A black panther is a large black cat. Black panthers are melanistic colour variants of several species of larger cat. Wild black panthers in Latin America are black jaguars (Panthera onca), in Asia and Africa black leopards (Panthera pardus), and in North America may be black jaguars or possibly black cougars (Puma concolor – although this has not been proven to have a black variant), or smaller cats.
Black panthers are also reported as cryptids in areas such as the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, and for these (if they do exist) the species is not known. Captive black panthers may be black jaguars, or more commonly black leopards. Black panthers have sometimes been regarded as forming different species from their normally-colored relatives.
The name "panther" is often limited to the black variants of the species, but is also used to refer to those which are normally-colored for the species (tawny or spotted), or to white color variants: white panthers.