The olinguito /oʊlɪŋˈɡiːtoʊ/[3], 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.[2]

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.[4][5]

Olinguito ZooKeys 324, solo
Scientific classification
B. neblina
Binomial name
Bassaricyon neblina
Helgen, 2013[2]
ZooKeys-distribution of B. neblina


The olinguito is distinct from the other species within the genus, popularly known as "olingos", and also from the kinkajou (kinkajous resemble olingos, but are not closely related).[2][6] Its average weight is 900 grams (2 lb), making it the smallest procyonid.[3][7][8] The animal is an omnivorous frugivore[9] that eats mainly fruits (such as figs), but also insects and nectar; this diet results in feces the size of small blueberries.[8][10] The olinguito is thought to be solitary, nocturnal[9]:29:30 and moderately reclusive. Olinguitos appear to be strictly arboreal.[2][9] They have a single pair of mammae, and probably produce a single offspring at a time.[2][8][9]

Distribution and habitat

Specimens of the species have been identified from the Andean cloud forest stretching from western Colombia to Ecuador, at elevations of 5,000 to 9,000 feet, which is the highest known range of any member of the genus Bassaricyon.[8][11][12] Its discovery was confirmed in the wild[2][7] and announced on 15 August 2013.[7][9] The species is not considered to be immediately at risk,[7] but it is estimated that over 40 percent of the animal's potential range has been deforested.[7][10]


ZooKeys - Bassaricyon neblina
Bassaricyon neblina, illustrated by Nancy Halliday, 2013

Its discovery was announced on 15 August 2013 by Kristofer Helgen, the curator of mammals at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, olingo expert Roland Kays of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and collaborators.[7][9][11][13][14] Helgen discovered specimens of the species in storage at The Field Museum in Chicago and used DNA testing to confirm a new species.[8]

The researchers who identified the species were unable to discover any local names specific to it.[9]

The discovery was the first identification of a new mammal species of the order Carnivora[note 1][9] in the Americas in 35 years.[7][9] Olinguitos were regularly seen and even publicly exhibited decades before they were recognized as members of a new species. The animal had previously been confused with its taxonomic cousins, the olingos. One such example was Ringerl, an olinguito who lived in the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., for a year and also toured many other zoos.[9][15] Researchers unsuccessfully tried to breed her with olingos, not realizing she was a different species.[9] Ringerl died in 1976.[3]

Taxonomic evaluation

The olinguito is smaller than the other species in the genus Bassaricyon.[7] Its body (head to rump) is approximately 355 mm (14.0 in) long, and its tail 335–424 mm (13.2–16.7 in) long.[2] It is also much furrier and has a shorter tail and smaller ears than others that share its genus.[15] The olinguito is found in the northern Andes at altitudes between 1,500 and 2,750 metres (4,920 and 9,020 ft)[2] above sea level, which is much higher than the habitats for other olingos.[10]

Based on morphological distinctions, four olinguito subspecies have been described: the nominate Bassaricyon neblina neblina, and B. n. osborni, B. n. hershkovitzi, and B. n. ruber.[2] Each of these subspecies, though, were found to have a dental formula characteristic of other members of the family Procyonidae.[16]


Comparison of DNA from two olinguito subspecies to other olingo and related species was carried out on the basis of genetic dissimilarity derived from Kimura modeling of differences in base-pair composition of mitochondrial cytochrome b. The genetic divergence between olinguitos and other olingos makes olinguitos a sister lineage to the rest of the genus, and is equivalent to differences between species which have been assigned to separate subgenera or genera.[2] This split apparently occurred about 3.5 million years ago, suggesting that the earliest diversification of the genus took place in northwestern South America shortly after the ancestors of olingos first invaded the continent from Central America as part of the Great American Interchange.[2]


The olinguito may be at risk in the future due to deforestation and urbanization (“The researchers reporting its discovery estimated that 42% of suitable historic olinguito habitat had already been converted to agriculture or urban areas and an additional 21% remained in natural but largely unforested conditions…”). Since the natural habitat of the olinguito is at higher elevations, this means that its "cloud forest habitat" definitely needs to be protected in order to optimize this species' probability of survival. As of now, no strict efforts are known to be in place in order to reduce habitat destruction.[17]


  1. ^ The olinguito is omnivorous: not all carnivoran species are carnivores. (Further explanation may be found in the linked articles, including carnivoran diet specializations.)


  1. ^ Helgen, K.; Kays, R.; Pinto, C.; Schipper, J.; González-Maya, J.F. (2016). "Bassaricyon neblina". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2016: e.T48637280A48637420. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-1.RLTS.T48637280A48637420.en. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Helgen, Kristofer M.; Pinto, C. Miguel; Kays, Roland; Helgen, Lauren E.; Tsuchiya, Mirian T. N.; Quinn, Aleta; Wilson, Don E.; Maldonado, Jesús E. (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. Retrieved 22 January 2015.
  3. ^ a b c Borenstein, Seth (15 August 2013). "Adorable New Mammal Species Found 'In Plain Sight'". ABC News. Archived from the original on 16 August 2013. Retrieved 15 August 2013.
  4. ^ "Clean Room Microbes: Alien Invaders? Top 10 New Species of 2014". State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Archived from the original on 24 May 2014. Retrieved 23 May 2014.
  5. ^ "Top 10 New Species of 2013 Announced". Sci-News.com. 22 May 2014. Retrieved 23 May 2014.
  6. ^ Koepfli, Klaus-Peter; Gompper, Matthew E.; Eizirik, Eduardo; Ho, Cheuk-Chung; Linden, Leif; Maldonado, Jesus E.; Wayne, Robert K. (2007). "Phylogeny of the Procyonidae (Mammalia: Carnivora): Molecules, morphology and the Great American Interchange". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 43 (3): 1076–95. CiteSeerX doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2006.10.003. PMID 17174109.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h Stromberg, Joseph (15 August 2013). "For the First Time in 35 Years, A New Carnivorous Mammal Species is Discovered in the American Continents". Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved 15 August 2013.
  8. ^ a b c d e O'Brien, Jane (15 August 2013). "Olinguito: 'Overlooked' mammal carnivore is major discovery". BBC News. Retrieved 15 August 2013.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Kays, Roland (main speaker) (15 August 2013). Olinguitos (Press conference: video livestream). North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.
  10. ^ a b c Landau, Elizabeth (15 August 2013). "New cute furry mammal species discovered". CNN. Retrieved 15 August 2013.
  11. ^ a b Kim, Meeri (16 August 2013). "Smithsonian unearths a new species of mammal: The olinguito". Washington Post. Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  12. ^ "New mammal discovered in Andean cloud forest". CBC News. 15 August 2013.
  13. ^ Morgan, Debra; Owens, Gerald; Lynn, Tara (15 August 2013). Basiouny, Angie, ed. "New animal discovered in Andes". WRAL. Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  14. ^ "A new mammal. Peekaboo". The Economist. 17 August 2013. Retrieved 15 August 2013.
  15. ^ a b Sample, Ian (15 August 2013). "Carnivore 'teddy bear' emerges from the mists of Ecuador". Guardian.
  16. ^ Russell, James (1984). The Encyclopedia of Mammals (Macdonald, D. ed.). New York: Facts on File. pp. 98–99. ISBN 978-0-87196-871-5.
  17. ^ Shapiro, Leo (2013). "Bassaricyon neblina". Encyclopedia of Life. Retrieved 7 December 2014.

External links


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.


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.

Cecilia Velástegui

Cecilia Velástegui (born September 29, 1953) is an American author who lives in Monarch Beach, California. As an author, she has been collected by libraries.


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.


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 carnivorans described in the 2000s

This page is a list of species of the order Carnivora discovered in the 2000s. The order also contains animals once classified separately in Pinnipedia. See also parent page Mammals discovered in the 2000s.

List of mammals described in the 2000s

Although the mammals are well studied in comparison to other animal groups, a number of new species are still being discovered. This list includes extant mammal species discovered, formally named, or brought to public light in the year 2000 or later. Notable subspecies are also included, as are mammals rediscovered after being declared, or seriously suspected to be, extinct.

Newly discovered fossils are not included.


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.

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), 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, 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. Its scientific name honors William More Gabb, who collected the first specimen. It is native to Central America.

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

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