The jaguar is a compact and well-muscled animal. There are significant variations in size: weights are normally in the range of 56–96 kilograms. Larger males have been recorded at 159 kilograms, and smaller ones have extremely low weights of 36 kilograms. Females are typically 10–20% smaller than males.

Adaptation features:

  • A short and stocky limb structure makes the jaguar adept at climbing, crawling and swimming.
  • The head is robust and the jaw extremely powerful. It has been suggested that the jaguar has the strongest bite of all felids, and the second strongest of all mammals; this strength is an adaptation that allows the jaguar to pierce turtle shells.
  • A comparative study of bite force adjusted for body size ranked it as the top felid, alongside the clouded leopard and ahead of the lion and tiger.
  • The jaguar hunts wild animals weighing up to 300 kilograms in dense jungle, and its short and sturdy physique is thus an adaptation to its prey and environment.
  • The cat is covered in rossetes for camouflage in its jungle habitat.
  • While the jaguar employs the deep-throat bite-and-suffocation technique typical among Panthera, it prefers a killing method unique amongst cats: it pierces directly through the temporal bones of the skull between the ears of prey (especially the capybara) with its canine teeth, piercing the brain.

File:Jaguar sitting.jpg

A six percent of the population of jaguars in South America have a condition known as melanism. The melanistic form is less common than the spotted form and is the result of a dominant allele. Jaguars with melanism appear entirely black, although their spots are still visible on close examination. Melanistic Jaguars are informally known as black phanter, but do not form a separate species. Rare albino individuals, sometimes called white panthers, occur among jaguars, as with the other big cats.

File:Black jaguar.jpg

Over-production: The gestation period lasts 93–105 days; females give birth to up to four cubs, and most commonly to two.The young are born blind, gaining sight after two weeks. Cubs are weaned at three months but remain in the birth den for six months before leaving to accompany their mother on hunts. They will continue in their mother’s company for one to two years.

Struggle for existence: The jaguar is an obligate carnivore, feeding only on meat. It is an opportunistic hunter and its diet encompasses 87 species.

Variation: They have very significant variation in size, tending to increase from the north to south. The base coat of the jaguar is generally a tawny yellow, but can range to reddish-brown and black. The cat is covered in rosettes for camouflage in its jungle habitat. The spots vary over individual coats and between individual Jaguars. Also melanism and alvinism can occur in jaguars.

Survival of the fittest: Jaguars that have better skin to camuflate, hunt better.

Advantageous characteristics are passed on to offspring: (I dont know what to put on this)

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