Cougar running courtesy of Webweavers clipart    "The Phantom Cat"" Cougar running courtesy of Webweavers clipart

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Domain- Eukarya

Kingdom- Animalia

Phylum- Chordata

Subphylum- Vertebrata

Class- Mammalia

Order- Carnivora

Family- Felidae

Subfamily- Felinae

Genus- Puma 

Species- Puma concolor

Photo used with permission from Dave Stiles


Classification Reason for classification
Eukarya The cougar is classified under the domain Eukarya because its cells have membrane-bound organelles and linear DNA enclosed within a nucleus.

The cougar is classified under the kingdom Animalia because it is multi-cellular, heterotrophic, and its cells lack cell walls.


The cougar can be classified under the phylum Chordata because of many reasons. First, a cougar is triploblastic, which means that there are three tissue types in the embryo eventually forming a coelom (fluid-filled cavity in the body). Organisms within the phylum Chordata have bilateral symmetry and are highly cephalized which are very obvious characteristics. Cougars also have segmented bodies and a complete digestive tract.


The cougar is classified under the subphylum vertebrata because it has a backbone.

Mammalia The cougar can be classified under the class Mammalia because it has a body covered with hair, it has glands, and it is homeothermic (it maintains a constant body temperature).

The cougar is classified under the Order Carnivora because it eats animals that consume other animals or plants.

Felidae The root of the word “feli” is derived from Latin and means cat. The cougar is classified under biological family of the cats because of its retractable claws, shortened jaw, and elongated upper and lower canine teeth.
Felinae The cougar is classified under the Subfamily Felinae which means “small cat” in Latin.

Contradictory to its classification under the Subfamily Felinae, the word Puma comes from the Incas and loosely translated means “magic mighty animal”.

Puma concolor As stated above, the cougar is termed from the Incas meaning “magic mighty animal” and concolor means “with one color” in Latin.


Photo used with permission from C.W.H.

The phylogenetic tree below is referenced from
Sequences in the Felidae: Ocelot and Domestic Cat Lineages, Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, December 1996 by Ryuichi Masuda, Jose V. Lopez, Jill Pecon Slattery, Naoya Yuhki and Stephen J. O’Brien. 20 species among the family Felidae and are illustrated in this tree.  Phylogenetic construction was done using cytochrome b mitochondrial DNA sequence distance data at maximum parsimony between the differing species of felids.     

Phylogenetic tree created by Amy Cory 


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