Ocelot
Southern Tiger Cat
Pampas Cat
Northern Tiger Cat
Margay
Guina or Kodkod
Geoffroy's Cat
Andean Cat

  • Ocelot
  • Southern Tiger Cat
  • Pampas Cat
  • Northern Tiger Cat
  • Margay
  • Guina or Kodkod
  • Geoffroy's Cat
  • Andean Cat

The 13 Cats of the Leopardus Lineage

The Leopardus lineage consists of thirteen 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 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 Taxonomy updates since 2017

Here is a list of taxonomic changes to the Leopardus genus since 2017. Papers are listed on the relevant species pages.

Morphological and Genetics Support for a Hitherto Undescribed Spotted Cat Species (Genus Leopardus; Felidae, Carnivora) from the Southern Colombian Andes

  • 2024 - Clouded Tiger Cat (Leopardus pardinoides) - previously a subspecies of Northern Tiger Cat (Leopardus tigrinus).

Note: The website charts and pages are based on the 2017 IUCN CatSG Felidae taxonomy.

Leopardus Lineage Cats - 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)

 

Note: 'Lineage' is not a taxonomic unit, it is a means to categorize closely related species into evolutionary groups.

Classification Chart

This classification chart shows where the cats of the Leopardus genus fit into the Felidae family.

Leopardus Lineage Classification Chart
Click chart to download.
Permission to use for personal or educational use.
Credit: www.WildCatFamily.com.

Leopardus Genus

The eight cats of the Leopardus genus are Ocelot, Geoffroy's Cat, Andean Cat, Margay, Pampas Cat, Northern & Southern Tiger Cats and Guiña.

1. Ocelot (Leopardus pardalis)

Ocelot (Leopardus pardalis) - Leopardus Lineage

  Ocelot Classification, Conservation and Facts

2. Geoffroy’s Cat (Leopardus geoffroyi)

Geoffroys Cat (Leopardus geoffroyi) - Leopardus Lineage

Geoffroy's Cat Classification, Conservation and Facts

3. Andean Cat (Leopardus jacobita)

Andean Cat (Leopardus jacobita) - Leopardus Lineage

Andean Cat Classification, Conservation and Facts

5. Pampas Cat (Leopardus colocola)

Pampas Cat (Leopardus colocola) - Leopardus Lineage Pampas Cat Classification, Conservation and Facts

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

7. Southern Tiger Cat (Leopardus guttulus)

Southern Tiger Cat (Leopardus guttulus) - Leopardus Lineage

Southern Tiger Cat Classification, Conservation and Facts

8. Guiña or Kodkod (Leopardus guigna)

Guina - Kodkod (Leopardus guigna) - Leopardus Lineage

Guiña / Kodkod Classification, Conservation and Facts

Wild Cat Course

Leopardus Lineage Cat Quiz

Click through on the information links under each cat image 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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