Watch: Something’s different about this Canada lynx

Canada lynx are typically a silvery gray in the winter, helping them blend in with the snow. Credit: U.S. Forest Service

Canada lynx don’t vary much in color. They usually have coats of silvery gray that turns reddish brown in the summer. But researchers recently documented a lynx that’s completely black. The Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) was photographed and recorded on a cell phone on Aug. 29, 2020 near Whitehorse, Yukon. Scientists later examined the photos and footage and concluded that this is the first case of melanism recorded in the species. Researchers are particularly interested in coat color variations like this because they can provide either evolutionary benefits or disadvantages. They think that this darker lynx could stand out in the white snow, putting it at a disadvantage when it comes to hunting hares in the winter.  

Read the study in Mammalia and watch the 30-second video of the black Canada lynx below.