Rosette (zoology)

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A jaguar with rosettes

A rosette is a rose-like marking or formation found on the fur and skin of some animals, particularly cats of the family Felidae. Rosettes are used to camouflage the animal, either as a defense mechanism or as a stalking tool. Predators use their rosettes to simulate the different shifting of shadows and shade, helping the animals to remain hidden from their prey. Rosettes can be grouped in clusters around other spots, or may appear as blotches on the fur. Rosettes can appear with or without central spots.

The following felids have rosettes:

  • Cheetah - Only the king cheetah variation has rosettes.
  • Jaguar
  • Leopard (Smaller and more dense compared to those of a Jaguar and without central spots)
  • Snow leopard
  • Ocelot
  • Lion - Generally, rosettes are present on lion cubs only, but some adult lions may retain them on the face. Rosettes also appear in lion/tiger hybrids (ligers and tiglons).