Taxonomic revision of the tigrina Leopardus tigrinus (Schreber, 1775) species group (Carnivora, Felidae)

  • Fabio Oliveira do Nascimento Universidade de São Paulo (USP) Museu de Zoologia (MZUSP) Mastozoologia
  • Anderson Feijó Universidade Federal da Paraíba (UFPB) Campus I Centro de Ciências Exatas da Natureza (CCEN) Departamento de Sistemática e Ecologia, Laboratório de Mamíferos
Keywords: Leopardus tigrinus, L. guttulus, L. emiliae, Subspecies, Morphological variation


The tigrina Leopardus tigrinus (Schreber, 1775) is a small-sized Neotropical spotted cat found from northern Argentina and southern Brazil to Costa Rica. Four subspecies are traditionally recognized: L. t. tigrinus (Schreber, 1775) from northern Brazil, the Guianas and eastern Venezuela; L. t. pardinoides (Gray, 1867) from western Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru; L. t. guttulus (Hensel, 1872) from southern Brazil, Paraguay and northern Argentina; and L. t. oncillus (Thomas, 1903) from Costa Rica. We studied external and craniodental morphology in quantitative and qualitative terms from 250 specimens in order to clarify the taxonomic status of tigrina. Based on the characters analyzed in this study, we recognize three diagnosable morphogroups, each with a distinct geographic distribution: northern/northwestern/west (samples from northern Brazil, the Guianas, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, northwestern Argentina and Costa Rica), eastern (samples from northeastern and central Brazil), and southern (samples from southern Brazil, Paraguay and northeastern Argentina). Taking into account the morphologic evidence presented here, supported by biogeographic data and molecular studies available, we recognize three full species for tigrinas: L. tigrinus (including the putative subspecies L. t. pardinoides and L. t. oncillus as junior synonyms) for northern/northwestern/west group; L. emiliae (Thomas, 1914) for eastern group; and L. guttulus for southern group.


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Author Biographies

Fabio Oliveira do Nascimento, Universidade de São Paulo (USP) Museu de Zoologia (MZUSP) Mastozoologia

Avenida Nazaré, 481
CEP 04263‑000, São Paulo, SP, Brasil

Anderson Feijó, Universidade Federal da Paraíba (UFPB) Campus I Centro de Ciências Exatas da Natureza (CCEN) Departamento de Sistemática e Ecologia, Laboratório de Mamíferos

Jardim Universitário, s/nº, Castelo Branco
CEP 58051‑900, João Pessoa, PB, Brasil


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How to Cite
Nascimento, F., & Feijó, A. (2017). Taxonomic revision of the tigrina Leopardus tigrinus (Schreber, 1775) species group (Carnivora, Felidae). Papéis Avulsos De Zoologia, 57(19), 231-264.
Original Article