A black panther is typically a melanistic color variant of any of several species of larger cat. Wild black panthers in Latin America are black jaguars (Panthera onca), in Asia and Africa they are black leopards (Panthera pardus), and in North America they may be black jaguars or possibly black cougars (Puma concolor – although this has not been proven to have a black variant), or smaller cats.
Most jaguars are tan or orange with distinctive black spots, dubbed "rosettes" because they are shaped like roses. Some jaguars are so dark they appear to be spotless, though their markings can be seen on closer inspection. Jaguars live alone and define territories of many square miles by marking with their waste or clawing trees.