Tigons, ligers, leguars, and jagupards, oh my!

By Razib Khan | March 7, 2012 11:39 pm

The recent publicity around the gorilla genome highlighted to me that eastern and western gorilla lineages seem to have diverged ~1 million years ago. In the process of trying to figure out hybridity I stumbled upon this matrix from Wikipedia on panthera hybrids:

Lion ♀ Tiger ♀ Jaguar ♀ Leopard ♀
Lion Mars symbol.svg Lion Liger Liguar Lipard
Tiger Mars symbol.svg Tigon Tiger Tiguar Tigard
Jaguar Mars symbol.svg Jaglion Jagger Jaguar Jagupard
Leopard Mars symbol.svg Leopon Dogla Leguar Leopard

The links will take you where you need to go. Unleash the 10 year old within!

Image credit: Wikipedia

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Genetics, Genomics
MORE ABOUT: Genetics, Genomics
  • http://econstudentlog.wordpress.com US

    This is the kind of stuff that would make any 10 year old child* become aware of the fact – notice how I’m not using the word ‘think’ here? – that biology/genetics is just plain cool. This is of course coming from someone who’s not working in the field. So why did I never even hear about ligers and tigons until I was well into my 20’es? If only stuff like this were included in the biology curricula early on, …

    I had never heard about jagupards or leopons. Awesome!

    (*or really, anyone…)

  • Jason Malloy

    Here’s something I posted on backchannel in 2009:

    I propose that, while a house cat/tiger hybrid is unlikely, there may be as
    little as two degrees of reproductive separation between them.

    I don’t know how important size matching is for successful crossing, but if a 30
    lb ocelot can interbreed with a 100+ lb cougar, then a 25+ lb domestic cat from
    the same closely related sub-family probably could too. In fact, they may be
    even more compatible since the ocelot has 36 chromosomes and the cougar has 38,
    while the domestic cat and the cougar both share 38 chromosomes.

    Also, while all the leopard/tiger crosses were still-born, so were most of the
    cougar/ocelot attempts. So it’s still possible.

    So, speculatively:

    1) The domestic cat (9-11 lbs) can interbreed with the puma (115-198 lbs)

    2) The puma (115-198 lbs) can interbreed with the leopard (82-200 lbs)

    3) The leopard (82-200 lbs) can interbreed with the tiger (300-600 lbs)

    In fact there are plausible rumors of puma-jaguar and puma-tiger mixes too, so
    pumas may just be mostly interfertile with both the small cat (Felinae) and big
    cat (Pantherinae) sub-families, which would mean there was only one degree of
    reproductive separation between house cats and tigers.

  • http://www.scribd.com/doc/74944514/ Robert Dole

    “The female of jagulep or lepjag are fertile, and when one of them is mated to a male lion, the offspring are referred to as lijaguleps.”

    Holy shit nature…

  • dave chamberlin

    The fool in me really wants a gaurd cat. A domestic cat hybrid that weighs in at 50 pounds plus. Even if it depopulated the wildlife in a half mile radius around my house the look on visitors faces would make it almost worth it. Almost. If these critters can be bred then all kinds of fools in this world will want to own them. Drug dealers alone would snap them up like crazy, dropping off their out of fashion pit bulls off at the pound. Even as we speak you just know some enterprising nitwit out there is trying to artificially inseminate a female cougar with house cat sperm. Typically in other successful hybrids the female is the larger of the two.

  • stillwaggon

    The idea of having a big cat around the house, even if one parent was a ‘house’ cat, is frightening. I don’t consider a house cat a domestic animal in the sense that a dog is a domestic animal. No doubt you know the saying: Dogs have owners, cats have staff.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp Razib Khan

    #5, cat romney: “i don’t know about you, but i like to be able to eat people [when they don’t attend to my needs].”

  • Eric

    Anyone happen to have a study showing FST between big cats?

  • Lassi Hippeläinen

    dave chamberlin: “The fool in me really wants a gaurd cat. A domestic cat hybrid that weighs in at 50 pounds plus.”

    It’s called a lynx.

  • e.d.

    There are domestic cat – serval cat crosses available as exotic pets


  • http://ahcuah.wordpress.com/ Ahcuah

    I want to see a similar chart with chimpumans, orangillas, guernobos, and humibbons.

  • ackbark


    possums + platypusses = possypusses

    imagine the face on that thing!


Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

Gene Expression

This blog is about evolution, genetics, genomics and their interstices. Please beware that comments are aggressively moderated. Uncivil or churlish comments will likely get you banned immediately, so make any contribution count!

About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at http://www.razib.com


See More


RSS Razib’s Pinboard

Edifying books

Collapse bottom bar