An artist's depiction
|Country|| · China|
|Theories|| · Cryptid|
The Maltese Tiger, or Blue Tiger, is a reported but unproven coloration morph of a tiger, reported mostly in the Fujian Province of China. It is said to have bluish fur with dark grey stripes. Most of the Maltese tigers reported have been of the South Chinese subspecies. The South Chinese tiger today is critically endangered, due to their illegal and continued use in traditional Chinese medicine and the "blue" alleles may be wholly extinct. Blue tigers have also been reported in Korea.
The Maltese Tiger is said to have bluish fur with dark grey stripes.
There are several explanations as to what the creature could be. Theories include:
- An undiscovered species (a Cryptid)
- A mutation
- The term "Maltese" comes from domestic cat terminology for blue fur, and refers to the slate grey coloration. Many cats with such coloration are present in Malta, which may have given rise to the use of the adjective in this context.
- In support of the blue tiger theory, Maltese-colored cats certainly do exist. The most common are a domestic cat breed, the Russian Blue, and a variety of the British Shorthair, the British Blue, but blue bobcats and lynxes have also been recorded, and there are genetic mutations and combinations that result in bluish hue, or at least in the impression of a blue-gray animal. Shuker suggested that blue tigers possessed two different pairs of recessive alleles – the non-agouti (s/s), and the dilute (d/d) which combine to produce a solid blue-gray colour as found in domestic cats such as the British Blue and Russian Blue, but would not produce the striped blue tigers reported.
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