Puma / Mountain Lion / Cougar (Puma concolor) - Puma Genus and Lineage
Florida Panther By Larry W. Richardson U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


In scientific classification (taxonomy) the Puma (Puma concolor) belongs to the genus Puma within the small cat subfamily Felinae of the Felidae cat family.

Kingdom: Animalia (animals)

 Phylum: Chordata (vertebrates)

  Class: Mammalia (mammals)

Order: Carnivora (carnivores)

Suborder: Feliformia (cat-like)

Family: Felidae (cats)

Subfamily: Felinae (small cats)

Genus: Puma

Species: Puma concolor (puma / cougar / mountain lion)


P.c. cougar
P.c. costaricensis

P.c. capricornensis
P.c. concolor
P.c. cabrerae
P.c. puma

Note: The scientific name for the Puma or Cougar or Mountain Lion species, Puma concolor, is also known as the binomial name, species name, latin name, biological name or zoological name. Some use the term 'botanical name' however that term is only applicable to the plant kingdom (botany) and not the animal kingdom (zoology).

Classification Chart

This Puma classification chart shows where the Puma / Mountain Lion / Cougar fits into the Felidae family within its own Puma genus.

Puma - Cougar - Mountain Lion (Puma concolor) Classification Diagram
Click chart to download.
Permission to use for personal or educational use.
Credit: www.wildcatfamily.com.

Subspecies (Lower Classifications)

Based on genetic studies referenced in the last taxonomic revision of Felidae in 2017, six subspecies of Pumas are recognized:

Puma concolor cougar - North America
Puma concolor costaricensis - Central America

Puma concolor capricornensis - South America - eastern
Puma concolor concolor - South America - northern
Puma concolor cabrerae - South America - central
Puma concolor puma - South America - southern


The global conservation status of Pumas is Least Concern (LC) although some subpopulations are considered threatened.

Pumas are widespread from Canada through North and Central America to South America, but have disappeared from many regions within this vast range due to persecution.

The following organizations are actively protecting the declining populations of Pumas. Projects include facilitating recolonization and dealing with new threats of road barriers and roadkill in built up areas in North America.

Felidae Conservation Fund - San Francisco Puma Project

Friends of the Florida Panther Refuge

Panthera - Puma Program: Yellowstone, California, Chile

Please support these organizations with their important work if you can. No matter the size of your contribution, every bit helps!

Past Projects:

Urban Carnivores - Mountain Lions Los Angeles


Female puma / cougar / mountain lion in habitat

Key Facts about Pumas

~ Plain coat - no spots / stripes ~

~ Vast range in W Hemisphere ~

~ Over 40 common names ~

Facts and Information

The adaptable Puma is also known as the Cougar, Mountain Lion, Panther and many other names. It is known as the wild cat with the most number of common names.

The following websites have well researched and authoritative information on pumas  / mountain lions / cougars:


Big Cat Documentary:

Preview The Secret Lives of Big Cats filmed using high tech starlight and thermal imaging night cameras to capture previously unrecorded behavior. The series includes seven episodes on the secret lives of Lions, Tigers, Jaguars, Leopards, Snow Leopards, Pumas and Cheetahs. Produced by CuriosityStream.

If you find this website useful, please consider a small contribution of $5 so I can continue to keep it updated. Thank you, Mandy 🙂


Here are some papers published on Pumas / Cougars / Mountain Lions. Click on the title bar to view the abstract and the link to the article.

View more articles on Puma concolor  in the IUCN Cat Specialist Group database (scroll down once the library page is loaded to see the list).

Consider joining the Friends of the Cat Specialist Group to access the full articles and receive their journal Cat News covering the latest wild cat research.