Ursus (genus)

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Temporal range: PlioceneHolocene, 5.333–0 Ma
TE-Collage Ursus.png
From top to bottom: brown bear, American black bear, polar bear, Asian black bear.
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Suborder: Caniformia
Family: Ursidae
Subfamily: Ursinae
Tribe: Ursini
Genus: Ursus
Linnaeus, 1758[1][2]
Ursus arctos
Ursus americanus
Ursus maritimus
Ursus thibetanus
Ursus spelaeus

Ursus is a genus in the family Ursidae (bears) that includes the widely distributed brown bears,[3] the polar bear,[4] and black bears. The name is derived from the Latin ursus, meaning bear.[5][6]

Species and subspecies of Ursus

Extant Species

Image & Scientific name Sub-species Common Name Distribution
Canadian Rockies - the bear at Lake Louise.jpg
Ursus americanus (earlier Euarctos americanus)
  • U. a. altifrontalis – Olympic black bear
  • U. a. amblyceps – New Mexico black bear
  • U. a. americanus – Eastern black bear
  • U. a. californiensis – California black bear
  • U. a. carlottae – Haida Gwaii black bear or Queen Charlotte Islands black bear
  • U. a. cinnamomumcinnamon bear
  • U. a. emmonsiiglacier bear
  • U. a. eremicus – desert black bear
  • U. a. floridanusFlorida black bear
  • U. a. hamiltoniNewfoundland black bear
  • U. a. kermodei – Kermode bear or spirit bear
  • U. a. luteolusLouisiana black bear
  • U. a. machetes – Mexican black bear
  • U. a. perniger – Kenai black bear
  • U. a. pugnax – Dall black bear
  • U. a. vancouveri – Vancouver Island black bear
American black bear American Southwest and Mexico
Medved h.jpg
Ursus arctos
Brown bear Russia, Central Asia, China, Canada, the United States (mostly Alaska), Scandinavia, and the Carpathian region (especially Romania), Anatolia, and Caucasus
Ursus maritimus (earlier Thalarctos maritimus)
Polar bear Arctic Circle and adjacent land masses as far south as Newfoundland.
Asian Black Bear Ursus thibetanus by Dr. Raju Kasambe 01.jpg
Ursus thibetanus (earlier Selenarctos thibetanus)
Asian black bear Indian subcontinent, Korea, northeastern China, the Russian Far East, the Honshū and Shikoku islands of Japan, and Taiwan

A hybrid between grizzly bears and polar bears has also been recorded. Known commonly as a pizzly, prizzly, or grolar bear, the official name is simply "grizzly–polar bear hybrid".



  1. ^ http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Ursus/classification/
  2. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20131224202903/http://www.departments.bucknell.edu/biology/resources/msw3/browse.asp?id=14000952
  3. ^ http://library.sandiegozoo.org/factsheets/brown_bear/brown_bear.html
  4. ^ http://library.sandiegozoo.org/factsheets/polar_bear/polar.htm
  5. ^ http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ursus
  6. ^ http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/ursus

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