Galidiinae is a subfamily of carnivorans that is restricted to Madagascar and includes six species classified into four genera. Together with the three other species of indigenous Malagasy carnivorans, including the fossa, they are currently classified in the family Eupleridae within the suborder Feliformia.[1] Galidiinae are the smallest of the Malagasy carnivorans, generally weighing about 600 to 900 g. They are agile, short-legged animals with long, bushy tails.[2]

In some of these characters, they resemble the mongooses (family Herpestidae) of continental Africa and southern Eurasia, with which they were classified until 2006, and accordingly they are said to be "mongoose-like"[2] or even described as "Malagasy mongooses".[3]

Galidia elegans 1
Ring-tailed mongoose (Galidia elegans)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Suborder: Feliformia
Family: Eupleridae
Subfamily: Galidiinae
Gray, 1865


Galidiinae range
Galidiinae diversity
Grandidier's mongoose (Galidictis grandidieri)
Galidia elegans
Ring-tailed mongoose (Galidia elegans)


The relationship of galidiines to other carnivorans has historically been controversial. Up to the middle of the 20th century, all smaller feliformians, including members of the current families Viverridae, Herpestidae, and Eupleridae as well as some smaller groups, were classified in the single family Viverridae.[2] Galidiines, which share some characters with both the civets and genets (current Viverridae) and the mongooses (Herpestidae),[4] were allied early on both with the former[5] and the latter, with some going as far as to doubt that they should be placed in a different subfamily than the other mongooses.[6]

When the classification of the mongooses as a family separate from Viverridae gained wide acceptance around 1990, the galidiines were classified with them in the family Herpestidae,[7] an arrangement supported by cladistic analysis of morphological data.[8] In the early 2000s, molecular phylogenetic inferences, based on data from several genes, provided evidence for a close relationship between galidiines and other Malagasy carnivorans to the exclusion of mainland feliformians.[9] Accordingly, they were all reclassified into a single family, Eupleridae,[10] which is most closely related to the mongooses of the family Herpestidae.[9]

Within the family Eupleridae, some relations remain unclear, with evidence from several genes and methods of inference providing conflicting evidence as to the relations among Galidiinae, the fossa, and the Malagasy civet (Fossa fossana).[11] Molecular evidence suggests that Galidia was the earliest to diverge of the four galidiine genera and that Mungotictis and Salanoia are each other's closest relatives.[12] Morphological evidence, on the other hand, supports the relation between Mungotictis and Salanoia, but suggests that Galidictis was the earliest lineage to diverge.[13]

The subfamily includes the following genera and species:[1]


Galidiines range in size from the narrow-striped mongoose, which may weigh as little as 500 g (18 oz),[15] to the Grandidier's mongoose, which can reach a weight of 1,500 g (53 oz).[16] All are similar in general form to mongooses, sharing with them an agile body supported by short legs, as well as a long, bushy tail and a flat, long cranium.[2] Each of the four genera has a distinctive color pattern reflected in its common name: the tail of the ring-tailed mongoose is ringed with brown and black bands; both species of Galidictis have the body covered with broad stripes; the narrow-striped mongoose also has stripes over the body, but they are narrower and less conspicuous; and the brown-tailed mongoose has a dark brown pelage without any rings or stripes.[17] Most galidiines share a dental formula of, but both species of Salanoia are distinct in having a dental formula of[18]

Ecology and behavior

Galidiines are generally found in forest, but the Grandidier's and narrow-striped mongooses live in open habitats. All species dig burrows for shelter, and several species may also use tree holes. All six species can be found on the ground, but the narrow-striped and ring-tailed mongooses also climb trees. Like true mongooses, galidiines are usually active during the day, with the exception of the two species of Galidictis. Breeding occurs during the (Southern Hemisphere) summer, except in Grandidier's mongoose, which breeds year-round. Usually, only a single young is born. The ring-tailed, Grandidier's, and brown-tailed mongooses live alone or in pairs, sometimes with their offspring, but the broad-striped Malagasy and narrow-striped mongooses also occur in larger social groups. The diet varies among the species, with the ring-tailed and broad-striped Malagasy mongooses eating mainly small vertebrates like lizards, frogs and rodents, and the other three species eating more invertebrates like insects and scorpions. The ring-tailed and brown-tailed mongooses are also known to eat fruit.[17]

See also


  1. ^ a b Wozencraft, 2005, pp. 560–561
  2. ^ a b c d Yoder and Flynn, 2003
  3. ^ Garbutt, 2007, p. 213
  4. ^ Pocock, 1916, p. 352
  5. ^ Pocock, 1916, p. 356
  6. ^ Lydekker, 1894, p. 278
  7. ^ Nowak, 2005, p. 204
  8. ^ Yoder and Flynn, 2003, fig. 2; Gaubert et al., 2005, fig. 2
  9. ^ a b Yoder et al., 2003; Flynn et al., 2005
  10. ^ Wozencraft, 2005, pp. 559–561
  11. ^ Yoder and Flynn, 2003; Flynn et al., 2005
  12. ^ Flynn et al., 2005
  13. ^ Yoder and Flynn, 2003, fig. 2
  14. ^ Durbin et al., 2010
  15. ^ Garbutt, 2007, p. 216
  16. ^ Garbutt, 2007, p. 217
  17. ^ a b Nowak, 2005, pp. 204–207; Garbutt, 2007, pp. 214–219
  18. ^ Albignac, 1972; Durbin et al., 2010, p. 9. Albignac (1972, p. 677) reports a single lower molar for the brown-tailed mongoose, but Durbin et al. (2010, p. 9, fig. 11) figure and describe the second molar in both of the species of Salanoia they recognise.

Literature cited

  • Albignac, R. 1972. The Carnivora of Madagascar. Pp. 667–682 in Battistini, R. & Richard-Vindard, G. (eds.). Biogeography and Ecology in Madagascar. The Hague: W. Junk B.B., Publishers.
  • Durbin, J., Funk, S.M., Hawkins, F., Hills, D.M., Jenkins, P.D., Moncrieff, C.B. and Ralainasolo, F.B. 2010. Investigations into the status of a new taxon of Salanoia (Mammalia: Carnivora: Eupleridae) from the marshes of Lac Alaotra, Madagascar (subscription required). Systematics and Biodiversity, published online in advance of print: 15 pp.
  • Flynn, J.J., Finarelli, J.A., Zehr, S., Hsu, J. & Nedbal, M.A. 2005. Molecular phylogeny of the Carnivora (Mammalia): Assessing the impact of increased sampling on resolving enigmatic relationships. Systematic Biology 54(2):317–337.
  • Garbutt, N. 2007. Mammals of Madagascar: A Complete Guide. Yale University Press, 304 pp. ISBN 978-0-300-12550-4
  • Gaubert, P., Wozencraft, W.C., Cordeiro-Estrela, P. & Veron, G. 2005. Mosaics of convergences and noise in morphological phylogenies: What's in a viverrid-like carnivoran? Systematic Biology 54(6):865–894.
  • Lydekker, R. 1894. A hand-book to the Carnivora. Part 1, Cats, civets, and mungooses. London: Allen.
  • Nowak, R.M. 2005. Walker's Carnivores of the World. Johns Hopkins University Press, 313 pp. ISBN 978-0-8018-8032-2
  • Pocock, R.I. On some external characters of Galidia, Galidictis, and related genera. Annals and Magazine of Natural History (8)16:351–356.
  • Wozencraft, W.C. 2005. Order Carnivora. Pp. 532–628 in Wilson, D.E. & Reeder, D.M. (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: a taxonomic and geographic reference. 3rd ed. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2 vols., 2142 pp. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0
  • Yoder, A.D. & Flynn, J.J. 2003. Origin of Malagasy Carnivora. Pp. 1253–1256 in Goodman, S.M. & Benstead, J. (eds.). The Natural History of Madagascar. University of Chicago Press.
  • Yoder, A.D., Burns, M.M., Zehr, S., Delefosse, T., Veron, G., Goodman, S.M. & Flynn, J.J. 2003. Single origin of Malagasy Carnivora from an African ancestor. Nature 421:734–737.

Bdeogale is a genus of three species of mongoose native to the rainforests of central and western Africa. They are primarily terrestrial and insectivorous.

Broad-striped Malagasy mongoose

The broad-striped Malagasy mongoose (Galidictis fasciata) is a species of Galidiinae, a subfamily of mongoose-like euplerids native to Madagascar. The species contains two known subspecies: Galidictis fasciata fasciata and Galidictis fasciata striata.Their main distinguishing factors are their stripes and their tails; G. f. fasciata has a fuller, reddish-brown tail and 8-10 stripes, while G. f. striata has a thinner, white tail and 5 stripes. They are all forest-dweller on the eastern side of the island, and their primary prey is small rodents. This species is most active in the evening and at night.

The specific epithet fasciata means ‘banded’ in Latin. Its local common name is vontsira fotsy, ‘white vontsira’ in Malagasy.

Common kusimanse

The common kusimanse (Crossarchus obscurus), also known as the long-nosed kusimanse or cusimanse, is a small, diurnal kusimanse or dwarf mongoose. Of three subfamilies of Herpestidae (Herpestinae, Mungotinae and Galidiinae), the kusimanse is a member of Mungotinae, which are small and very social.


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.


Eupleridae is a family of carnivorans endemic to Madagascar and comprising 10 known living species in seven genera, commonly known as euplerids, or Malagasy mongooses. The best known species is the fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox), in the subfamily Euplerinae. All species of Euplerinae were formerly classified as viverrids, while all species in the subfamily Galidiinae were classified as herpestids.

Recent molecular studies indicate that the 10 living species of Madagascar carnivorans evolved from one ancestor that is thought to have rafted over from mainland Africa 18-24 million years ago. This makes Malagasy carnivorans a clade. They are closely allied with the true herpestid mongooses, their closest living relatives. The fossa and the Malagasy civet (Fossa fossana) are each evolutionarily quite distinct from each other and from the rest of the clade.

All Eupleridae are considered threatened species due to habitat destruction, as well as predation and competition from non-native species.


Euplerinae, more commonly known as malagasy civets, is a subfamily of carnivorans that includes four species restricted to Madagascar. Together with the subfamily Galidiinae, which also only occurs on Madagascar, it forms the family Eupleridae. Members of this subfamily, which include the fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox), falanoucs (Eupleres goudotii and Eupleres major) and Malagasy civet (Fossa fossana), were placed in families like Felidae and Viverridae before genetic data indicated their consanguinity with other Madagascar carnivorans. Within the subfamily, the falanouc and Malagasy civet are more closely related to each other than to the fossa.

Grandidier's mongoose

Grandidier's mongoose (Galidictis grandidieri), also known as the giant-striped mongoose or Grandidier's vontsira, is a small carnivoran that lives only in a very small area of southwestern Madagascar, in areas of spiny forest vegetation. It is pale brown or grayish coloured, with eight wide, dark stripes on its back and sides. Grandidier's mongoose is larger than the related broad-striped Malagasy mongoose, G. fasciata, and its stripes are not as wide. The species is named after Alfred Grandidier.

This species has been called one of the rarest carnivorans in the world. With a few exceptions, the majority of records of G. grandidieri come from a narrow zone at the western edge of the Mahafaly Plateau in the Parc National de Tsimanampetsotsa, making it the Madagascan carnivore with the smallest range.

Nocturnal and crepuscular, this species lives in pairs which produce one offspring a year, in the summer. They hunt primarily by searching through ground litter and in rock crevices. The diet of Grandidier's mongoose varies markedly between the dry and wet seasons. Whereas food consists mainly of invertebrates throughout the year, small vertebrates are the most important food by biomass, comprising 58% during the dry season and 80% during the wet season. Grandidier's mongoose weighs 1.1 to 1.3 lb (500 to 600 g).The species is sympatric with two other carnivores, the fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox) and the introduced Indian civet (Viverricula indica). However, there seems to be virtually no range or dietary overlap between these animals and Grandidier's mongoose. From sub-fossil evidence, it is clear that the region underwent drastic climatic change during the last 3000–2000 years. It is presumed that the distribution of this mongoose was notably broader and the proportion of prey types different in earlier times than today. Grandidier's mongoose must have adapted to dryer conditions, which have resulted in its very limited distribution and the exploitation of notably small prey.The animals can be vocal, with a cooing mew, and are described as sociable and playful.


The Hemigalinae are a subfamily of the viverrids denominated and first described by John Edward Gray in 1864. This subfamily comprises the four monospecific genera:





List of species in order Carnivora

This list contains the species in order Carnivora.


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

Mephitis (genus)

The genus Mephitis is one of several genera of skunks, which has two species and a North American distribution.


Mongoose is the popular English name for 29 of the 34 species in the 14 genera of the family Herpestidae, which are small feliform carnivorans native to southern Eurasia and mainland Africa. The other five species (all African) in the family are the four kusimanses in the genus Crossarchus, and the species Suricata suricatta, commonly called meerkat in English.

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.

Narrow-striped mongoose

The narrow-striped mongoose (Mungotictis decemlineata) is a member of the family Eupleridae, subfamily Galidiinae and endemic to Madagascar. It inhabits the Madagascar dry deciduous forests of western and southwestern Madagascar, where it lives from sea level to about 125 m (410 ft) between the Tsiribihina and Mangoky rivers. In Malagasy it is called bokiboky (pronounced "Boo-ky Boo-ky").


Pusa is a genus of the earless seals, within the family Phocidae. The three species of this genus were split from the genus Phoca, and some sources still give Phoca as an acceptable synonym for Pusa.

The three species in this genus are found in Arctic and subarctic regions, as well as around the Caspian Sea. This includes these countries and regions: Russia, Scandinavia, Britain, Greenland, Canada, the United States, Iran, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Japan. Due to changing local environmental conditions, the ringed seals found in the Canadian region has varied patterns of growth. The northern Canadian ringed seals grow slowly to a larger size, while the southern seals grow quickly to a smaller size.

Only the Caspian seal is endangered.

Ring-tailed vontsira

The ring-tailed vontsira, locally still known as the ring-tailed mongoose (Galidia elegans) is a euplerid in the subfamily Galidiinae, a carnivoran native to Madagascar.


Salanoia is a genus of euplerid carnivoran with two currently described species found in Madagascar. They are mongoose-like, which is reflected in the older versions of their English names, for example brown-tailed mongoose which is now called brown-tailed vontsira. The name Salanoia is derived from one of the vernacular names for Salanoia concolor: Salano.In 2010, the two described members of the genus were referred to by the common name vontsira in announcements of the discovery of Salanoia durrelli. Vontsira is a Malagasy vernacular name that seems to apply to a few local species of local mongoose-like carnivores in the related genera Salanoia, Galidia, and Galidictis


Speothos is a genus of canid found in Central and South America. The genus includes the living bush dog, Speothos venaticus, and an extinct Pleistocene species, Speothos pacivorus. Unusually, the fossil species was identified and named before the extant species was discovered, with the result that the type species of Speothos is S. pacivorus.


Viverra is a mammalian genus that was first nominated and described by Carl Linnaeus in 1758 as comprising several species including the large Indian civet (V. zibetha). The genus was subordinated to the viverrid family by John Edward Gray in 1821.

Extant Carnivora species

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