Pronunciation: (pan'du), [key]
1. Also called giant panda. a white-and-black, bearlike mammal, Ailuropoda melanoleuca, now rare and restricted to forest areas of central China containing stands of bamboo, on which it mainly subsists: formerly placed with the raccoon family but now classified as a bear subfamily, Ailuropodinae, or as the sole member of a separate family, Ailuropodidae, which diverged from an ancestral bear lineage.
2. Also called lesser panda. a reddish-brown, raccoonlike mammal, Ailurus fulgens, of mountain forests in the Himalayas and adjacent eastern Asia, subsisting mainly on bamboo and other vegetation, fruits, and insects, and reduced in numbers by collectors: now considered unrelated to the giant panda and usually classified as the sole member of an Old World raccoon subfamily, Ailurinae, which diverged from an ancestral lineage that also gave rise to the New World raccoons.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.