The margay (Leopardus wiedii) is a small wild cat native to Central and South America. A solitary and nocturnal cat,[3] it lives mainly in primary evergreen and deciduous forest.[4]

Until the 1990s, margays were hunted illegally for the wildlife trade, which resulted in a large population decrease.[5] Since 2008, the margay has been listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List because the population is thought to be declining due to loss of habitat following deforestation.[2]

In his first description, Schinz named the margay Felis wiedii in honour of Prince Maximilian of Wied-Neuwied who collected specimens in Brazil.[6]

Margaykat Leopardus wiedii
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Suborder: Feliformia
Family: Felidae
Subfamily: Felinae
Genus: Leopardus
L. wiedii[1]
Binomial name
Leopardus wiedii[1]
(Schinz, 1821)
Margay area
Margay range
  • Felis wiedii
Margay in Costa Rica
A margay photographed near one of the active volcanoes in Costa Rica


A margay at Parc des Félins in France

The margay is very similar to the larger ocelot in appearance, although the head is a little shorter, the eyes larger, and the tail and legs longer. It weighs from 2.6 to 4 kg (5.7 to 8.8 lb), with a body length of 48 to 79 cm (19 to 31 in), and a tail length of 33 to 51 cm (13 to 20 in). Unlike most other cats, the female possesses only two teats.[7]

Its fur is brown and marked with numerous rows of dark brown or black rosettes and longitudinal streaks. The undersides are paler, ranging from buff to white, and the tail has numerous dark bands and a black tip. The backs of the ears are black with circular white markings in the centre.[7]

Most notably the margay is a much more skilful climber than its relative, and it is sometimes called the tree ocelot because of this ability. Whereas the ocelot mostly pursues prey on the ground, the margay may spend its entire life in the trees, leaping after and chasing birds and monkeys through the treetops. Indeed, it is one of only two cat species[7] with the ankle flexibility necessary to climb head-first down trees (the other being the clouded leopard, although the poorly studied marbled cat may also have this ability). It is remarkably agile; its ankles can turn up to 180 degrees, it can grasp branches equally well with its fore and hind paws, and it is able to jump up to 12 ft (3.7 m) horizontally.[7] The margay has been observed to hang from branches with only one foot.

Distribution and habitat

The margay is found from southern Mexico, through Central America and in northern South America east of the Andes. The southern edge of its range reaches Uruguay and northern Argentina. They are found almost exclusively in areas of dense forest, ranging from tropical evergreen forest to tropical dry forest and high cloud forest. Margays have sometimes also been observed in coffee and cocoa plantations.[7]

Fossil evidence of margays or margay-like cats has been found in Florida and Georgia dating to the Pleistocene, suggesting that they had a wider distribution in the past. The last record from Texas was from 1852.[8]

Behavior and ecology

While margays are nocturnal, in some areas they have also been observed to hunt during the day. They prefer to spend most of their life in the trees, but also travel across the ground, especially when moving between hunting areas. During the day, they rest in relatively inaccessible branches or clumps of lianas.

Like most cats, they are solitary, with the adults only commonly meeting to mate. They are sparsely distributed even within their natural environment, occupying relatively large home ranges of 11 to 16 square kilometres (4.2 to 6.2 sq mi). They use scent marking to indicate their territory, including urine spraying and leaving scratch marks on the ground or on branches. Their vocalisations all appear to be short range; they do not call to each other over long distances.[7]

Margays have recently been discovered to hunt by mimicking the vocalisation of a prey species, pied tamarin (Saguinus bicolor),[9] which has been compared by scientists to tool-use by monkeys.[10]


Because the margay is mostly nocturnal[11] and is naturally rare in its environment, most dietary studies have been based on stomach contents and faecal analysis. This cat hunts small mammals, including monkeys, and birds, eggs, lizards and tree frogs.[12] It also eats grass, fruit and other vegetation, most likely to help digestion. A 2006 report about a margay chasing squirrels in its natural environment confirmed that the margay is able to hunt its prey entirely in trees.[13] However, margays do sometimes hunt on the ground, and have been reported to eat terrestrial prey, such as cane rats and guinea pigs.[7]

There has been one report of a margay using auditory mimicry to try to lure one of its prey. A margay was observed to imitate the call of a pied tamarin infant while in the presence of a group of adult tamarins, leading the adults to investigate. While the margay was not successful in catching one of the monkeys, this represents the first observation of a Neotropical predator employing this type of mimicry.[14][15]

Reproduction and lifecycle

Female margays are in estrus for four to ten days over a cycle of 32 to 36 days, during which they attract males with a long, moaning call. The male responds by yelping or making trilling sounds, and also by rapidly shaking his head from side to side, a behavior not seen in any other cat species. Copulation lasts up to sixty seconds, and is similar to that in domestic cats; it takes place primarily in the trees, and occurs several times while the female is in heat.[7] Unlike other felid species, margays are not induced ovulators.[16]

Gestation lasts about 80 days, and generally results in the birth of a single kitten (very rarely, there are two) usually between March and June. Kittens weigh 85 to 170 grams (3.0 to 6.0 oz) at birth. This is relatively large for a small cat, and is probably related to the long gestation period. The kittens open their eyes at around two weeks of age, and begin to take solid food at seven to eight weeks. Margays reach sexual maturity at twelve to eighteen months of age, and have been reported to live more than 20 years in captivity.[7] A 26-year-old margay named Carlota lives at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden as of April 2018.[17]

Infants suffer from a 50% mortality rate. Coupled with the problems they have breeding in captivity, this makes the prospect of increasing the population very difficult.[18]


These are the currently recognized subspecies:[1]

Local names

In the Spanish language it is known as gato tigre, tigrillo, caucel, maracayá or margay. In Portuguese it is called gato-maracajá or simply maracajá. In the Guaraní language, the term mbarakaya originally referred only to the margay, but is now also used for domestic cats.


  1. ^ a b Wozencraft, W.C. (2005). "Order Carnivora". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 539–540. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  2. ^ a b de Oliveira, T.; Paviolo, A.; Schipper, J.; Bianchi, R.; Payan, E. & Carvajal, S.V. (2015). "Leopardus wiedii". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2017-3. International Union for Conservation of Nature. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-4.RLTS.T11511A50654216.en
  3. ^ Petersen, M. K. (1977). "Behaviour of the margay". In R. L. Eaton. The world’s cats, Vol. 3 (2). Seattle: Carnivore Research Institute, University of Washington. pp. 69–76.
  4. ^ Bisbal, F. J. (1989). "Distribution and habitat association of the carnivores in Venezuela". In K. H. Redford and J. F. Eisenberg. Advances in neotropical mammalogy. Gainesville: Sandhill Crane Press. pp. 339–362.
  5. ^ Aranda, J. M. (1991). "Wild mammal skin trade in Chiapas, Mexico". In J. G. Robinson and K. H. Redford. Neotropical wildlife use and conservation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. pp. 174–177.
  6. ^ Cuvier, G., Schinz, H. R. (1821). "Wiedische Katze Felis wiedii". Das Thierreich eingetheilt nach dem Bau der Thiere: als Grundlage ihrer Naturgeschichte und der vergleichenden Anatomie. Säugethiere und Vögel, Volume 1. Stuttgart, Tübingen: Cotta. pp. 235–236.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i Sunquist, M.; Sunquist, F. (2002). Wild Cats of the World. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. pp. 135–141. ISBN 0-226-77999-8.
  8. ^ Kays, R.W.; Wilson, D. E. (2002). Mammals of North America. Illustrated by Sandra Doyle, Nancy Halliday, Ron Klingner, Elizabeth McClelland, Consie Powell, Wendy Smith, Todd Zalewski, Diane Gibbons, Susan C. Morse, Jesse Guertin. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-07012-1.
  9. ^ Calleia, F. d. O.; Rohe, F.; Gordo, M. (2009). "Hunting strategy of the Margay (Leopardus wiedii) to attract the Wild Pied Tamarin (Saguinus bicolor)" (PDF). Neotropical Primates. Neotropical Section of the IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group. 16 (1): 32–34. doi:10.1896/044.016.0107. ISSN 1413-4705. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 June 2010.
  10. ^ Angier, N. (2010). "Surviving by Disguising: Nature's Game of Charades". Basics. New York Times. Retrieved 7 September 2010.
  11. ^ Anywhere Costa Rica
  12. ^ Wang, E. (2002). "Diets of Ocelots (Leopardus pardalis), Margays (L. wiedii), and Oncillas (L. tigrinus) in the Atlantic Rainforest in Southeast Brazil" (PDF). Studies on Neotropical Fauna and Environment. 37 (3): 207–212. doi:10.1076/snfe. Retrieved 2007-06-15.
  13. ^ Solórzano-filho, J.A. (2006). "Mobbing of Leopardus wiedii while hunting by a group of Sciurus ingrami in an Araucaria forest of Southeast Brazil". Mammalia. 70 (1/2): 156–157. doi:10.1515/MAMM.2006.031. Retrieved 2007-06-15.
  14. ^ Calleia, F. O.; Rohe, F.; Gordo, M. (2009). "Hunting Strategy of the Margay (Leopardus wiedii) to Attract the Wild Pied Tamarin (Saguinus bicolor)" (PDF). Neotropical Primates. Conservation International. 16 (1): 32–34. doi:10.1896/044.016.0107. ISSN 1413-4705. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 June 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-18.
  15. ^ Dell'Amore, C. (2010). "Jungle Cat Mimics Monkey to Lure Prey—A First". National Geographic Daily News. National Geographic Society. Retrieved 2010-07-18.
  16. ^ de Morais, Rosana Nogueira. "Reproduction in small felid males." Biology, Medicine, and Surgery of South American Wild Animals (2008): 312.
  17. ^ "Meet Carlota". Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. Facebook. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  18. ^ IUNC Wild Cats Book. "Margay Fact." Big Cat Rescue. IUNC, n.d. Web. [1].

External links

Bom Jesus Biological Reserve

The Bom Jesus Biological Reserve (Portuguese: Reserva Biológica Bom Jesus) is a biological reserve in the state of Paraná, Brazil.

Felid hybrid

A felid hybrid is any of a number of hybrid between various species of the cat family, Felidae. This article deals with hybrids between the species of the subfamily Felinae (feline hybrids). For hybrids between two species of the genus Panthera (lions, tigers, jaguars, and leopards), see Panthera hybrid. There are no known hybrids between Neofelis (the clouded leopard) and other genera. By contrast, many genera of Felinae are interfertile with each other, though few hybridize under natural conditions, and not all combinations are likely to be viable (e.g. between the tiny rusty-spotted cat and the leopard-sized cougar).


Felidae is a family of mammals in the order Carnivora, colloquially referred to as cats. A member of this family is also called a felid. The term "cat" refers both to felids in general and specifically to the domestic cat (Felis catus).Reginald Innes Pocock divided the extant Felidae into three subfamilies: the Pantherinae, the Felinae and the Acinonychinae, differing from each other by the ossification of the hyoid apparatus and by the cutaneous sheaths which protect their claws.

This concept has been revised following developments in molecular biology and techniques for analysis of morphological data. Today, the living Felidae are divided in two subfamilies, with the Pantherinae including seven Panthera and two Neofelis species. The Felinae include all the non-pantherine cats with 10 genera and 34 species.The first cats emerged during the Oligocene, about 25 million years ago, with the appearance of Proailurus and Pseudaelurus. The latter species complex was ancestral to two main lines of felids: the cats in the extant subfamilies and a third major group of extinct cats of the subfamily Machairodontinae. The machairodonts included the saber-toothed cats such as the Smilodon. The "false sabre toothed cats", the Barbourofelidae and Nimravidae, are not true cats, but are closely related and together with Felidae and other cat-like carnivores (hyaenas, viverrids and mongooses) make up the feliform carnivores.The characteristic features of cats have evolved to support a carnivorous lifestyle, with adaptations for ambush or stalking and short pursuit hunting. They have slender muscular bodies, strong flexible forelimbs and retractable claws for holding prey, dental and cranial adaptations for a strong bite, and often have characteristic striped or spotted coat patterns for camouflage.


The Felinae is a subfamily of the family Felidae that comprises the small cats that have a bony hyoid, because of which they are able to purr but not roar.Other authors proposed an alternative definition for this subfamily: as comprising only the living conical-toothed cat genera with two tribes, the Felini and Pantherini; thus excluding all fossil cat species.

Kart racing

Kart racing or karting is a variant of motorsport road racing with small, open-wheel, four-wheeled vehicles called karts, go-karts, or gearbox/shifter karts depending on the design. They are usually raced on scaled-down circuits. Karting is commonly perceived as the stepping stone to the higher ranks of motorsports, with former Formula One champions such as Sebastian Vettel, Nico Rosberg, Ayrton Senna, Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher having begun their careers in karting.

Karts vary widely in speed and some (known as superkarts) can reach speeds exceeding 260 kilometres per hour (160 mph), while recreational go-karts intended for the general public may be limited to lower speeds.


Leopardus is a genus of spotted small cats mostly native to Middle and South America, with a very small range extending into the southern United States. The genus is considered the oldest branch of a lineage of small cats that crossed into the Americas, with the genera Lynx and Puma being later branches of the same group. The largest species in Leopardus is the ocelot (L. pardalis); most of the other species resemble domestic cats in size, with the kodkod (L. guigna) being the smallest cat in the Americas. The margay (L. wiedii) is more highly adapted to arboreal life than any other cat in the Americas.Despite the name, the leopard is a member of genus Panthera, not Leopardus.

List of nocturnal animals

This is a list of nocturnal alligator and groups of animals. Birds are listed separately in the List of nocturnal birds.


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

Margay Products Inc.

Margay is a kart chassis manufacturer that designs and builds sprint and endurance karts in St. Louis, Missouri, USA.

Margay has been around karting almost since karting began. The company started out in 1964 making gearboxes for karts then tried building chassis. It proved to be an instant success. Margay has built more than 20,000 chassis and has won more races in the World Karting Association (WKA) than any other manufacturer. Current Margay team drivers who have enjoyed success including WKA triple crowns, manufacturer cups, and championships include Corey Reeves, Eric Morrow, and Caleb Loniewski. Margay is also a large distributor of Bridgestone tires.

Michele Bumgarner

Michele Marie Bumgarner (born September 2, 1989 in Mandaluyong City) is a Filipina racing driver. She was born to an American father and a Filipina mother. She made her debut into single seater racing with the National Karting Series in the Philippines in 1999 at the age of 10. She has participated in the Asia-Pacific Karting Championships Japan, Shell Super Karting Series, Asian Karting Open Championship (AKOC), and the Italian Masters Series.

In 2006 Bumgarner made her auto racing debut driving in the Asian Formula Three Championship, finishing third in the series' Promotion Class.She competed in the first five rounds of the 2008 Star Mazda Championship season for John Walko Racing. Her best finish was 15th place coming in her final start at Portland International Raceway.

On September 19, 2008, she became the first female champion of the Rock Island Grand Prix in Rock Island, Illinois, the world’s largest street karting race. The 7th foreign-born winner in its 14-year history, Michele steered the Margay Team to a 1-2-3-4 finish with 11 minutes and 24.144 seconds. She said: “This will stick with me my whole career. Everyone goes on about how great this race is and it’s special that this is my first time here and my first win here. I hope to come back.”

On September 6, 2009 she successfully defended that title in a three kart battle.

In November 2008 it was announced that Bumgarner had signed a driver development contract to race in the Firestone Indy Lights series with Walker Racing. She participated in a test with Guthrie Racing However, Walker Racing entered the 2009 Indy Lights season fielding a car for Stefan Wilson rather than Bumgarner and as of 2011 she has not driven in an Indy Lights race and she has not participated in a professional auto race since 2008.

In September 2013, Michele announced that she will join the Mazda Road to Indy program with World Speed Motorsports, to which she made two starts in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires at Houston, claiming a top-10 finish and earning the Quarter Master Hard Charger Award for most positions gained in the race.

In 2014, Michelle joined the Pro Mazda Championship full-time, racing for World Speed Motorsports Team.


The ocelot (Leopardus pardalis) is a small wild cat native to the southwestern United States, Mexico, Central and South America. It is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List as the population is estimated to comprise more than 40,000 mature individuals and is considered stable. Its fur was once regarded as valuable, and poaching for the illegal trade is still a threat. It is marked with solid black spots, streaks and stripes.


The oncilla (Leopardus tigrinus), also known as the northern tiger cat, little spotted cat, and tigrillo, is a small spotted cat ranging from Central America to central Brazil. It is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List because the population is threatened by deforestation and conversion of habitat to agricultural land.In 2013, it was proposed to assign the population in southern Brazil and Cuyoaco to a new species L. guttulus, after it was found not to be interbreeding with the L. tigrinus population in northeast Brazil.

Rosette (zoology)

A rosette is a rose-like marking or formation found on the fur and skin of some animals, particularly cats. Rosettes are used to camouflage the animal, either as a defense mechanism or as a stalking tool. Predators use their rosettes to simulate the different shifting of shadows and shade, helping the animals to remain hidden from their prey. Rosettes can be grouped in clusters around other spots, or may appear as blotches on the fur.

Sciurus ingrami

Sciurus ingrami, usually called Ingram's squirrel in English, is a squirrel found in South America. It is known as serelepe in southeastern Brazil. It is found in the Atlantic Forest Biome of Brazil and Misiones Province, Argentina.It is regarded variously as a species, or as a subspecies of the Brazilian Squirrel Sciurus aestuans or Guerlinguetus brasiliensis.It is solitary and territorial, but has been seen to act together and mob a predatory cat, the margay.

Seridó Ecological Station

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Serra Geral National Park

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Serra da Cutia National Park

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Serra do Itajaí National Park

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Welsh Mountain Zoo

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Extant Carnivora species

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