The jaguar (Panthera onca) is a big cat, a feline in the Panthera genus, and is the only extant Panthera species native to the Americas. The jaguar is the third-largest feline after the tiger and the lion, and the largest feline in the Americas.


A jaguar’s weight ranges between 77 to 285 pounds (35 to 130 kilograms). Generally, the males are heavier than the females. The jaguar’s body is stocky, compact and muscular. The length of the body varies from 5.5 to 7.9 feet (1.7 to 2.4 meters), with the tail being 20 to 26 inches (52 to 66 cm) of the jaguar’s length.

The jaguar plays an important part in the maintenance of equilibrium in the ecosystems where it lives by regulating population sizes of species such as peccaries, capybara, and caiman. Since the jaguar needs large, preserved areas to survive and reproduce, it is considered an umbrella species. By preserving the habitat needed for the jaguar to survive, all other species in the ecosystem benefit from the protection.

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