is an Old World mammal of the Felidae family and one of the four 'big cats' of the genus Panthera
, along with the tiger, the lion and the jaguar. Once distributed across southern Eurasia and Africa from Korea to South Africa and Spain, it has disappeared from much of its former range and now chiefly occurs in subsaharan Africa, as well as fragmented populations in India, Indochina, Malaysia and western China. Leopards which are melanistic, either all-black or very dark in coloration, are known as Black Panthers.
This spotted cat most closely resembles the jaguar physically, although it is of lighter build. Males can grow to weigh 91 kg (200 lbs); and the females can weigh 60 kg (132 lbs);. Largely nocturnal and arboreal predators, they are opportunistic and versatile hunters; prey ranges in size from insects to humans.
Originally, it was thought that a leopard was a hybrid between a lion and a panther, and the leopard's common name derives from this belief; leo is the Greek and Latin word for lion and pard is an old term meaning panther. In fact, a "panther" can be any of several species of large felid. In North America, panther means cougar and in South America a panther is a jaguar. Elsewhere in the world a panther is a leopard. Early naturalists distinguished between leopards and panthers not by colour, but by the length of the tail — panthers having longer tails than leopards