Usually people believe that Black Panther means black leopard or jaguar, but the fact is it is typically a melanistic color variant of any of several species of larger cat. Black panther in Latin America means black jaguar in Asia and Africa they are black leopards and in North America they may be black jaguars or possibly black cougars.
Black panthers are also reported as cryptids in areas such as the United Kingdom, United States and Australia, and if these do exist, their species is not known. Captive black panthers may be black jaguars, or more commonly black leopards. The name “panther” is often limited to the black variants of the species, but also commonly refers to those that are normally colored (tawny or spotted), or to white color variants: white panthers. Melanism in leopards (Panthera pardus) is due to recessive allele.
These color variants are not jet-black, close examination will show that the typical markings of leopard or jaguar are still present, but are hidden by the excess black pigment melanin, giving an effect similar to that of printed silk. Both melanistic and non-melanistic cats can be littermates. Albino or leucistic individuals of the same species are known as white panthers.