|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|The male lion is easily recognised by its mane, and its face is one of the most widely recognised animal symbols in human culture. |
The colour of the male's mane varies from blond to black, generally becoming darker as the lion grows older.
The mane of the adult male lion, unique among cats, is one of the most distinctive characteristics of the species. It makes the lion appear larger, providing an excellent intimidation display;The presence, absence, colour, and size of the mane is associated with genetic precondition, sexual maturity, climate, and testosterone production; the rule of thumb is the darker and fuller the mane, the healthier the lion.
Sexual selection of mates by lionesses favors males with the densest, darkest mane.
Research in Tanzania also suggests mane length signals fighting success in male–male relationships. Darker-maned individuals may have longer reproductive lives and higher offspring survival, although they suffer in the hottest months of the year. In prides including a coalition of two or three males, it is possible that lionesses solicit mating more actively with the males who are more heavily maned.
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