by Greg Mayer
Spotted lions, semi-mythical beasts and the subject of cryptozoological inquiry, have been discussed here at WEIT before, but the spotted lions here are not mythical at all, because they are cubs.
Lion cubs, as we’ve also discussed before here at WEIT, are born spotted, and retain some spots for up to two years or so, but eventually lose them as they mature. The controversy about spotted lions is whether adult spotted lions (only a single individual has ever been collected) form a distinct species or subspecies, or just a (very) rare pattern variation. There’s a bit of a controversy about the cubs’ spotting as well– Jerry, agreeing with the foremost student of animal coloration, Hugh B. Cott, thinks the spots are atavistic, while I think they are likely adaptively concealing.
These two cubs, Badu and Zuka, were born April 16, 2010 at the Racine (Wisconsin) Zoo. They are the younger siblings of lions that were Caturday felids last year. In the next photo, you can also see the spotting on the hindquarters and tail.