Most people take for granted that black panther fur is plain black without spots. This seems true from most of pictures of black panthers. Under close examination, however, the coat color is not completely black but is actually a very dark brown. It also has spots like those of a light-colored leopard.
Some of spots are solid dark spots of various sizes and shapes, others are clusters of spots, known as rosettes, circular in shape and comprised of several small dots. Because the color of the spots is so close to the color of the background fur, the spots are visible only from certain angles under bright sunlight. No two black panthers have the exact same pattern of spots. Leopards and jaguars have very similar spotted patterns or rosettes. The difference is that one or more spots are in the center of the rosettes for jaguars but not for leopards. For black panthers, however, it is hard to distinguish this trivial difference since the spotted patterns are hardly visible from a distance. Young black panthers tend to have bushier fur. As panthers age, their fur becomes thinner and lighter in color.
The dark coloration with spotted patterns of a black panther provides good camouflage in dense tropical rain forest areas. This is why black panthers are found mainly in rain forest areas in South and Southeast Asia.
For more physical description of black panthers, see: