11×15 watercolor, watercolor pencils and Derwent Inktense pencils on cold press watercolor paper. Original available.
Bubbling Artists; Welcome to the Jungle;
There had been debate over whether to classify this species as Lynx rufus or Felis rufus as part of a wider issue regarding whether the four species of Lynx should be given their own genus, or be placed as a subgenus of Felis. The Lynx genus is now accepted, and the bobcat is listed as Lynx rufus in modern taxonomic sources.
Johnson et al. reported Lynx shared a clade with the puma, leopard cat (Prionailurus), and domestic cat (Felis) lineages, dated to 7.15 million years ago (mya); Lynx diverged first, approximately 3.24 mya.
The bobcat is believed to have evolved from the Eurasian lynx, which crossed into North America by way of the Bering Land Bridge during the Pleistocene, with progenitors arriving as early as 2.6 mya. The first wave moved into the southern portion of North America, which was soon cut off from the north by glaciers. This population evolved into modern bobcats around 20,000 years ago. A second population arrived from Asia and settled in the north, developing into the modern Canada lynx. Hybridization between the bobcat and the Canada lynx may sometimes occur.
Thirteen bobcat subspecies are currently recognized:
L. rufus rufus (Schreber) – eastern and midwestern United States
L. rufus gigas (Bangs) – northern New York to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick
L. rufus floridanus (Rafinesque) – southeastern United States and inland to the Mississippi valley, up to southwestern Missouri and southern Illinois
L. rufus superiorensis (Peterson & Downing) – western Great Lakes area, including upper Michigan, Wisconsin, southern Ontario, and most of Minnesota
L. rufus baileyi (Merriam) – southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico
L. rufus californicus (Mearns) – California west of the Sierra Nevada
L. rufus mohavensis (B.Anderson) – Mojave Desert of California
L. rufus escuinipae (J. A. Allen) – central Mexico, with a northern extension along the west coast to southern Sonora
L. rufus fasciatus (Rafinesque) – Oregon, Washington west of the Cascade Range, northwestern California, and southwestern British Columbia
L. rufus oaxacensis (Goodwin) – Oaxaca
L. rufus pallescens (Merriam) – northwestern United States and southern British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan
L. rufus peninsularis (Thomas) – Baja California
L. rufus texensis (Mearns) – western Louisiana, Texas, south central Oklahoma, and south into Tamaulipas, Nuevo León, and Coahuila.
The subspecies division has been challenged, given a lack of clear geographic breaks in their ranges and the minor differences between subspecies.