|Genus:|| Panthera |
| Panthera pardus |
Panthera is a genus within the family Felidae that was named and described by Lorenz Oken in 1816 who placed all the spotted cats in this group.Reginald Innes Pocock revised the classification of this genus in 1916 as comprising the species tiger (P. tigris), lion (P. leo), jaguar (P. onca), and leopard (P. pardus) on the basis of common cranial features. Results of genetic analysis indicate that the snow leopard (formerly Uncia uncia) also belongs to the Panthera (P. uncia), a classification that was accepted by IUCN Red List assessors in 2008.
The tiger, lion, leopard, and jaguar are the only cat species with the anatomical structure that enables them to roar. The primary reason for this was formerly assumed to be the incomplete ossification of the hyoid bone. However, new studies show the ability to roar is due to other morphological features, especially of the larynx. The snow leopard does not roar. Although its hyoid bone is incompletely ossified, it lacks the special morphology of the larynx.
The word panther derives from classical Latin panthēra, itself from the ancient Greek pánthēr (πάνθηρ).The phonetically similar Sanskrit word पाण्डर pând-ara means 'pale yellow, whitish, white'.
In Panthera species, the dorsal profile of the skull is flattish or evenly convex. The frontal interorbital area is not noticeably elevated, and the area behind the elevation is less steeply sloped. The basicranial axis is nearly horizontal. The inner chamber of the bullae is large, the outer small. The partition between them is close to the external auditory meatus. The convexly rounded chin is sloping.All Panthera species have an incompletely ossified hyoid bone. Specially adapted larynx with proportionally larger vocal folds are covered in a large fibro-elastic pad. These characteristics enable all Panthera species except snow leopard to roar. Panthera species can prusten, which is a short, soft, snorting sound; it is used during contact between friendly individuals. The roar is an especially loud call with a distinctive pattern that depends on the species.
The geographic origin of the Panthera is most likely northern Central Asia. Panthera blytheae , the oldest known Panthera species, is similar in skull features to the snow leopard. The tiger, snow leopard, and clouded leopard genetic lineages dispersed in Southeast Asia during the Miocene. atrox) is a sister lineage to P. spelaea that diverged about . The snow leopard is nestled within Panthera and is the sister species of the tiger.Genetic studies indicate that the pantherine cats diverged from the subfamily Felinae between six and ten million years ago. The genus Neofelis is sister to Panthera. The clouded leopard appears to have diverged about . Panthera diverged from other cat species about and then evolved into the species tiger about , snow leopard about and leopard about . Mitochondrial sequence data from fossils suggest that the American lion (P.
Results of a study based on analysis of biparental nuclear genomes suggest the following relationships of living Panthera species:
The prehistoric European jaguar Panthera onca gombaszogensis is probably closely related to the modern jaguar. The first fossil remains were excavated in Olivola in Italy and date to. Fossil remains found in South Africa that appear to belong within the Panthera lineage date to about .
During the 19th and 20th centuries, various explorers and staff of natural history museums suggested numerous subspecies, or at times called races, for all Panthera species. The taxonomist Pocock reviewed skins and skulls in the zoological collection of the Natural History Museum, London and grouped subspecies described, thus shortening the lists considerably.Since the mid-1980s, several Panthera species became subject of genetic research, mostly using blood samples of captive individuals. Study results indicate that many of the lion and leopard subspecies are questionable because of insufficient genetic distinction between them. Subsequently, it was proposed to group all African leopard populations to P. p. pardus and retain eight subspecific names for Asian leopard populations.
Based on genetic research, it was suggested to group all living sub-Saharan lion populations into P. l. leo.Results of phylogeographic studies indicate that the Western and Central African lion populations are more closely related to those in India and form a different clade than lion populations in Southern and East Africa; southeastern Ethiopia is an admixture region between North African and East African lion populations.
Black panthers do not form a distinct species, but are melanistic specimens of the genus, most often encountered in the leopard and jaguar.
The following list of the genus Panthera is based on the taxonomic assessment in Mammal Species of the World and reflects the taxonomy revised in 2017 by the Cat Classification Task Force of the Cat Specialist Group:
|Species||Subspecies||IUCN Red List status and distribution|
|Lion P. leo(Linnaeus, 1758)|| P. l. leo (Linnaeus, 1758) including: ||VU|
|Jaguar P. onca(Linnaeus, 1758)||Monotypic||NT|
|Leopard P. pardus(Linnaeus, 1758)|| African leopard P. p. pardus(Linnaeus, 1758) |
Indian leopard P. p. fusca(Meyer, 1794)
|Tiger P. tigris(Linnaeus, 1758)|| Tigers of mainland Asia P. t. tigris(Linnaeus, 1758) including: |
Sunda Island tiger P. t. sondaicaTemminck, 1844) including
|Snow leopard P. uncia (Schreber, 1775)||Monotypic||VU|
|Panthera blytheae||Tibetan Plateau||One of the oldest known Panthera species, possibly closely related to the snow leopard.|
|Panthera palaeosinensis||Northern China||It was initially thought to be an ancestral tiger species, but several scientists place it close to the base of the genus Panthera.|
|Panthera zdanskyi||Gansu province of northwestern China||Possibly a close relative of the tiger.|
|Panthera youngi||China, Japan|
|Panthera atrox||North America, dubious remains in South America.||P. atrox is thought to have descended from a basal P. spelaea cave lion population isolated south of the Cordilleran Ice Sheet, and then established a mitochondrial sister clade circa 200,000 BP. It was sometimes considered a subspecies either under the nomenclature of P. leo or P. spelaea.|
|Panthera crassidens||South Africa||No longer a valid species due to being described based on a mixture of leopard and cheetah fossils.|
|Panthera gombaszoegensis||Europe||Panthera schreuderi and Panthera toscana are considered junior synonyms of P. gombaszoegensis. It is occasionally classified as a subspecies of P. onca.|
|Panthera leo fossilis||Europe|
|Panthera spelaea||Much of Eurasia||Originally spelaea was classified as a subspecies of the extant lion P. leo. Results of recent genetic studies indicate that it belongs to a distinct species, namely P. spelaea. Other genetic results indicate that the fossilis cave lion also warrants status as a species.|
|Panthera leo sinhaleyus||Sri Lanka||This lion subspecies was described on the basis of two teeth.|
|Panthera onca augusta||North America||May have lived in temperate forests across North America.|
|Panthera onca mesembrina||South America||May have lived in grasslands in South America, unlike the modern jaguar.|
|Panthera pardus spelaea||Europe||Closely related to Asiatic leopard subspecies, with at least one study suggesting that it is closely related to the Persian leopard (P. p. tulliana) according to genetic work.|
|Panthera shawi||Laetoli site in Tanzania||A leopard-like cat.|
|Panthera tigris acutidens||Much of Asia||Not closely related to modern tiger subspecies.|
|Panthera tigris soloensis||Java, Indonesia||Not closely related to modern tiger subspecies.|
|Panthera tigris trinilensis||Java, Indonesia||Not closely related to modern tiger subspecies.|
The cladogram below follows Mazák, Christiansen and Kitchener (2011).
In 2018, results of a phylogenetic study on living and fossil cats were published. This study was based on the morphological diversity of the mandibles of saber-toothed cats, their speciation and extinction rates. The generated cladogram indicates a different relation of the Panthera species, as shown below:
Felidae is a family of mammals in the order Carnivora, colloquially referred to as cats, and constitutes a clade. A member of this family is also called a felid. The term "cat" refers both to felids in general and specifically to the domestic cat.
The jaguar is a large felid species and the only extant member of the genus Panthera native to the Americas. The jaguar's present range extends from the southwestern United States and Mexico in North America, across much of Central America, and south to Paraguay and northern Argentina in South America. Though there are single cats now living within Arizona, the species has largely been extirpated from the United States since the early 20th century. It is listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List; and its numbers are declining. Threats include loss and fragmentation of habitat.
A black panther is the melanistic colour variant of any Panthera, particularly of the leopard in Asia and Africa, and the jaguar in the Americas. Black panthers of both species have excess black pigments, but their typical spotted markings are also present. Melanism in the leopard is caused by a recessive allele, and in the jaguar by a dominant allele.
The leopard is one of the five extant species in the genus Panthera, a member of the Felidae. It occurs in a wide range in sub-Saharan Africa, in small parts of Western and Central Asia, on the Indian subcontinent to Southeast and East Asia. It is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List because leopard populations are threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation, and are declining in large parts of the global range. In Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuwait, Syria, Libya, Tunisia and most likely in Morocco, leopard populations have already been extirpated. Contemporary records suggest that the leopard occurs in only 25% of its historical global range.
The term "bigcat" is typically used to refer to any of the five living members of the genus Panthera, namely tiger, lion, jaguar, leopard, and snow leopard. Except the snow leopard, these species are able to roar. A more liberal and expansive definition of the term includes species outside of Panthera including the cougar, clouded leopard, Sunda clouded leopard, cheetah and sometimes the several lynx species, although these added species also do not roar.
Neofelis is a genus comprising two extant cat species from Southeast Asia: the clouded leopard of mainland Asia, and the Sunda clouded leopard of Sumatra and Borneo.
Panthera spelaea, also known as the "Eurasian cave lion", "European cave lion", or "steppe lion", is an extinct Panthera species that evolved in Europe probably after the third Cromerian interglacial stage, less than 600,000 years ago. Phylogenetic analysis of fossil bone samples revealed that it was highly distinct and genetically isolated from the modern lion occurring in Africa and Asia. Analysis of morphological differences and mitochondrial data support the taxonomic recognition of Panthera spelaea as a distinct species that diverged from the lion about 1.9 million years ago. Nuclear genomic evidence suggests a more recent split approximately 500,000 years ago, with no subsequent interbreeding with the ancestors of the modern lion. The oldest known bone fragments were excavated in Yakutia and radiocarbon dated at least 62,400 years old. It became extinct about 13,000 years ago.
The American lion, also known as the "North American lion", or "American cave lion", is an extinct pantherine cat that lived in North America during the Pleistocene epoch and the early Holocene epoch, about 340,000 to 11,000 years ago. Its fossils have been excavated from Alaska to Mexico. Genetic analysis has shown that the American lion and the Late Pleistocene Eurasian cave lion are sister lineages. It was about 25% larger than the modern lion, making it one of the largest known felids.
Pantherinae is a subfamily within the family Felidae, which was named and first described by Reginald Innes Pocock in 1917. The Pantherinae and the Felinae diverged from a common ancestor between 10.8 and 11.5 million years ago.
The African leopard is the nominate subspecies of the leopard, native to many countries in Africa. It is widely distributed in most of sub-Saharan Africa, but the historical range has been fragmented in the course of habitat conversion. Leopards have been recorded in North Africa as well.
The Arabian leopard is a leopard subspecies native to the Arabian Peninsula. It has been listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List since 1996 as fewer than 200 wild individuals were estimated to be alive in 2006. The population is severely fragmented. Subpopulations are isolated and not larger than 50 mature individuals. The population is thought to decline continuously.
Panthera gombaszoegensis, also known as the European jaguar, is a Panthera species that lived from about 2.0 to 0.35 million years ago in Europe. The first fossils were excavated in 1938 in Gombaszög, Slovakia.
Panthera youngi is a fossil cat species that was described in 1934; fossil remains of this cat were excavated in a Sinanthropus formation in Choukoutien, northeastern China. Upper and lower jaws excavated in Japan's Yamaguchi Prefecture were also attributed to this species. It is estimated to have lived about 350,000 years ago in the Pleistocene epoch. It was suggested that it was conspecific with Panthera atrox and P. spelaea due to their extensive similarities. Some dental similarities were also noted with the older P. fossilis, however, Panthera youngi showed more derived features.
The Persian leopard, also known as the Caucasian leopard is a leopard population in the Caucasus, Iran, Afghanistan and Central Asia. The Persian leopard was previously considered a distinct subspecies, Panthera pardus saxicolor or Panthera pardus ciscaucasica, but is now assigned to the subspecies Panthera pardus tulliana, which also includes the Anatolian leopard in Turkey. The Persian leopard is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List, as the population is estimated at fewer than 871–1,290 mature individuals and considered declining.
Panthera leo fossilis is a fossil cat of the genus Panthera, which was first excavated near Mauer in Germany, and lived during the Upper Pleistocene. Bone fragments of P. l. fossilis were also excavated near Pakefield in the United Kingdom, which are estimated at 680,000 years old. Bone fragments excavated near Isernia in Italy are estimated at between 600,000 and 620,000 years old. The first Asian record of a fossilis lion was found in the Kuznetsk Basin in western Siberia and dates to the late Early Pleistocene.
The Indian leopard is a leopard subspecies widely distributed on the Indian subcontinent. The species Panthera pardus is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List because populations have declined following habitat loss and fragmentation, poaching for the illegal trade of skins and body parts, and persecution due to conflict situations.
The Amur leopard is a leopard subspecies native to the Primorye region of southeastern Russia and northern China. It is listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List. In 2007, only 19–26 wild leopards were estimated to survive in southeastern Russia and northeastern China. It was considered as one of the rarest cats on Earth.
Panthera pardus spelaea, sometimes called the European Ice Age leopard or Late Pleistocene Ice Age leopard, is a fossil leopard subspecies, which roamed Europe in the Late Pleistocene. The youngest known bone fragments date to about 32,000 to 26,000 years ago, and are similar in size to modern leopard bones.
The term Chinese leopard refers to any of the following three leopard subspecies occurring in China:
The South American jaguar is a jaguar population in South America. Though a number of subspecies of jaguar have been proposed for South America, morphological and genetic research did not reveal any evidence for subspecific differentiation.