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Panthera, species and subspecies

Panthera is a genus of the family Felidae (the cats), which contains four well-known living species: the tiger, the lion, the leopard and the jaguar. The genus comprises about half of the big cats. One meaning of the word panther is to designate cats of this family. Only these four cat species have the anatomical changes enabling them to roar, due to a modification of the shape of their hyoid bone.

There have been many subspecies of leopard and lion suggested, however most of these are questionable. For example, recently, it has been proposed that all sub-saharan leopards and all sub-saharan lions belong to the same subspecies, as they do not have sufficient genetic distinction between them. Some prehistoric lion subspecies have been described from historical evidence and fossils. They may have been separate species.

However, here is a list of all these species:

Subfamily Pantherinae

Genus Panthera

  • Panthera gombaszoegensis – European jaguar †
  • Panthera leo – Lion
  • Panthera leo atrox – American Lion or North American cave lion †
  • Panthera leo azandica – North East Congo lion
  • Panthera leo bleyenberghi – Katanga lion or Southwest African lion
  • Panthera leo europaea – European lion †
  • Panthera leo fossilis – Early Middle Pleistocene European cave lion †
  • Panthera leo hollisteri – Congo lion
  • Panthera leo krugeri – South African lion or Southeast African lion
  • Panthera leo leo – Barbary lion †
  • Panthera leo melanochaita – Cape lion †
  • Panthera leo massaicus – Masai lion
  • Panthera leo persica – Asiatic lion
  • Panthera leo sinhaleyus – Sri Lanka lion or Ceylon lion †
  • Panthera leo somaliensis – Somali lion
  • Panthera leo spelaea – Eurasian cave lion †
  • Panthera leo senegalensis – West African lion, or Senegal lion
  • Panthera leo vereshchagini – East Siberian and Beringian cave lion †
  • Panthera leo verneyi – Kalahari lion
  • Panthera onca – Jaguar
  • Panthera palaeosinensis – Pleistocene Chinese tiger/leopard †
  • Panthera pardoides – primitive leopard †
  • Panthera pardus – Leopard
  • Panthera pardus adersi – Zanzibar Leopard †
  • Panthera pardus delacouri – Indo-Chinese Leopard
  • Panthera pardus fusca – Indian Leopard
  • Panthera pardus jarvesi – Judean Desert Leopard
  • Panthera pardus japonensis – North China Leopard
  • Panthera pardus jarvisi – Sinai Leopard
  • Panthera pardus kotiya – Sri Lanka Leopard
  • Panthera pardus meas – Java Leopard
  • Panthera pardus nimr – Arabian leopard or South Arabian Leopard
  • Panthera pardus orientalis – Amur Leopard
  • Panthera pardus panthera – Barbary Leopard
  • Panthera pardus pardus – African Leopard
  • Panthera pardus saxicolor – Persian Leopard
  • Panthera pardus tulliana – Anatolian Leopard
  • Panthera schaubi – a prehistoric short-faced leopard †
  • Panthera tigris – Tiger
  • Panthera tigris altaica – Siberian tiger or Amur tiger
  • Panthera tigris amoyensis – South China tiger
  • Panthera tigris balica – Balinese tiger †
  • Panthera tigris corbetti – Indochinese tiger
  • Panthera tigris jacksoni – Malayan tiger
  • Panthera tigris sondaica – Javan tiger †
  • Panthera tigris sumatran – Sumatran tiger
  • Panthera tigris tigris – Bengal tiger
  • Panthera tigris virgata – Caspian tiger †
  • Panthera toscana – Tuscany lion or Tuscany jaguar †
  • Panthera youngi – A prehistoric Chinese lion-like cat †

Nota bene: † denotes a subspecies that is disappeared.

Beware: The animal known as a black panther is not a separate species, but merely a mutant form of leopard and jaguar where the recessive gene that controls the spots has mutated so the creature appears all black.

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