Northern olingo

The northern olingo (Bassaricyon gabbii), also known as the bushy-tailed olingo or as simply the olingo (due to it being the most commonly seen of the species),[2] is a tree-dwelling member of the family Procyonidae, which also includes raccoons. It was the first species of olingo to be described, and while it is considered by some authors to be the only genuine olingo species,[3] a recent review of the Bassaricyon genus has shown that there are a total of four olingo species, although two of the former species should now be considered as a part of this species.[2] Its scientific name honors William More Gabb, who collected the first specimen.[4][5] It is native to Central America.[2]

Northern olingo
Bushy tailed olingo
Northern olingo in Costa Rica
Scientific classification
B. gabbii
Binomial name
Bassaricyon gabbii
Allen, 1876
B-gabbii geo
Northern olingo range[2]

Bassaricyon richardsoni Allen, 1908
Bassaricyon lasius Harris, 1932
Bassaricyon pauli Enders, 1936


The northern olingo is a slender arboreal animal, with hind legs distinctly longer than the fore legs, and a long, bushy tail. The face is short and rounded, with relatively large eyes and short round ears.[6] The fur is thick and colored brown or grey-brown over most of the body, becoming slightly darker along the middle of the back, while the underparts are light cream to yellowish.[6] A band of yellowish fur runs around the throat and sides of the head, where it reaches the base of the ears, while the face has greyish fur. The tail is similar in color to the body, but has a number of faint rings of darker fur along its length. The soles of the feet are hairy, and the toes are slightly flattened, ending with short, curved claws.[6] Females have a single pair of teats, located on the rear part of the abdomen, close to the hind legs.[4]

Adults have a head-body length of 36 to 42 centimetres (14 to 17 in), with a 38 to 48 centimetres (15 to 19 in) tail.[6] They weigh around 1.2 to 1.4 kilograms (2.6 to 3.1 lb).[6] The northern olingo possesses a pair of anal scent glands,[6] capable of producing a foul-smelling chemical when the animal is alarmed.[4]

This is the largest of the olingo species.[2] Its pelage is typically less rufous than the other olingos, while its tail bands are a bit more distinct.[2]

Distribution and habitat

The northern olingo is found from Nicaragua through Costa Rica and western Panama.[2] It has also been reported from Honduras and Guatemala, although its great similarity to other olingos, and to kinkajous, may make such reports suspect, and they are not currently recognised by the IUCN.[1] While some individuals have been found as low as sea level,[2] it typically inhabits montane[2] and tropical moist forests[4] from 1,000 metres (3,300 ft)[2] up to around 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) elevation, although it apparently avoids plantations and areas of secondary forest.[4]


Previously, three subspecies (including the nominate) were recognized of this olingo: B. g. gabbii, B. g. richardsoni, and B. g. medius.[3] The recent review of the genus has made several changes to the definition of this species:

  1. The Nicaraguan population B. g. richardsoni may truly be a subspecies, but further review and analysis is needed.[2]
  2. B. g. medius is smaller on average than Bassaricyon gabbii and the morphologic and genetic analysis demonstrated that is a different species: B. medius (western lowland olingo).[2]
  3. Former species B. lasius and B. pauli have been demoted into synonyms for B. gabbii, but may be elevated to subspecies as B. g. lasius and B. g. pauli.[2]

The closest relatives of B. gabbii are the two lowland olingo species of Panama and northwestern South America, B. alleni and B. medius, from which it diverged about 1.8 million years ago.[2]

Diet and behavior

The northern olingo is a nocturnal herbivore, feeding almost entirely on fruit, especially figs. It has been observed to drink the nectar of balsa trees during the dry season, and, on rare occasions, to pursue and eat small mammals, such as mice and squirrels. During the day, it sleeps in dens located in large trees.[4] It has an estimated home range of around 23 hectares (57 acres).[7]

Although it has been considered to be a solitary animal, it is often encountered in pairs, and may be more sociable than commonly believed. It is arboreal, spending much of its time in trees. Its tail is not prehensile, unlike that of the related kinkajous, although it can act as a balance.[4] The call of the northern olingo has been described as possessing two distinct notes, with a "whey-chuck" or "wey-toll" sound.[7]

The northern olingo has a diet and habitat similar to those of kinkajous, and, when resources are in short supply, the larger animal may drive it away from its preferred trees.[7] Predators known to feed on the northern olingo include the jaguarundi, ocelot, tayra, and several boas. It is believed to breed during the dry season, and to give birth to a single young after a gestation period of around ten weeks. It has lived for up to twenty-five years in captivity.[4]


  1. ^ a b Helgen, K.; Kays, R.; Pinto, C.; González-Maya, J.F.; Schipper, J. (2016). "Bassaricyon gabbii". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2016: e.T48637946A45196211. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-1.RLTS.T48637946A45196211.en. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Helgen, K. M.; Pinto, M.; Kays, R.; Helgen, L.; Tsuchiya, M.; Quinn, A.; Wilson, D.; Maldonado, J. (15 August 2013). "Taxonomic revision of the olingos (Bassaricyon), with description of a new species, the Olinguito". ZooKeys. 324: 1–83. doi:10.3897/zookeys.324.5827. PMC 3760134. PMID 24003317.
  3. ^ 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. 532–628. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Prange, S. & Prange, T.J. (2009). "Bassaricyon gabbii (Carnivora: Procyonidae)". Mammalian Species. 826: 1–7. doi:10.1644/826.1.
  5. ^ Beolens, B.; Watkins, M.; Grayson, M. (2009-09-28). The Eponym Dictionary of Mammals. The Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 145. ISBN 978-0801893049. OCLC 270129903.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Saavedra-Rodriguez, Carlos Arturo; Velandia-Perilla, Jorge H. "Bassaricyon gabbii Allen, 1876 (Carnivora: Procyonida): New distribution point on western range of Colombian Andes". Check List: 505–507.
  7. ^ a b c R.W. Kays (2000). "The behavior and ecology of olingos (Bassaricyon gabbii) and their competition with kinkajous (Potos flavus) in central Panama". Mammalia. 64 (1): 1–10. doi:10.1515/mamm.2000.64.1.1.

The genus Bassaricyon consists of small Neotropical procyonids, popularly known as olingos . They are native to the rainforests of Central and South America from Nicaragua to Peru. They are arboreal and nocturnal, and live at elevations from sea level to 2,750 m. Olingos closely resemble the kinkajou in morphology and habits, though they lack prehensile tails and extrudable tongues, have more extended muzzles, and possess anal scent glands. They also resemble galagos and certain lemurs, which are primates.

Genetic studies have shown that the closest relatives of the olingos are actually the coatis; the divergence between the two groups is estimated to have occurred about 10.2 million years (Ma) ago during the Tortonian age, while kinkajous split off from the other extant procyonids about 22.6 Ma ago during the Aquitanian age. The similarities between kinkajous and olingos are thus an example of parallel evolution.


Bassariscus is a genus in the family Procyonidae. There are two species in the genus: the ring-tailed cat or ringtail (B. astutus) and the cacomistle (B. sumichrasti). Genetic studies have indicated that the closest relatives of Bassariscus are raccoons, from which they diverged about 10 million years ago. The two lineages of Bassariscus are thought to have separated after only another two million years, making it the extant procyonid genus with the earliest diversification.

The name is a Greek word for fox ("bassaris") with a Latinized diminutive ending ("-iscus"). The genus was first described by Elliott Coues in 1887. He proposed the word "bassarisk" as the English term for animals in this genus. Its habitat includes semi-arid areas in the southwestern United States, the whole of Mexico, as well as moist tropical forests in Central America.

Bite force quotient

Bite force quotient (BFQ) is the regression of the quotient of an animal's bite force in newtons divided by its body mass in kilograms.


The cacomistle, Bassariscus sumichrasti, is a nocturnal, arboreal and omnivorous member of the carnivoran family Procyonidae. Its preferred habitats are wet, tropical, evergreen woodlands and mountain forests, though seasonally it will venture into drier deciduous forests.

Nowhere in its range (from southern Mexico to western Panama) is B. sumichrasti common. This is especially true in Costa Rica, where it inhabits only a very small area. It is completely dependent on forest habitat, making it particularly susceptible to deforestation.

The term cacomistle is from the Nahuatl language (tlahcomiztli) and means "half cat" or "half mountain lion"; it is sometimes also used to refer to the ringtail, Bassariscus astutus, a similar species that inhabits arid northern Mexico and the American Southwest.


Coatis, also known as the coatimundis (), are members of the raccoon family (Procyonidae) in the genera Nasua and Nasuella. They are diurnal mammals native to South America, Central America, and southwestern North America. The name coatimundi is purportedly derived from the Tupian languages of Brazil.The coati is also known in English as the hog-nosed coon.

Eastern lowland olingo

The eastern lowland olingo (Bassaricyon alleni) is a species of olingo from South America, where it is known from the lowlands east of the Andes in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru and Venezuela. It is the only olingo species found east of the Andes. The Latin species name honors Joel Asaph Allen, the American zoologist who first described the genus Bassaricyon.

Guadeloupe raccoon

The Guadeloupe raccoon (Procyon lotor minor) is a common raccoon endemic on the two main islands Basse-Terre Island and Grande-Terre of Guadeloupe in the Lesser Antilles.


The kinkajou ( KING-kə-joo) (Potos flavus) is a tropical rainforest mammal of the family Procyonidae related to olingos, coatis, raccoons, and the ringtail and cacomistle. It is the only member of the genus Potos and is also known as the "honey bear" (a name that it shares with the sun bear). Kinkajous are arboreal, a lifestyle they evolved independently; they are not closely related to any other tree-dwelling mammal group (e.g. primates, some mustelids, etc).

Native to Central America and South America, this mostly frugivorous mammal is not an endangered species, though it is seldom seen by people because of its strict nocturnal habits. However, they are hunted for the pet trade, for their fur (to make wallets and horse saddles) and for their meat. The species has been included in Appendix III of CITES by Honduras, which means that exports from Honduras require an export permit and exports from other countries require a certificate of origin or re-export. They may live up to 40 years in captivity.

List of species protected by CITES Appendix III

This is a list of species of plants and animals protected by Appendix III of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, commonly abbreviated as CITES. There are no fungi listed in any appendix.

List of species protected by CITES Appendix I

List of species protected by CITES Appendix II


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


Nasua is a genus of coatis of the family Procyonidae. Two additional species of coatis, commonly known as mountain coatis, are placed in the genus Nasuella.


Mountain coatis are two species of procyonid mammals from the genus Nasuella. Unlike the larger coatis from the genus Nasua, mountain coatis only weigh 1.0–1.5 kilograms (2.2–3.3 lb) and are endemic to the north Andean highlands in South America.

Nasuella meridensis

The eastern mountain coati or eastern dwarf coati (Nasuella meridensis) is a small procyonid found in cloud forest and páramo at altitudes of 2,000–4,000 metres (6,600–13,100 ft) in the Andes of western Venezuela. Until 2009, it was usually included as a subspecies of the western mountain coati, but the eastern mountain coati is overall smaller, somewhat shorter-tailed on average, has markedly smaller teeth, a paler olive-brown pelage, and usually a dark mid-dorsal stripe on the back (versus more rufescent or blackish, and usually without a dark mid-dorsal stripe in the western mountain coati). When the two were combined, they were rated as Data Deficient by the IUCN, but following the split the eastern mountain coati is considered endangered.

Nasuella olivacea

The western mountain coati or western dwarf coati (Nasuella olivacea) is a small procyonid, found in cloud forest and páramo at altitudes of 1,300–4,250 metres (4,270–13,940 ft) in the Andes of Colombia and Ecuador. A population discovered in the Apurímac–Cuzco region of southern Peru (more than 1,000 km or 620 mi south of the previous distribution limit) has tentatively been identified as the western mountain coati, but may represent an undescribed taxon.Until 2009, the western mountain coati (then simply known as the mountain coati) usually included the eastern mountain coati as a subspecies, but that species is overall smaller, somewhat shorter-tailed on average, has markedly smaller teeth, a paler olive-brown pelage, and usually a dark mid-dorsal stripe on the back (versus more rufescent or blackish, and usually without a dark mid-dorsal stripe in the western mountain coati). When the two were combined, they were rated as Data Deficient by the IUCN, but following the split the western mountain coati is considered Near Threatened.There are two subspecies of the western mountain coati: N. o. olivacea and the slightly smaller and darker N. o. quitensis with less distinct rings on the tail. The former is known from Colombia and the latter from Ecuador, but the exact distribution limit between the two is not known.


The olinguito , Bassaricyon neblina, is a mammal of the raccoon family Procyonidae that lives in montane forests in the Andes of western Colombia and Ecuador. The species was described as new in 2013. The species name neblina is Spanish for fog or mist, referring to the cloud forest habitat of the olinguito.On 22 May 2014 the International Institute for Species Exploration declared the olinguito as one of the "Top 10 New Species of 2014" among species discovered in 2013. It is the first new carnivoran mammal described in the Western Hemisphere in 35 years.

Procyon (genus)

Procyon is a genus of nocturnal mammals, comprising three species commonly known as raccoons, in the family Procyonidae. The most familiar species, the common raccoon (P. lotor), is often known simply as "the" raccoon, as the two other raccoon species in the genus are native only to the tropics and less well known. Genetic studies have shown that the closest relatives of raccoons are the ring-tailed cats and cacomistles of genus Bassariscus, from which they diverged about 10 million years ago.


Procyonidae is a New World family of the order Carnivora. It comprises the raccoons, coatis, kinkajous, olingos, olinguitos, ringtails, and cacomistles. Procyonids inhabit a wide range of environments and are generally omnivorous.

South American coati

The South American coati or ring-tailed coati (Nasua nasua) is a species of coati and a member of the raccoon family (Procyonidae), from tropical and subtropical South America. In Brazilian Portuguese, it is known as quati. An adult generally weighs 2–7.2 kg (4.4–15.9 lb) and is 85–113 cm (33–44 in) long, with half of that being its tail. Its color is highly variable and the rings on the tail may be only somewhat visible, but its distinguishing characteristic is that it lacks the largely white snout (or "nose") of its northern relative, the white-nosed coati.

Western lowland olingo

The western lowland olingo (Bassaricyon medius) is a species of olingo from Central and South America, where it is known from Panama and from Colombia and Ecuador west of the Andes.

Extant species of family Procyonidae
Extant Carnivora species

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.