[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) infects domestic cats and at least 20 additional species of non-domestic felids throughout the world. Strains specific to domestic cat (FIV(Fca)) produce AIDS-like disease progression, sequelae and pathology providing an informative model for HIV infection in humans. Less is known about the immunological and pathological influence of FIV in other felid species although multiple distinct strains of FIV circulate in natural populations. As in HIV-1 and HIV-2, multiple diverse cross-species infections may have occurred. In the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania, three divergent subtypes of lion FIV (FIV(Ple)) are endemic, whereby 100% of adult lions are infected with one or more of these strains. Herein, the relative distribution of these subtypes in the population are surveyed and, combined with observed differences in lion mortality due to secondary infections based on FIV(Ple) subtypes, the data suggest that FIV(Ple) subtypes may have different patterns of pathogenicity and transmissibility among wild lion populations.