Panthera: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Fossil range: Early Pliocene to Recent
Top to bottom: Tiger, Lion, Jaguar, and Leopard
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Felidae
Subfamily: Pantherinae
Genus: Panthera
Oken, 1816
Type species
Felis pardus
Linnaeus, 1758

Panthera is a genus of the family Felidae (the cats), which contains four well-known living species: the Tiger, the Lion, the Jaguar, and the Leopard. The genus comprises about half of the Pantherinae subfamily, the big cats. One meaning of the word panther is to designate cats of this subfamily.

Only the four Panthera cat species have the anatomical structure which 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 that the ability to roar is due to other morphological features, especially of the larynx. The Snow Leopard, Uncia uncia, which is sometimes included within Panthera, does not roar. Although it has an incomplete ossification of the hyoid bone, it lacks the special morphology of the larynx.[2]



According to the American Heritage Dictionary, the origin of the word is unknown. A folk etymology derives the word from the Greek πάν pan- ("all") and thēr ("beast of prey") because they can hunt and kill almost everything. The Greek word πάνθηρ, pánthēr, referred to all spotted Felidae generically. Although it came into English through the classical languages, some believe panthera could be of Sanskrit origin, meaning "the yellowish animal," or "whitish-yellow".[3]


Like much of the Felidae family, Panthera has been subject to much debate and taxonomic revision. At the base of the genus is probably the extinct felid Viretailurus schaubi, which is also regarded as an early member of the Puma group[4]. Panthera has likely derived in Asia, but the definite roots of the genus remain unclear. The divergence of the Pantherine cats (including the living genera Panthera, Uncia and Neofelis) from the Felinae (including all other living cat species) has been ranked between six and ten million years ago[5]. The fossil record points to the emergence of Panthera just 2 to 3.8 million years ago[6].

Morphological and genetic studies have suggested that the tiger was the first of the recent Panthera species to emerge from the lineage[7], but this remains unresolved. The Snow Leopard was seen originally at the base of the Panthera, but newer molecular studies suggest, that it is nestled within Panthera, and may be even a sister species of the Leopard.[7] Many thus place the Snow Leopard within the genus Panthera[5][7][8] but there is currently no consensus whether Snow Leopard should retain its own genus, Uncia[9][10] or be moved to Panthera uncia.[5][7][8][11] A prehistoric feline, probably closely related to the modern Jaguar, is Panthera gombaszogensis, often called European Jaguar. This species appeared first around 1.6 million years ago in what is now Olivola in Italy.

The Clouded Leopard (Neofelis nebulosa), which was divided in 2007 to distinguish the Bornean Clouded Leopard (Neofelis diardi), is generally placed at the basis of the Panthera group, but is not included in the genus Panthera itself.[5][7][8][11]

The current best estimate of the speciation order puts the lion and leopard as sister species, with the tiger and snow leopard as sister species within a basal clade.[12]

Species, subspecies, and populations

There have been many subspecies of all four Panthera species suggested; however, many of the Leopard and Lion subspecies are questionable. Recently it has been proposed that all sub-saharan populations of Leopards are all the same Leopard subspecies, and all sub-saharan populations of Lions likewise belong to the same Lion 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.

The 'Black panther' is not a distinct species but is just the common name for black (melanistic) specimens of the genus, most often encountered in Jaguar and Leopard species.


(Extinct species and subspecies are indicated with the symbol †)


  1. ^ a b Wozencraft, W. C. (16 November 2005). Wilson, D. E., and Reeder, D. M. (eds). ed. Mammal Species of the World (3rd edition ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 546-548. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. 
  2. ^ Nowak, Ronald M. (1999). Walker's Mammals of the World. Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-8018-5789-9. 
  3. ^ ""Panther"". Online Etymology Dictionary. Douglas Harper. Retrieved 2007-11-12. 
  4. ^ "Pumas of South Africa, cheetahs of France, jaguars of England", Tetrapod Zoology, referring to Hemmer et al. 2004
  5. ^ a b c d Johnson, W.E., Eizirik, E., Pecon-Slattery, J., Murphy, W.J., Antunes, A., Teeling, E. & O'Brien, S.J. (2006). "The Late Miocene radiation of modern Felidae: A genetic assessment.". Science 311: 73–77. doi:10.1126/science.1122277. PMID 16400146. 
  6. ^ Turner A (1987) New fossil carnivore remains from the Sterkfontein hominid site (Mammalia: Carnivora). Ann Transvall Mus 34:319–347
  7. ^ a b c d e Yu L & Zhang YP (2005). "Phylogenetic studies of pantherine cats (Felidae) based on multiple genes, with novel application of nuclear beta-fibrinogen intron 7 to carnivores". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 35 (2): 483–495. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2005.01.017. 
  8. ^ a b c Dianne N. Janczewski, William S. Modi, J. Claiborne Stephens, and Stephen J. O'Brien (1 July 1996). "Molecular Evolution of Mitochondrial 12S RNA and Cytochrome b Sequences in the Pantherine Lineage of Felidae". Molecular Biology and Evolution 12 (4): 690. Retrieved 2006-08-06. 
  9. ^ Cat Specialist Group (2002). Uncia uncia. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 11 May 2006.
  10. ^ Felid Taxon Advisory Group: Alan H. Shoemaker (1996) Taxonomic and Legal Status of the Felidae
  11. ^ a b Johnson WE & Obrien SJ (1997). "Phylogenetic reconstruction of the Felidae using 16S rRNA and NADH-5 mitochondrial genes". Journal of Molecular Evolution 44: S98–S116. doi:10.1007/PL00000060. 
  12. ^ Davis BW, Li G, Murphy WJ (2010) Supermatrix and species tree methods resolve phylogenetic relationships within the big cats, Panthera (Carnivora: Felidae). Mol. Phylogenet.
  13. ^ Hemmer, H., Kahlike, R.-D. & Vekua, A. K. (2004). The Old World puma Puma pardoides (Owen, 1846) (Carnivora: Felidae) in the Lower Villafranchian (Upper Pliocene) of Kvabebi (East Georgia, Transcaucasia) and its evolutionary and biogeographical significance. Neues Jahrbuch fur Geologie und Palaontologie, Abhandlungen 233, 197-233.
  14. ^ O'Regan, H & Turner, A (2004). "Biostratigraphic & palaeoecological implications of new fossil felid material from the Plio-Pleistocene site of Tegelen, the Netherlands". Palaeontology 47 (5): 1181–1193. doi:10.1111/j.0031-0239.2004.00400.x. 
  15. ^ Luo SJ, Kim JH, Johnson WE, Walt Jvd, Martenson J, et al. (2004). "Phylogeography and Genetic Ancestry of Tigers (Panthera tigris)". PLoS Biol 2 (12): e442. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0020442. 
  • A. Turner: The big cats and their fossil relatives. Columbia University Press, 1997.ISBN 0-231-10229-1


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



The genus Panthera.


From Ancient Greek πάνθηρ (panthēr), panther).

Proper noun


  1. (taxonomy) A taxonomic genus within the subfamily Pantherinae — various big cats.


Derived terms

Wikipedia has an article on:


Wikispecies has information on:


Wikimedia Commons has related media at:


Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies


Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Classis: Mammalia
Subclassis: Theria
Infraclassis: Placentalia
Superordo: Laurasiatheria
Ordo: Carnivora
Subordo: Feliformia
Familia: Felidae
Subfamilia: Pantherinae
Genus: Panthera
Species: P. leo - P. onca - P. pardus - P. tigris


Panthera Oken, 1816

Type species: Felis pardus Linnaeus, 1758



  • Panthera on Mammal Species of the World.
    Don E. Wilson & DeeAnn M. Reeder (editors). 2005. Mammal Species of the World. A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed).
  • Lehrb. Naturgesch, 3, 2: 1052.
  • Mammal Species of the World, A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference, 3rd edition, 2005 ISBN 0801882214
  • J.H. Mazák & C.P. Groves: A taxonomic revision of the tigers (Panthera tigris) of Southeast Asia. Mammalian Biology 71(5): 268-287 (2006).
  • Panthera Oken, 1816 Report on ITIS

Vernacular names

العربية: نمور
Česky: Panthera
English: Panthers
Español: Pantera
Français: Panthères
한국어: 표범속
Italiano: Panthera
Русский: Пантера
Українська: Пантера
中文: 豹属
Wikimedia Commons For more multimedia, look at Panthera on Wikimedia Commons.

Simple English

File:Pair of lions
Two lions (Panthera leo)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Felidae
Subfamily: Pantherinae
Genus: Panthera
Oken, 1816
Type species
Felis pardus
Linnaeus, 1758

Panthera is a genus of the family Felidae. It has four living species, which are the biggest cats of the Felidae family. All cats in this genus can climb trees. The cheetah is not in this group because it is more closely related to the small cats. The cheetah is also different from all other cats because it has only slightly retractable claws and chases down its prey instead of stalking it, like all other cats do. The tiger is the largest Panthera species, as well as the largest of all cats. The leopard is the smallest Panthera species.


Other Websites

Error creating thumbnail: sh: convert: command not found
Look up Panthera in Wikispecies, a directory of species

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address