If felid eyespots lead offspring, why are they already present at birth?

As I mentioned in my latest Post, it is sometimes suggested that the eyespots on the back-of-ear of felids have evolved to help the mother to lead her infants. However, a glance at https://natureslens.co.uk/2018/05/bengal-tigers-of-tadoba/ and https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-tiger-mom-three-cubs-mother-carrying-food-following-image76672676 should cast doubt on this idea.

The colouration of most species of felids is precocial, with most of the markings already present at birth. This includes the back-of-ear pattern.

Lynx rufus http://www.mendonomasightings.com/tag/bobcat-kittens/ and https://www.art.com/products/p46922677968-sa-i10543644/tim-fitzharris-bobcat-kittens-sitting-on-rocks-montana-usa.htm and https://www.earthtouchnews.com/natural-world/natural-world/bobcat-manor/ and https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bobcat_kitten.JPG and https://pictures-of-cats.org/difference-between-domestic-kittens-and-bobcat-kittens.html

Leptailurus serval https://donamaed.com/serval-kitten-care.html and https://www.naturepl.com/stock-photo-rear-view-of-serval-kittens-felis-leptailurus-serval-masai-mara-image01356618.html and https://www.naturepl.com/stock-photo-rear-view-of-serval-kitten-felis-leptailurus-serval-masai-mara-image01356636.html and http://www.shahrogersphotography.com/detail/32812.html and https://www.thesunchronicle.com/news/local_news/serval-kitten-scampers-in-attleboros-capron-park-zoo/article_79eec5f4-1f15-5e92-99a2-9eccff47d8f9.html

Panthera tigris https://stock.adobe.com/images/playful-tiger-cub-with-white-ear-spots-showing/213520431 and https://www.clevelandmetroparks.com/news-press/2021/january-2021/cleveland-metroparks-zoo-announces-birth-of-amur-t and https://happymag.tv/french-couple-pay-10k-kitten-tiger-cub/ and https://conservationcubclub.com/hope-for-the-malayan-tiger-on-international-tiger-day/ and https://www.zooborns.com/.a/6a010535647bf3970b0154388217f1970c-popup and https://www.istockphoto.com/photo/rear-view-of-sumatran-tiger-cub-panthera-tigris-sumatrae-3-weeks-old-in-front-of-gm877336694-244832664

Panthera onca https://imgur.com/r/hardcoreaww/EV60W1n and https://www.babyanimalzoo.com/jaguar-cubs-black-or-spotted and https://siberiantimes.com/other/others/news/cute-jaguar-cub-is-bottle-fed-after-mother-refuses-to-feed-her-at-novosibirsk-zoo/ and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nntNo8_3Mew

Leopardus pardalis https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/47042678 and http://www.living-koh-tao.com/shad/30366/-buy-the-ocelot-kittens---kittens-for-adoption-ocelot---exotic-for-sale-kittens.php and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUHnNzhwmdc and https://blog.zoo.org/2009/02/ocelots-make-their-debut.html

Puma concolor http://websterswildshots.com/wordpress/top-predator-andes/puma-cub-prowling/ and https://external-preview.redd.it/jhN96DDBOJmpdnBB_7x1hzv7F7-Howr1VjU1egjsKZQ.jpg?auto=webp&s=3b4bb15f5b37797952e74c02b02ff1d1e502152c

It seems that in all felid species possessing a back-of-ear pattern, the pattern occurs in infants as well as in adults. Furthermore, the pattern is always, as far as I know, as clear in adult males as in females, despite the fact that felid fathers never lead infants.

Of course, it remains possible that the back-of-ear patterns of felids - like most features of organisms generally - combine several adaptive values. However, would it be safe to say that leading offspring is not one of them?

Publicado por milewski milewski, 05 de agosto de 2021

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