For the identification of insects and other fauna and flora of South Africa: please click on the following links:
Insects and related species: Antlions - Ants - Bees - Beetles - Bugs - Butterflies, Moths and Caterpillars - Centipedes and Millipedes - Cockroaches - Crickets - Dragonflies and Damselflies - Grasshoppers and Katydids - Mantis - Stick Insects - Ticks and Mites - Wasps - Woodlice
Plants, Trees, Flowers: (Note: Unless plants fall into a specific species such as Cacti, they have been classified by their flower colour to make them easier to find) Bonsai - Cacti, Succulents, Aloes, Euplorbia - Ferns and Cycads - Flowers - Fungi, Lichen and Moss - Grass - Trees
Animals, Birds, Reptiles etc.: Animals, Birds, Fish and Crabs - Frogs - Lizards - Scorpions - Snails and Slugs - Snakes - Spiders - Tortoise, Turtles and Terrapins - Whipscorpions
Other photography: Aeroplanes - Cars and Bikes - Travel - Sunrise - Water drops/falls - Sudwala and Sterkfontein Caves etc.

Videos: YouTube

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

King Cheetah vs normal Cheetah

King cheetah in first picture
 
The king cheetah is a rare mutation of the cheetah characterized by a distinct fur pattern. It was first noted in what was then Southern Rhodesia (modern-day Zimbabwe) in 1926. In 1927, the naturalist Reginald Innes Pocock declared it a separate species, but reversed this decision in 1939 due to lack of evidence; but in 1928, a skin purchased by Walter Rothschild was found to be intermediate in pattern between the king cheetah and spotted cheetah and Abel Chapman considered it to be a color form of the spotted cheetah. Twenty-two such skins were found between 1926 and 1974. Since 1927, the king cheetah was reported five more times in the wild. Although strangely marked skins had come from Africa, a live king cheetah was not photographed until 1974 in South Africa's Kruger National Park. Cryptozoologists Paul and Lena Bottriell photographed one during an expedition in 1975. They also managed to obtain stuffed specimens. It appeared larger than a spotted cheetah and its fur had a different texture. There was another wild sighting in 1986—the first in seven years. By 1987, thirty-eight specimens had been recorded, many from pelts.

Its species status was resolved in 1981 when king cheetahs were born at the De Wildt Cheetah and Wildlife Centre in South Africa. In May 1981, two spotted sisters gave birth there and each litter contained one king cheetah. The sisters had both mated with a wild-caught male from the Transvaal area (where king cheetahs had been recorded). Further king cheetahs were later born at the Centre. It has been known to exist in Zimbabwe, Botswana and in the northern part of South Africa's Transvaal province.

In 2012, the cause of this alternative coat pattern was found to be a mutation in the gene for transmembrane aminopeptidase Q (Taqpep), the same gene responsible for the striped 'mackerel' versus blotchy 'classic' patterning seen in tabby cats. The mutation is recessive and must be inherited from both parents for this pattern to appear, which is one reason why it is so rare.

Please go and read the full article on Wikipedia on the history of cheetah. It is fascinating!!

Info: Unique Facts about Wildlife in South Africa (Joan Young)

3 comments:

Jo said...

Oh WOW, Joan, you've taught me something I never knew! Did you take the photo of the King Cheetah in your post? I will look out for this [rare] species of cheetah if we ever get to a Tanzanian game reserve! (I'm an optimist!) Hope you're keeping well. Greetings, Jo

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Yes I did take it Jo but many years ago, somewhere in the 1980's. This is still on a slide which I scaned. Hope you get to see one Jo, they are stunning.

Gaelyn said...

Although I'll settle with any Cheetah sighting a King would be a real bonus.