Caspian Tiger

The tiger subspecies Panthera tigris virgata is included in the subspecies Panthera tigris tigris, according to the new Felidae taxonomy. Panthera Tigris virgata is also known as the Caspian tiger, which their species are now extinct from the globe. This tiger is also known as the Persian tiger, Mongolian Tiger, Mazandaran tiger, and Turanian Tiger. This tiger is believed to be an extinct tiger subspecies that was last seen in the wild before the twentieth century. The species occupied the scarce woodland habitats and riverine corridors west and south of the Caspian Sea, from Turkey to Iran, and east across Central Asia into China’s Takla Makan desert. The Caspian tiger, along with the Siberian and Bengal tiger subspecies, was the world’s largest living felid and one of the world’s largest felids.

There was a doubt regarding the existence of numerous tiger subspecies and was questioned in 1999. Fur length and striping patterns, body size, and coloration were used to separate most generally considered subspecies reported in the 19th and 20th centuries, resulting in features that varied considerably across populations. Tigers from various places have similar morphologies, and gene flow between populations in those areas is thought to have been feasible during the Pleistocene. As a result, only two tiger subspecies can be considered valid, and they are tigris where they inhabit Mainland Asia and sondaica where they live in the Greater Sunda Islands.

Twenty tiger bone and tissue samples from museum collections were used in genetic investigations at the turn of the century, with at least one section of five mitochondrial genes sequenced. The results found that Caspian tigers have little mitochondrial DNA diversity and that Caspian and Siberian tigers are extremely similar, indicating that the Siberian tiger is the Caspian tiger’s genetically closest living relative. The common ancestor of Caspian and Siberian tigers reached Central Asia through the Gansu Silk Road region from eastern China fewer than 10,000 years ago, and then went eastward to form the Siberian tiger population in the Russian Far East, according to a phylogeographic study. Until the early 19th century, the Caspian and Siberian tigers were most likely one continuous population, but fragmentation and habitat loss during the Industrial Revolution separated them.

All possible tiger subspecies’ morphological, ecological, and molecular features were examined in a combined manner in 2015. The findings confirm the separation of the two evolutionary groups of tigers: continental and Sunda. The scientific name tigris, which includes the Bengal, Malayan, Indochinese, South Chinese, Siberian, and Caspian tiger populations, and the scientific name sondaica, which includes the Javan, Bali, and Sumatran tiger populations, was recommended as the only two subspecies recognized by the authors. Tiger populations in mainland Asia are divided into two groups: a northern clade made up of Caspian and Siberian tigers, and a southern clade made up of populations from the rest of the continent.

The Cat Specialist Group changed felid taxonomy in 2017, and the tiger populations in continental Asia are now classified as the scientific name tigris. However, a genomic analysis released in 2018 validated the conventional view of six extant subspecies, with the Amur and Caspian tigers being unique from other mainland Asian populations.

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