Panthera tigris amoyensis is believed by some scientists to be a relict population of the ancestor from which all other tigers evolved - the ‘stem’ tiger.
8 subspecies of tiger have traditionally been recognised on the basis of:
The Bali, Caspian and Javan subspecies are extinct.
The South China tiger is one of the smallest tiger subspecies.
This has been used to distinguish different tiger subspecies, although there are strong similarities between P. t. tigris and P t. corbetti, and some overlap of P. t. corbetti and P. t. sumatrae.
P. t. amoyensis has distinctive primitive skull morphology including:
The South China tiger has a similar coat color to other Asian tigers. Its short, broad stripes are spaced far apart compared to those of Bengal and Siberian tigers.