There are seven species of panthers forming the Pantherin subfamily group, including Leopard, Jaguar, Tiger, Lion, Spotted Panther, Borneo Spotted Panther, and Snow Leopard. More generally, the word “panther” is used to designate large felines. But no panther is black.
They are actually varieties of leopards, jaguars or pumas that have a color abnormality called melanism (from the Greek “melas” meaning “black”). This genetic mutation causes an excess of pigmentation that gives their coat a black color. It is relatively common, especially in leopards. And it does not seem to be a handicap, because black is a suitable color to camouflage in the jungle. Unlike the white tiger or white lion with a similar phenomenon called leucism or leucitism (from the Greek “leukos” which means “white”) for which the white coat is a disadvantage.
Other animals may have melanism such as squirrels, wolves, deer, dolphins and even pink flamingos.