Black mongoose

The black mongoose (Galerella nigrata) is a species of mongoose found in Namibia and Angola. Although originally described as a separate species by Thomas (1928),[1] it was often been considered a subspecies of the slender mongoose. However, genetic analysis has confirmed its status as a separate species.[2] Evidence suggests the two species diverged around four million years ago, likely due to some populations becoming separated as the habitat in southern Africa was changing.[3] The black mongoose now occupies a distinct habitat in areas with large boulders and rocky outcrops known as inselbergs in the mountainous regions of northwest Namibia and southwest Angola.[4] After remaining in these areas for millions of years, the black mongoose is highly specialized to survive in the harsh arid environment.[3]

Black mongoose
Black mongoose waterberg
Scientific classification
G. nigrata
Binomial name
Galerella nigrata
Thomas, 1928[1]


The black mongoose resembles the slender mongoose except that its coat is almost entirely black with dark reddish hues on the flank.[3] The black pelage is thought to be an adaptation to provide camouflage in the shadowed crevices between large boulders where they hunt. It has a body mass of about 0.7 to 0.9 kg and a body length of about 6.4 to 7.0 cm with a tail between 3.2 and 3.6 cm.[4]

Diet and behavior

Like other species of Galerella in southern Africa, the black mongoose has a broad diet, consuming adult, larval, and pupal Sarcophagid flies and other insects, as well as reptiles, birds, small mammals and fruits.[5] They may sometimes scavenge meat but they prefer to eat the flies and larva found near the carcass.[6] The black mongoose is mostly solitary, although occasional congregations may form, such as in the presence of an abundant food source such as the flies found near the rotting carcass of a large animal.[6] Although highly solitary, they are not usually aggressive towards other members of their species and are not known to be territorial. In fact, home ranges of males may overlap up to 100%. However, scent-marking seems to occur through marking with urine and rubbing of the throat and chest on rocks to deposit scent gland products. Individuals usually have multiple dens, which they use sporadically, but they do not share dens between individuals. Males have been known to form temporary hunting pairs, in which one individual flushes out prey for the other. The black mongoose is a stalking predator that will sometimes pursue prey much larger than itself, such as rock hyraxes, but more commonly birds, such as guinea fowl and drongos, and rodents.[4]

Range and habitat

The range of the black mongoose extends from the Kunene River region southward toward the Erongo Mountains of Namibia. It is known as an obligate petrophile because it is highly adapted to living in extremely rocky areas with many large boulders. Individuals have been observed to spend 65% of their time among boulders, where they hunt and build their dens.[4] The species is a habitat specialist and is almost never observed in the relatively open plains found between the isolated granite inselbergs.[3] When in open areas, the black mongoose is vulnerable to predation from raptors such as the African hawk eagle. Home ranges vary widely in size from 12 to 145 hectares.[4]


  1. ^ a b Thomas O (1928). "Two new S. W. African mongooses". Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. 10 (59): 408. doi:10.1080/00222939208677435.
  2. ^ Tromp S (2007). "Introducing the black mongoose" (PDF). University of Queensland.
  3. ^ a b c d Rapson, Sarah A. (2012). "Species boundaries and possible hybridization between the black mongoose (Galerella nigrata) and the slender mongoose (Galerella sanguinea)". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 65 (3): 831–839. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2012.08.005.
  4. ^ a b c d e Rathbun, Galen; Tristan Cowley (2008). "Behavioural ecology of the black mongoose (Galerella nigrata) in Namibia". Mammalian Biology - Zeitschrift für Säugetierkunde. 73 (6): 444–450. doi:10.1016/j.mambio.2008.02.006.
  5. ^ Warren Y; Cunningham P; Mbangu A; Tutjavi V (2009). "Preliminary observations of the diet of the black mongoose (Galerella nigrata, Thomas, 1928) in the Erongo Mountains, Namibia". African Journal of Ecology. 47 (4): 801–803. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2028.2008.01028.x.
  6. ^ a b Rathbun, Galen; Tristan Cowley & Otto Zapke (2004). "Black mongoose (Galerella nigrata) home range and social behaviour affected by abundant food at an antelope carcass". African Zoology. 40: 154–157.
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Crossarchus is a genus of mongoose, commonly referred to as kusimanse (often cusimanse), mangue, or dwarf mongoose. Of three subfamilies of Herpestidae (Herpestinae, Mungotinae and Galidiinae), dwarf mongooses belong to Herpestinae or Mungotinae, which are small, highly social mongooses.


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Galerella is a genus of the mongoose family (Herpestidae) native to Africa and commonly called the slender mongooses.There are four or five species in this genus, with more than 30 subspecies.

Four of the species have long been established:

A recent addition is the black mongoose, Galerella nigrata, which now is considered a separate species by many scientists, following genetic analysis. It was previously seen as a variant of Galerella sanguinea.

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Six species in the family Eupleridae are endemic to the island of Madagascar. These are called "mongoose" and were originally classified as a genus within the family Herpestidae, but genetic evidence has since shown that they are more closely related to other Madagascar carnivorans in the family Eupleridae; they have been classified in the subfamily Galidiinae within Eupleridae since 2006.

Herpestidae is placed within the suborder Feliformia, together with the cat, hyena, and Viverridae families.


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).

Narrow-striped mongoose

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Nyctereutes is an Old World genus of the family Canidae, consisting of just one living species, the raccoon dog of East Asia. Nyctereutes appeared about 9.0 million years ago (Mya), with all but one species becoming extinct before the Pleistocene.

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the Asian palm civet (P. hermaphroditus)

the golden palm civet (P. zeylonensis)

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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.

Slender mongoose

The slender mongoose (Galerella sanguinea), also known as the black-tipped mongoose or the black-tailed mongoose, is a very common species of mongoose of sub-Saharan Africa.


Zalophus is a genus of the family Otariidae (sea lions and fur seals) of order Carnivora. It includes these species, of which one became recently extinct:

Z. californianus: California sea lion

Z. japonicus: Japanese sea lion †

Z. wollebaeki: Galápagos sea lion

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