Ligre and tigón: what are they and differences - Get to know them!

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Big cats are, without a doubt, one of the most surprising groups of animals in the animal kingdom, both for their imposing physical characteristics and their predatory techniques. Both lionsPanthera leo), like tigers (Panthera tigris) and leopards (Panthera pardus), they have something more in common than being known as big cats: the possibility of interbreeding with each other (males and females of the three species) giving rise to a hybrid offspring.

Hybrid descendants of these best-known big cats include the liger, the tiger, and the lion. Could you distinguish them from each other and guess which species are the progenitors of each of them? Continue reading this interesting article by Ecologist Verde, in which we focus on the two best known, and thus you will get to know more closely what are the lígre and the tigón and their differences.

What is a liger

As we can imagine from their name, ligers are animals whose parents are lions (Panthera leo) and tigers (Panthera tigris), male and female, respectively. That is to say, the parents are he lion and she tigress.

These curious felines, known in the field of zoology as hybrid animals (because they have parents of different species), have very peculiar characteristics that make them one of the strangest animals on the planet. Let's see in detail the main liger characteristics to learn more about it:

  • Among the most outstanding physical characteristics of the liger we find its surprising dimensions and imposing size. Due to the absence of growth inhibitory genes, the liger weight It can reach up to 400 kg and can measure up to 4 meters in height, being the largest feline in existence! The curious absence of these growth-inhibiting genes is due to the fact that the genes are transmitted through the paternal route in the case of tigers and maternally in the case of lions, so that the ligers have an overgrowth o giantism, since they do not inherit these genes as they are the product of the crossing of a lion (male, non-carrier) and a tigress (female, non-carrier).
  • As a consequence of their overgrowth, ligers usually develop malformations since the trunk is heavier than the extremities, a fact that causes them a constant overexertion to move and that tends to reduce the life expectancy of the animal.
  • The physical appearance of ligers resembles that of a lion or a giant lioness with faded stripes in their fur, inherited from the parent tigress.

What is a tigon

The tigon is also one of the most well-known and curious hybrid cats on the planet. Your parents, Tiger (Panthera tigris) male and lioness (Panthera leo) femaleare responsible for the physical appearance of the tiger hybrid, which resembles a tiger due to the stripes on its fur, although the anatomy of the head is more similar to that of lionesses.

To discover more tigon characteristics, we must first know what role growth inhibitor genes play in this other hybrid. Well, contrary to what happens in ligers, the genetic material of tigons has double growth inhibitor genes, which it inherits from both parents, since, as we mentioned in the previous section, these genes are transmitted via paternal in the case of tigers and maternal in lionesses. So, to know how long is a tigon the answer is based on the limited growth of these hybrid animals, whose dimensions are always smaller than those of their parents.

Therefore, the weight of the tigon does not exceed 180kg, with a more lanky body, with a less bulky trunk than its parents, but with longer limbs that give it a certain stylized feature.

Image: Pinterest

Differences between liger and tigon

From the detailed information that we have been seeing throughout the article about the characteristics of these two felines, would you be able to answer the curious question about:what is bigger a tigon or a liger? It would be enough to recall the character of gigantism of ligers to confirm that these are much larger than tigons, due to … the lack of growth genes that allow them to increase their size! up to double compared to their parents!

Other characteristics that allow them to be easily differentiated are:

  • The parents are not the same: the male parents are lion in the case of the liger and tiger in the case of the tigon and, on the other hand, the female parents are tigress in ligers and lioness in tigons.
  • There are fewer individuals of tigons than of ligrones, for the simple fact that the breeding of ligrones is encouraged for the exhibition of them in circuses and zoos, something that without a doubt, is far from the civic and responsible conservation of the species animals.

Similarities between liger and tigon

To finish, we are going to comment on the similarities between these closely related species:

  • As we have learned throughout this article, the main similarity that ligers and tigons share is that they are both hybrid animals whose existence is fostered by humansIn other words, for these big cats to exist, the crossing of different species must be forced (artificially, under human intervention).
  • The main reason for this artificial crossing is due to the fact that the parents of both hybrid felines do not share natural habitat: lions live on the African continent and tigers, on the other hand, in Asia. Thus arriving at a new similarity between the two: the life in captivity.
  • Furthermore, tigons and ligers share the genetic trait of be sterile, since they cannot leave offspring as they do not have a suitable genetic material for it. This biological complexity goes beyond the capacity of the physical crossing between male and female hybrids, because even if the dome takes place, fertilization and subsequent creation of fertile offspring is not biologically possible.

Now that you know all this about ligers and tigons, you can learn much more about their group by reading this other post about the Types of felines, their characteristics and examples. Also, in this other post you can meet the White Tiger.

If you want to read more articles similar to Ligre and tigón: what are they and differences, we recommend that you enter our category of Animal Curiosities.

  • Dorado, O. & Rangel, G. (2016) Hybridization in nature. Science narratives. From the series Things Shoving (II), pp: 64-65.
  • Patel, R.K. (2014) Hybrid animals: an interesting update. The Blue Cross Book (30), pp: 96-97.
  • Writing team (02/08/2017) New liger hatchlings, the giant species that shouldn't exist. OkDiario digital newspaper: curiosities. Recovered from:
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