(Panthera pardus) is one of the five "big cats" in the genus Panthera.
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Compared to other members of the Felidae, the leopard has relatively short legs and a long body with a large skull.
It is similar in appearance to the jaguar, but is smaller and more lightly built.
The leopard's success in the wild is due to its well camouflaged fur, its opportunistic hunting behavior, broad diet and strength to move heavy carcass into trees, its ability to adapt to various habitats ranging from rainforest, steppe to arid and montane areas and to run at speeds up to 58 kilometres per hour (36 mph).
It is listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List because leopard populations are declining in large parts of their range.
Its fur is marked with rosettes similar to those of the jaguar, but the leopard's rosettes are smaller and more densely packed, and do not usually have central spots as the jaguars do.
Both leopards and jaguars that are melanistic are known as black panthers.
The leopard's body is comparatively long, and its legs are short.
Melanism in leopards is inherited as a Mendelian, monogenic recessive trait relative to the spotted form.
However, it is believed instead to be derived from an Indo-Iranian word meaning "white-yellow, pale"; in Sanskrit, this word's reflex was पाण्डर pāṇḍara, which was derived from पुण्डरीक puṇḍárīka (tiger, among other things), then borrowed into Greek.