In scientific classification (taxonomy) the Tiger (Panthera tigris) belongs to the big cat genus Panthera within the subfamily Pantherinae of the Felidae cat family.
Kingdom: Animalia (animals)
Phylum: Chordata (vertebrates)
Class: Mammalia (mammals)
Order: Carnivora (carnivores)
Suborder: Feliformia (cat-like)
Subfamily: Pantherinae (big cats)
Genus: Panthera (big cats)
Species: Panthera tigris (tiger)
Note: The scientific name for the Tiger species, Panthera tigris, is also known as the binomial name, species name, latin name, biological name and zoological name. Some use the term 'botanical name' however that is only applicable to the plant kingdom (botany) and not the animal kingdom (zoology).
This Tiger classification chart shows where the Tiger fits into the Felidae family and in particular the Panthera genus.
Subspecies (Lower Classifications)
Six extant Tiger subspecies (or lower classifications) were described in the Red List assessment in 2014 and three subspecies have already gone extinct:
Critically Endangered (CR)
- South China Tiger Panthera tigris amoyensis
- Malayan Tiger Panthera tigris jacksoni
- Sumatran Tiger Panthera tigris sumatrae
- Amur / Siberian Tiger Panthera tigris altaica
- Indochinese Tiger Panthera tigris corbetti
- Bengal Tiger Panthera tigris tigris
- Bali Tiger Panthera tigris balica
- Javan Tiger Panthera tigris sondaica
- Caspian Tiger Panthera tigris virgata
However the last Felidae taxonomy revision in 2017 proposed only two subspecies of Tigers based on comprehensive genetic studies:
- Panthera tigris tigris - Mainland : larger size, paler coat with fewer stripes
- Panthera tigris sondaica - Sumatra : smaller size, darker coat with more stripes
*extant = still in existence
The 2022 assessment has discontinued the prior subspecies assessments and states that Tiger subspecies are still under review.
Taxonomy Papers since 2017
Liu, Yue-Chen, et al. "Genome-wide evolutionary analysis of natural history and adaptation in the world’s tigers." Current Biology 28.23 (2018): 3840-3849.
- Amur Tiger (P. t. altaica): Russian Far East and northeastern China
- Northern Indochinese Tiger (P. t. corbetti): Indochina north of the Malayan Peninsula
- Malayan Tiger (P. t. jacksoni): Peninsular Malaysia
- Sumatran Tiger (P. t. sumatrae): Sumatra
- Bengal Tiger (P. t. tigris): Indian sub-continent
- South China Tiger (P. t. amoyensis): possibly extinct
Article about the paper: Genome-wide study confirms there are six tiger subspecies by Mongabay.com on 25 October 2018
Du, Hairong, et al. "New Evidence of Tiger Subspecies Differentiation and Environmental Adaptation: Comparison of the Whole Genomes of the Amur Tiger and the South China Tiger." Animals 12.14 (2022): 1817.
Here is a list of papers published on Tigers. Click on the title bar to view the abstract and the link to the article.
Of all the big cats, or perhaps of all the endangered wildlife, the tiger may be both the most charismatic and most well-recognized flagship species in the world.
The rapidly changing field of molecular genetics, particularly advances in genome sequencing technologies, has provided new tools to reconstruct what characterizes a tiger.
Here we review how applications of molecular genomic tools have been used to depict the tiger's ancestral roots, phylogenetic hierarchy, demographic history, morphological diversity, and genetic patterns of diversification on both temporal and geographical scales.
Tiger conservation, stabilization, and management are important areas that benefit from use of these genome resources for developing survival strategies for this charismatic megafauna both in situ and ex situ.
Luo, S.-J.; Liu, Y.-C.; Xu, X.
Tigers of the World: Genomics and Conservation
2019 Annual Review of Animal Biosciences (7): 521-548
Jhala, Y.V.; Qureshi, Q.; Nayak, A.K. Status of tigers, co-predators and prey in India 2018. Summary Report. National Tiger Conservation Authority, Government of India, New Delhi & Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun. TR No./2019/05.
Conservation of big cats Panthera spp., a taxonomic group including tigers, lions, jaguars, leopards and snow leopards, is a daunting challenge. As expanding human populations across Panthera range countries exacerbate competition for land and prey, conflicts between humans and big cats are inevitable.
Through a systematic review of the peer-reviewed literature published from 1991 to 2014 and indexed in Web of Science and Google Scholar (186 articles), our study explored the current state of knowledge regarding human-Panthera conflict and potential solutions, examining variables such as spatial and temporal distribution of research, methods used to study conflict, evaluation of interventions, and management recommendations.
Our synthesis revealed several key data gaps and research needs. More studies could utilize diverse data collection approaches to focus on both the ecological and socio-cultural context for conflict. Additionally, only 21% of articles included in the review evaluated conflict mitigation interventions, and few of these yielded conclusive results. Success ratios suggest that compensation schemes and livestock management strategies were more effective tools for addressing conflict than either direct interventions (lethal removal or translocation of animals) or community interventions (e.g. education, ecotourism, local management). More studies should systematically evaluate the efficacy of conflict mitigation strategies, many of which are consistently recommended without empirical support.
Results highlight trends and opportunities that can be used to inform future research and management efforts focused on human-Panthera conflict, ultimately enhancing the potential for coexistence between humans and carnivore species worldwide
Holland, K.K.; Larson, L.R.; Powell, R.B.
Characterizing conflict between humans and big cats Panthera spp: A systematic review of research trends and management opportunities
2018 PLoS ONE (13): 1-19
View more articles on Panthera tigris in the IUCN Cat Specialist Group database (scroll down once the library page is loaded to see the list).
The global conservation status for Tigers is Endangered (EN) and populations continue to decline.
Tigers are the largest of all the wild cats, yet they are also the most endangered and some populations have already gone extinct. In spite of many conservation programs it is estimated the Tiger population has declined by over 95% in the past 100 years, primarily due to illicit poaching and habitat loss caused by ever increasing human populations.
The following global organizations are fighting to conserve our iconic Tigers:
Panthera.org - Tigers Forever
World Wildlife Fund WWF - Tigers TX2
Wildlife Conservation Society WCS Russia - Siberian Tiger
Wildlife Conservation Society WCS Russia - Amur Tiger
Please support these organizations with their important work if you can. No matter the size of your contribution, every bit helps!
Facts and Information
Besides being the largest of the big cats, Tigers have a unique coat pattern of only stripes. Other cats may have stripes on parts of their coats but their markings will also include spots, rosettes or blotches.
The following websites have well researched and authoritative information on Tigers:
- Tiger Status and Distribution Map - IUCN Red List
- Tiger Detailed Information - IUCN Cat Specialist Group
- Tiger Academic Literature pdf - IUCN Cat Specialist Group
Key Facts about Tigers
~ Largest wild cat species ~
~ Striped coat pattern ~
~ Highly endangered ~