The 8 Cats of the Leopardus Lineage

The Leopardus lineage consists of eight small spotted cats in the Leopardus genus, which are distributed throughout Central and South America, also known as the Ocelot group.
These cats have 36 chromosomes instead of 38 as per all the other Felidae species.
The Felidae ancestors of the Ocelot or Leopardus lineage originated 8.0 MYA (million years ago) and initially evolved into two species in North America. Later during the second ice age of 2 – 3 MYA cats migrated over the Panama land bridge to South America, and the Ocelot group diversified further to the eight species of today.

Leopardus Genus

5. Pampas Cat (Leopardus colocola)

Pampas Cat (Leopardus colocola) - Leopardus Lineage

Pampas Cat Fact Sheet   Pampas Cat Classification

 Wild Cats of Brazil   Small Wild Cat Conservation Foundation

Update 2017: As per the revised Felidae taxonomy – the correct spelling of the Latin name is Leopardus colocola (previously colocolo).

Leopardus Classification

In scientific classification (taxonomy) the small wild cats of the Leopardus lineage belong to the cat family Felidae and the small cat subfamily Felinae. The higher and lower classifications of this group are as follows:

Kingdom: Animalia   (animals)

Phylum: Chordata   (vertebrates)

Class: Mammalia   (mammals)

Order: Carnivora   (carnivores)

Suborder: Feliformia   (cat-like)

Family: Felidae   (cats)

Subfamily: Felinae   (small cats)

Genus: Leopardus

Species: Leopardus pardalis (Ocelot)

Species: Leopardus geoffroyi (Geoffroy’s Cat)

Species: Leopardus jacobita (Andean Cat)

Species: Leopardus wiedii (Margay)

Species: Leopardus colocola (Pampas Cat)

Species: Leopardus tigrinus (Northern Tiger Cat)

Species: Leopardus guttulus (Southern Tiger Cat)

Species: Leopardus guigna (Guiña or Kodkod)


Video Clips Taken in the Wild

Ocelot Videos
ARKive video - Ocelot - overview
Geoffroy's Cat Videos
ARKive video - Geoffroy's cat - overview
Andean Cat Videos
ARKive video - Andean cat - overview
Margay Videos
ARKive video - Margay - overview
Pampas Cat Videos
ARKive video - Pampas cat - overview (no species-specific audio)
Guiña / Kodkod Videos
ARKive video - Guigna - overview
Tiger Cat / Tigrina / Oncilla Videos
ARKive video - Oncilla - overview

Wild Cat CourseLeopardus Lineage Cat Quiz

Click through on the images, videos and fact sheets above to find the answers to this quiz. Good luck!

1. Which is by far the largest cat in the group, with the next in size only half its weight?

2. Which of these cats is called the small cat version of the snow leopard?

3. Which cat is the most endangered?

4. Which of these cats live in trees and can hold on to branches with its hind feet?

5. Which cat has three types of pelage (fur) pattern?

6. Which is the smallest of the cats?

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