The jaguar (Panthera onca) is the largest cat species in the Americas, historically also occurring in the southern parts of North America, but nowadays mostly only in Central and South America. It is the only member of the Panthera big cat family in the Western Hemisphere.

Jaguar (Panthera onca) Unique Facts

~ Largest wild cat in the Americas ~

~ Most powerful bite force relative to its size ~

~ Bites through the skull of prey instead of the throat ~

Jaguar (Panthera onca) - Panthera lineage
Standing Jaguar (Panthera onca)
Image By USFWS [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Image Source


Jaguar (Panthera onca) Classification

The taxonomy or scientific classification of the jaguar species (Panthera onca) is as follows:

Kingdom: Animalia   (animals)

Phylum: Chordata   (vertebrates)

Class: Mammalia   (mammals)

Order: Carnivora   (carnivores)

Suborder: Feliformia   (cat-like)

Family: Felidae   (cats)

Genus: Panthera   (big cats)

Species: Panthera onca (jaguar)


Jaguar (Panthera onca) Subspecies (lower classifications)

Historically there were up to eight subspecies of jaguar, however recent genetic analysis indicates insufficient evidence to recognize any subspecies. There are however four regional groups that show variations from the north to south of the jaguar's range.

Reference: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016-3. <>. Panthera onca. 7 Feb 2017.


Jaguar (Panthera onca) Conservation

The following organizations are all fighting to conserve our iconic jaguars in the face of rapid deforestation and predator-farmer conflict:


Jaguar (Panthera onca) Facts and Information

The following links will take you to websites with well researched and authoritative information on jaguars:

Recommended Books about all Wild Cats

Wild Cats of the World - Luke Hunter Luke Hunter 2015
(general and academic interest)
Wild Cats of the World - eBook

The Wild Cat Book - Sunquist Fiona and Mel Sunquist 2014
(general interest)
The Wild Cat Book - eBook

Small Wild Cats - Sanderson and Watson J. Sanderson & P. Watson 2011
(general interest)
Small Wild Cats - eBook

Biology and Conservation of Wild Felids D.Macdonald & A.Loveridge 2010
(academic interest)
eTextbook version

Wild Cats of the World - Sunquist Mel and Fiona Sunquist 2002
(general and academic interest)