Aonyx is a genus of otters, containing only one species, the African clawless otter, and two well-known subspecies, the Cape clawless otter and the Cameroon clawless otter. Sometimes also the Oriental small-clawed otter, Amblonyx cinerea is counted in this genus. The word aonyx means "clawless", derived from the prefix a- ("without") and onyx ("claw/hoof").

Zagreb Zoo small-clawed otter 01
Aonyx cinerea
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Mustelidae
Subfamily: Lutrinae
Genus: Aonyx
Lesson, 1827[2]
Type species
Lutra capensis[a]
Schinz, 1821

Species and some subspecies

Zoologists differ as to whether or not to include the Asian small-clawed otter in this genus or in its own genus Amblonyx.[10][11] They also differ as to whether the Congo clawless otter is its own species or conspecific with the African clawless otter.[12][13]


  1. ^ Type species by subsequent designation (Palmer 1904).[1]


  1. ^ a b c Wozencraft, W.C. (2005). "Genus Aonyx". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 601–602. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  2. ^ Lesson, Réné-Primeverre (1827). "XCIIe Genre. Aonyx, Aonyx". Manuel de mammalogie, ou histoire naturelle des mammifères. Paris: Roret. p. 157. BHL page 54207625.
  3. ^ Palmer, T. S. (1904). Index generum mammalium. North American Fauna. 23. Washington: Government Printing Office. pp. 111, 830. doi:10.5962/bhl.title.39809.
  4. ^ Rafinesque, C. S. (1832). "Description of a New Otter, Lutra Concolor from Assam in Asia". Atlantic Journal and Friend of Knowledge. 1 (2): 62. BHL page 33519569.
  5. ^ Murray, Andrew (1860). "Contributions to the Fauna of Old Calabar—Mammals". Proceedings of the Royal Physical Society of Edinburgh. 2: 156–159.
  6. ^ Agassiz, L. (1846). Nomenclatoris Zoologici: Index Universalis. Solodurum: Jent et Gassmann. pp. 24, 27.
  7. ^ Lesson, R. P. (1842). "S.-Genre: Leptonyx, Less.". Nouveau Tableau du Règne Animal: Mammifères. Paris: Arthus Bertrand. p. 72.
  8. ^ Allen, J. A. (1919). "Preliminary Notes on African Carnivora". Journal of Mammalogy. 1 (1): 23–31. doi:10.1093/jmammal/1.1.23. JSTOR 1373716.
  9. ^ Hinton, Martin A.C. (1921). "Paraonyx, a new genus of clawless otter discovered by Capt. J. E. Philipps, M.C., in Central Africa". The Annals and Magazine of Natural History. Ser. 9. 7 (38): 194–200. doi:10.1080/00222932108632510.
  10. ^ Larivière, Serge (2003). "Amblonyx cinereus". Mammalian Species. 720: 1–5. doi:10.1644/0.720.1. JSTOR 3504404.
  11. ^ Srinivasulu, Chelmala; Srinivasulu, Bhargavi (2012). "Genus Aonyx Lesson, 1827". South Asian Mammals: Their Diversity, Distribution, and Status. New York: Springer. p. 310. doi:10.1007/978-1-4614-3449-8_3.
  12. ^ Nel, Jan A. J.; Somers, Michael J. (2013). "Genus Aonyx: Clawless Otters". In Kingdon, Jonathan; Hoffmann, Michael. Carnivores, Pangolins, Equids and Rhinoceroses. Mammals of Africa. 5. London: Bloomsbury. p. 103. ISBN 978-1-4081-2255-6.
    • Somers, Michael J.; Nel, Jan A. J. (2013). "Aonyx capensis African Clawless Otter". In Kingdon, Jonathan; Hoffmann, Michael. Carnivores, Pangolins, Equids and Rhinoceroses. Mammals of Africa. 5. London: Bloomsbury. pp. 104–108. ISBN 978-1-4081-2255-6.
    • Jacqeus, Hélène; Parnell, Richard; Alary, Franck (2013). "Aonyx congicus Congo Clawless Otter". In Kingdon, Jonathan; Hoffmann, Michael. Carnivores, Pangolins, Equids and Rhinoceroses. Mammals of Africa. 5. London: Bloomsbury. pp. 108–110. ISBN 978-1-4081-2255-6.
  13. ^

External links

African clawless otter

The African clawless otter (Aonyx capensis), also known as the Cape clawless otter or groot otter, is the second-largest freshwater species of otter. African clawless otters are found near permanent bodies of water in savannah and lowland forest areas. They range through most of sub-Saharan Africa, except for the Congo River basin and arid areas.

They are characterized by partly webbed and clawless feet, from which their name is derived.

Aonyx capensis capensis

The Cape clawless otter (Aonyx capensis capensis), sub-species of (A. capensis) or generally referred to as African clawless otter is found in Sub-Saharan Africa near permanent bodies of freshwater or can be seen to occupy along the sea coast (2). The Cape clawless otter is the largest of the Old World otters and the 3rd largest of all the otters after the giant otter (Pteronura brasiliensis) and the sea otter (Enhydra lutris).


The genus Arctocephalus consists of fur seals. Arctocephalus translates to "bear head."

Asian small-clawed otter

The Asian small-clawed otter (Amblonyx cinerea, syn. Aonyx cinereus), also known as the oriental small-clawed otter or simply small-clawed otter, is a semiaquatic mammal native to South and Southeast Asia. It is a member of the otter subfamily (Lutrinae) of the weasel family (Mustelidae), and is the smallest otter species in the world. Its paws are a distinctive feature; its claws do not extend beyond the fleshy end pads of its partially webbed fingers and toes. This gives it a high degree of manual dexterity so that it can use its paws to feed on molluscs, crabs and other small aquatic animals.

The Asian small-clawed otter inhabits mangrove swamps and freshwater wetlands in South and Southeast Asia. It lives in extended family groups with only the alpha pair breeding; offspring from previous years help to raise the young. Due to ongoing habitat loss, pollution, and hunting in some areas, it is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.

Asiatic linsang

The Asiatic linsang (Prionodon) is a genus comprising two species native to Southeast Asia: the banded linsang (Prionodon linsang) and the spotted linsang (Prionodon pardicolor). Prionodon is considered a sister taxon of the Felidae.

Cameroon clawless otter

The Cameroon clawless otter (Aonyx capensis congicus) is a subspecies of the African clawless otter in the family Mustelidae. It is found in Cameroon, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, and possibly Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria, Rwanda, or Uganda. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forest, subtropical or tropical mangrove forest, subtropical or tropical swamps, subtropical or tropical moist montane forest, subtropical or tropical moist shrubland, subtropical or tropical seasonally wet or flooded lowland grassland, rivers, intermittent rivers, shrub-dominated wetlands, swamps, freshwater lakes, intermittent freshwater lakes, freshwater marshes, intermittent freshwater marshes, freshwater spring, inland deltas, saline lakes, intermittent saline lakes, saline marshes, intermittent saline marshes, shallow seas, subtidal aquatic beds, rocky shores, sandy shores, estuarine waters, intertidal flats, intertidal marshes, coastal saline lagoons, coastal freshwater lagoons, water storage areas, ponds, aquaculture ponds, seasonally flooded agricultural land, and canals and ditches. It is threatened by habitat loss.

Very little is known about this species. It is a large otter and found only in the mid-part of Africa, in the tropical belt. It is believed to spend much more time on land than other otters. Congo clawless otters are one of 13 species of otters in the carnivore family Mustelidae. Other members of this family include weasels, wolverines, and ferrets. An individual otter maintains a territory. Otters mark their territories with scent, and fervently patrol and defend their territories.


Cyrnaonyx is an extinct genus of Lutrinae, otters from the Pleistocene. It was originally described by Helbing based on materials from France and he also attributed material from Corse to it. The latter appeared to belong to another species and genus, Algarolutra majori. The only species of Cyrnaonyx is C. antiqua. It is known from the Pleistocene (Holsteinian to Eemian/Weichselian) of Europe: France, Germany, Netherlands, Southern England and probably Italy.

The dentition is more robust than in the common otter Lutra and the diet probably consisted of more crustaceans and less fish, like in modern Aonyx. The skull was however not arched as in the latter which points to a more aquatic, swimming behaviour.


Lutrogale is a genus of otters, with only one extant species—the smooth-coated otter.


The Mustelidae (; from Latin mustela, weasel) are a family of carnivorous mammals, including weasels, badgers, otters, ferrets, martens, mink, and wolverines, among others. Mustelids are diverse and the largest family in the order Carnivora, suborder Caniformia. Mustelidae comprises about 56-60 species across eight subfamilies.


Mustelinae is a subfamily of family Mustelidae, which includes weasels, ferrets amd minks.It was formerly defined in a paraphyletic manner to also include wolverines, martens, and many other mustelids, to the exclusion of the otters (Lutrinae).


Otters are carnivorous mammals in the subfamily Lutrinae. The 13 extant otter species are all semiaquatic, aquatic or marine, with diets based on fish and invertebrates. Lutrinae is a branch of the weasel family Mustelidae, which also includes badgers, honey badgers, martens, minks, polecats, and wolverines.


Paradoxurus is a genus within the viverrid family that was denominated and first described by Frédéric Cuvier in 1822. As of 2005, this genus was defined as comprising three species native to Southeast Asia:

the Asian palm civet (P. hermaphroditus)

the golden palm civet (P. zeylonensis)

the brown palm civet (P. jerdoni)In 2009, it was proposed to also include the golden wet-zone palm civet (P. aureus), the Sri Lankan brown palm civet (P. montanus) and the golden dry-zone palm civet (P. stenocephalus), which are endemic to Sri Lanka.

Patagonian weasel

The Patagonian weasel (Lyncodon patagonicus) is a small mustelid that is the only member of the genus Lyncodon. Its geographic range is the Pampas of western Argentina and sections of Chile. An early mention of the animal is in the Journal of Syms Covington, who sailed with Charles Darwin on his epic voyage aboard HMS Beagle.

River Gambia National Park

River Gambia National Park is a national park in the Gambia.

Sea mink

The sea mink (Neovison macrodon) is a recently extinct species of mink that lived on the eastern coast of North America in the family Mustelidae, the largest family in the order Carnivora. It was most closely related to the American mink (Neovison vison), with debate about whether or not the sea mink should be considered a subspecies of the American mink (making it Neovison vison macrodon) or a species of its own. The main justification for a separate species designation is the size difference between the two minks, but other distinctions have been made, such as its redder fur. The only known remains are fragments unearthed in Native American shell middens. Its actual size is speculative, based largely on tooth-remains.

The sea mink was first described in 1903, after its extinction; information regarding its external appearance and habits stem from speculation and from accounts made by fur traders and Native Americans. It may have exhibited behavior similar to the American mink, in that it probably maintained home ranges, was polygynandrous, and had a similar diet, though more seaward-oriented. It was probably found on the New England coast and the Maritime Provinces, though its range may have stretched further south during the last glacial period. Conversely, its range may have been restricted solely to the New England coast, specifically the Gulf of Maine, or just to nearby islands. The largest of the minks, the sea mink was more desirable to fur traders and became extinct in the late 19th or early 20th century.

Smooth-coated otter

The smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata) is an otter species occurring in most of the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, with a disjunct population in Iraq. As its name indicates, the fur of this species is smoother and shorter than that of other otter species.

Spotted-necked otter

The spotted-necked otter (Hydrictis maculicollis), or speckle-throated otter, is an otter native to sub-Saharan Africa.

Extant Carnivora species

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