Bear Scientific Names

  • Brown bears (Ursus arctos)-are among the largest living carnivores on the planet
  • Kodiak bears (Ursus arctos middendorff) -different subspecies of the brown bear
  • grizzlies (Ursus arctos horribilis) -different subspecies of the brown bear ,Grizzly bears are the more common of the subspecies and are sometimes listed interchangeably with brown bears.
  • polar bear (Ursus maritimus) is a carnivorous bear whose native range lies largely within the Arctic Circle,
  • American black bear (Ursus americanus) is a medium-sized bear native to North America.The American black bear is the world’s most common bear species

American black bear sub-species

Sub-species name Common name Distribution Description
Ursus americanus altifrontalis Olympic black bear Pacific Northwest coast from central British Columbia through northern California and inland to the tip of northern Idaho and British Columbia
Ursus americanus amblyceps New Mexico black bear Native to Colorado, New Mexico, west Texas, the eastern half of Arizona into northern Mexico, and southeastern Utah
Ursus americanus americanus Eastern black bear Eastern Montana to the Atlantic coast, from Alaska south and east through Canada to Maine and south to Texas. Thought to be increasing in some regions. Common to Eastern Canada and U.S. wherever suitable habitat is found. A large-bodied subspecies, almost all specimens have black fur. May very rarely sport a white blaze on chest.
Ursus americanus californiensis California black bear Mountain ranges of southern California, north through the Central Valley to southern Oregon Able to live in varied climates: found in temperate rainforest in the north and chaparral shrubland in the south. Small numbers may feature a cinnamon brown fur.
Ursus americanus carlottae Haida Gwaii black bear, Queen Charlotte black bear Haida Gwaii/Queen Charlotte Islands and Alaska Generally larger than its mainland counterparts with a huge skull and molars, and is found only as a black color phase
Ursus americanus cinnamomum Cinnamon bear Colorado, Idaho, western Montana, and Wyoming, eastern Washington and Oregon, northeastern Utah Has brown or red-brown fur, reminiscent of cinnamon
Ursus americanus emmonsii Glacier bear Southeast Alaska. Stable. Distinguished by the fur of its flanks being silvery gray with a blue luster
Ursus americanus eremicus Mexican black bear Northeastern Mexico and US borderlands with Texas. Very endangered. Most often found in Big Bend National Park and the desert border with Mexico. Numbers unknown in Mexico, but presumed very low.
Ursus americanus floridanus Florida black bear Florida, southern Georgia, and Alabama Has a light brown nose and shiny black fur. A white chest patch is also common. An average male weighs 136 kg (300 lb).
Ursus americanus hamiltoni Newfoundland black bear Newfoundland Generally bigger than its mainland relatives, ranging in size from 90 to 270 kg (200 to 600 lb) and averaging 135 kg (298 lb). It has one of the longest hibernation periods of any bear in North America.Known to favor foraging in fields of Vaccinium species.
Ursus americanus kermodei Kermode bear, spirit bear Central coast of British Columbia Approximately 10% of the population of this subspecies have white or cream-colored coats due to a recessive gene and are called “kermodes” or “spirit bears”. The other 90% appear as normal-colored black bears.
Ursus americanus luteolus Louisiana black bear Eastern Texas, Louisiana, southern Mississippi. Threatened (federal list). Has relatively long, narrow, and flat skull, and proportionately large molars Prefers hardwood bottom forests and bayous as habitat
Ursus americanus machetes West Mexico black bear North-central Mexico
Ursus americanus perniger Kenai black bear Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
Ursus americanus pugnax Dall black bear Alexander Archipelago, Alaska
Ursus americanus vancouveri Vancouver Island black bear Vancouver Island, British Columbia Found in the northern section of the island, but occasionally will appear in the suburbs of Victoria metropolitan area
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