertebrates.
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New remote sensing data on vegetation cover and restoration opportunities bring hope to the Brazilian Atlantic Forest, one of the hottest of the 36 global biodiversity hotspots. Available estimates of remaining vegetation cover in the biome currently range from 11% to 16%. However, our new land-cover map, prepared at the highest resolution ever (5m), reveals a current vegetation cover of 28%, or 32 million hectares (Mha) of native vegetation. Simultaneously, we found 7.2Mha of degraded riparian areas, of which 5.2Mha at least must be restored before 2038 by landowners for legislation compliance. Restoring the existing legal debt could increase native vegetation cover in the Atlantic Forest up to 35%. Such effort, if well planned and implemented, could reduce extinction processes by increasing connectivity of vegetation remnants and rising total native cover to above the critical biodiversity threshold established for different taxonomic groups. If undertaken, this process can be adaptive to climate change and boost sustainable development in this most populous biome in Brazil, turning it into a hopespot.
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The geographic distribution and habitat association of most mammalian polymorphic phenotypes are still poorly known, hampering assessments of their adaptive significance. Even in the case of the black panther, an iconic melanistic variant of the leopard (Panthera pardus), no map exists describing its distribution. We constructed a large database of verified records sampled across the species' range, and used it to map the geographic occurrence of mela-nism. We then estimated the potential distribution of melanistic and non-melanistic leopards using niche-modeling algorithms. The overall frequency of melanism was ca. 11%, with a significantly non-random spatial distribution. Distinct habitat types presented significantly different frequencies of melanism, which increased in Asian moist forests and approached zero across most open/dry biomes. Niche modeling indicated that the potential distributions of the two phenotypes were distinct, with significant differences in habitat suitability and rejection of niche equivalency between them. We conclude that melanism in leopards is strongly affected by natural selection, likely driven by efficacy of camouflage and/or thermo-regulation in different habitats, along with an effect of moisture that goes beyond its influence on vegetation type. Our results support classical hypotheses of adaptive coloration in animals (e.g. Gloger's rule), and open up new avenues for in-depth evolutionary analyses of melanism in mammals.
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Incidences of atypical color patterns in otters are scarce, particularly for the Neotropical otter (Lontra longicaudis annectens). We report three L. l. annectens individuals, one with partial and two with total leucism; the first otter is from Río Temascaltepec, state of México, and the other two otters are from Mante, Tamaulipas, México. Because causes that induce this genetic alteration are poorly understood, possible factors that might induce this phenotypic abnormality and the adverse effects on Neotropical otter populations are discussed.
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Anomalous colourations occur in many tropical vertebrates. However, they are considered rare in wild populations, with very few records for the majority of animal taxa. We report two new cases of anomalous colouration in mammals. Additionally, we compiled all published cases about anomalous pigmentation registered in Neotropical mammals, throughout a comprehensive review of peer reviewed articles between 1950 and 2010. Every record was classified as albinism, leucism, piebaldism or eventually as undetermined pigmentation. As results, we report the new record of a leucistic specimen of opossum (Didelphis sp.) in southern Brazil, as well as a specimen of South American fur seal (Arctocephalus australis) with piebaldism in Uruguay. We also found 31 scientific articles resulting in 23 records of albinism, 12 of leucism, 71 of piebaldism and 92 records classified as undetermined pigmentation. Anomalous colouration is apparently rare in small terrestrial mammals, but it is much more common in cetaceans and michrochiropterans. Out of these 198 records, 149 occurred in cetaceans and 30 in bats. The results related to cetaceans suggest that males and females with anomolous pigmentation are reproductively successful and as a consequence their frequencies are becoming higher in natural populations. In bats, this result can be related to the fact these animals orient themselves primarily through echolocation, and their refuges provide protection against light and predation. It is possible that anomalous colouration occurs more frequently in other Neotropical mammal orders, which were not formally reported. Therefore, we encourage researchers to publish these events in order to better understand this phenomenon that has a significant influence on animal survival.
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A onça-parda, Puma concolor, possui distribuição ampla no Brasil, ocorrendo em todos os biomas. O tamanho populacional efetivo foi calculado em cerca de 4.000 indivíduos, e em três gerações, ou 21 anos, estima-se que poderá ocorrer um declínio de mais de 10% da subpopulação nacional. As principais ameaças atuais para a espécie são: a supressão e fragmentação de habitat devido à expansão agropecuária, e à mineração, além da exploração de madeira para carvão. Além disso, a eliminação de indivíduos por caça, retaliação por predação de animais domésticos, queimadas (principalmente em canaviais) e atropelamentos também contribuem significativamente para a redução da população em diversas áreas. A diminuição Onça-parda, suçuarana, onça-vermelha, onça do lombo preto, leão-baio, leãozinho-da-cara-suja, bodeira (Português); león colorado, león de montaña, león bayo, león americano, onza bermeja, mitzli (espanhol); puma, cougar, mountain lion, deer tiger, red tiger (inglês).
One phenomenon that could generate interest of the public and puzzle scientists is morphological abnormalities appearing in wildlife species. Morphological abnormalities in wild animals have been recorded in Hellas (Greece) and Cyprus over the last 83 years. A total of 61 cases were recorded, 47 of which (77%) are color abnormalities and 14 (23%) represent other abnormalities. Among hunted species, abnormalities are more frequently observed in reared and released wild galliforms, in species that live in small and isolated populations, and species that live in low-sunlight conditions. The frequency of abnormalities identified in wildlife could be a key factor in detecting mutations and thus contribute to the monitoring of environmental impacts induced by pollution and other factors.