The scientific name for lions is Panthera leo. The genus Panthera is of Greek origin and comprises big cat species such as tigers, lions, jaguars, and leopards that have the ability to roar. Leo is the Latin word for lion.
There are two types of lion subspecies. One is named Panthera leo melanochaita and lives across South and East Africa. The second lion subspecies has the scientific name Panther Leo and lives in West Africa, Central Africa, and Asia.
You may see references to African and Asiatic lions. Up until 2017, there were two recognized subspecies, the African and Asiatic lions, but scientists reclassified lions that year. For more information on the types of lions see our full lion classification guide.
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