- The jaguar (Panthera onca) is a large felid species and the only extant member of the genus Panthera native to the Americas.
- The jaguar's present range extends from Southwestern United States and Mexico in North America, across much of Central America, and south to Paraguay and northern Argentina in South America.
- The genus Panthera probably evolved in Asia between six and ten million years ago. Its immediate ancestor was Panthera onca augusta, which was larger than the contemporary jaguar.
- Though there are single cats now living within the Western United States, the species has largely been extirpated from the United States since the early 20th century.
- It is listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List; and its numbers are declining. Threats include loss and fragmentation of habitat.
- Overall, the jaguar is the largest native cat species of the New World and the third largest in the world.
- It ranges across a variety of forested and open terrains, but its preferred habitat is tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forest, swamps and wooded regions.
- The jaguar enjoys swimming and is largely a solitary, opportunistic, stalk-and-ambush predator at the top of the food chain. As a keystone species it plays an important role in stabilizing ecosystems and regulating prey populations.
- While international trade in jaguars or their body parts is prohibited, the cat is still frequently killed, particularly in conflicts with ranchers and farmers in South America.
- Given its historical distribution, the jaguar has featured prominently in the mythology of numerous indigenous American cultures, including those of the Maya and Aztec.