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Northwest African Cheetah

  1. Jul 8, 2015 #1
    The Northwest African Cheetah has very few if any spots(this is also characteristic of ticked or spotless cheetahs). It also doesn't commonly have the tear marks characteristic of cheetahs(this could be because it lives in one of the hottest of all deserts and so tear marks and spots would make the cheetah even hotter during its sprint).

    So how do we know that it is in fact a subspecies of cheetah and not a new cat species in Acinonyx? I mean yes all species in Acinonyx including all the extinct ones have cheetah in their name but not all of them are cheetahs.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 8, 2015 #2

    EJC

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  4. Jul 9, 2015 #3
    But Wikipedia is sometimes wrong about things. The Northwest African Cheetah with so few if any spots and not commonly having tear marks could easily be a new species in Acinonyx. Of course there are other spotless cheetahs that have those tear marks. That is because of recessive genes for the spots but no genes for no tear marks.

    It just seems a little weird to me for there to be cheetahs that don't have the characteristic tear marks of cheetahs. The spotless, pseudomelanistic, white, maltese, etc. don't seem as weird to me because there are only 2 genetic mutations of cheetah that would never have tear marks and those are complete albinism and leucism(melanistic cheetahs would still have those tear marks, they would just be hard to see). Complete albinism is very rare among cats, especially big cats like cheetahs. Leucism is also rare but it is more common than complete albinism. However all the white cheetahs that I have seen are not leucistic or albino, just white with black spots and tear marks(kind of like how white tigers still have black stripes).

    Also the Northwest African Cheetah could just be a leucistic version of other cheetahs which would also make it not a subspecies.
     
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