Sunda leopard cat

The Sunda leopard cat (Prionailurus javanensis) is a small wild cat species native to the Sundaland islands of Java, Bali, Borneo, Sumatra and the Philippines that is considered distinct from the leopard cat occurring in mainland South and Southeast Asia.[1][2]

Sunda leopard cat
Blacan Indonesia
Sunda leopard cat in Borneo
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Suborder: Feliformia
Family: Felidae
Subfamily: Felinae
Genus: Prionailurus
Species:
P. javanensis
Binomial name
Prionailurus javanensis
(Desmarest, 1816)
SundaLeopardCat distribution
Distribution of Sunda leopard cat

Characteristics

Desmarest described the Sunda leopard cat from Java as a little smaller than the domestic cat with brown round spots on grey-brown coloured fur above and whitish underneath, a line from above each eye towards the back and longish spots on the back. He noted the similarity to the leopard cat from India.[3] Like all Prionailurus species it has rounded ears.[4] Like its mainland relative, the Sunda leopard cat is slender, with long legs and well-defined webs between its toes. Its small head is marked with two prominent dark stripes and a short and narrow white muzzle. There are two dark stripes running from the eyes to the ears, and smaller white streaks running from the eyes to the nose. The backs of its moderately long and rounded ears are black with central white spots. Body and limbs are marked with black spots of varying size and color, and along its back are three rows of elongated spots that join into complete stripes in some subspecies. The tail is about half the size of its head-body length and is spotted with a few indistinct rings near the black tip. The background color of the spotted fur varies from light grey to ochre tawny, with a white chest and belly. There are two main variants in the coloration.[2] The cats from Java, Bali and Palawan are a light grey, sometimes yellow-grey, with very small spots that may not be clearly defined. The three spotted lines along the back do not from complete stripes and are close together. Those from Sumatra, Borneo and Negros have a warm ochre toned background color and larger well-distinguished spots. The three longitudinal spot-lines are usually fused into stripes. Sunda leopard cats weigh 0.55 to 3.8 kg (1.2 to 8.4 lb), have head-body lengths of 38.8 to 66 cm (15.3 to 26.0 in) and tails about 40-50% of that length.[2][5]

Distribution and habitat

In the Sundaland islands, the leopard cat inhabits Java, Bali, Borneo, Sumatra and Tebingtinggi, Palawan, Negros, Cebu and Panay.[2] Its natural habitat is lowland tropical evergreen forest, but it has also adapted to human-modified landscapes with suitable vegetation cover, and inhabits agricultural areas such as rubber, oil palm, and sugarcane plantations.[5][6]

In Sabah's Tabin Wildlife Reserve leopard cats had average home ranges of 3.5 km2 (1.4 sq mi).[7]

Taxonomy and evolution

In the 19th and 20th centuries, several leopard cat zoological specimens from the Sunda islands were described:

Results of a phylogeographical study indicate that the Sunda leopard cat lineage diverged in the Middle Pleistocene. The Borneo population is thought to have expanded to Sumatra and the Philippines island of Palawan after the Toba eruption, when these islands were connected during the late Pleistocene glaciation. Since leopard cats in Palawan and Negros show low genetic differentiation, it is possible that humans introduced the leopard cat from Palawan to Negros and adjacent islands.[10] Based on these results, two Sunda leopard cat subspecies are recognised, namely P. j. javanensis and P. j. sumatranus.[1]

Ecology and behaviour

Leopard cats photographed by camera-traps in an oil palm plantation in central Kalimantan were active from late afternoon to early morning and preyed foremost on ricefield rats and other rodents.[11] Nine radio-collared leopard cats in Sabah used predominantly oil palm plantations and also logged dipterocarp forest adjacent to the Tabin Wildlife Reserve. They preyed foremost on Whitehead's spiny rat, dark-tailed tree rat, long-tailed giant rat, lizards, snakes and frogs.[12]

Scats collected of leopard cats in sugarcane fields in Negros island indicate that they feed foremost on rodents such as house mouse, Polynesian rat, ricefield rat and Tanezumi rat.[13] To a lesser extent, they also prey on amphibians, geckos, lizards and passerine birds occurring in these sugarcane fields.[6]

In western Java, leopard cats were encountered close to human settlements and resting on the ground.[14]

References

  1. ^ a b Kitchener, A. C., Breitenmoser-Würsten, C., Eizirik, E., Gentry, A., Werdelin, L., Wilting A., Yamaguchi, N., Abramov, A. V., Christiansen, P., Driscoll, C., Duckworth, J. W., Johnson, W., Luo, S.-J., Meijaard, E., O’Donoghue, P., Sanderson, J., Seymour, K., Bruford, M., Groves, C., Hoffmann, M., Nowell, K., Timmons, Z. & Tobe, S. (2017). "A revised taxonomy of the Felidae: The final report of the Cat Classification Task Force of the IUCN Cat Specialist Group" (PDF). Cat News. Special Issue 11: 26–29.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  2. ^ a b c d e f Groves, C. P. (1997). "Leopard-cats, Prionailurus bengalensis (Carnivora: Felidae) from Indonesia and the Philippines, with the description of two new subspecies". Zeitschrift für Säugetierkunde. 62: 330–338.
  3. ^ a b Desmarest, A. G. (1816). "Le Chat de Java, Felis javanensis Nob.". In Société de naturalistes et d'agriculteurs. Nouveau dictionnaire d'histoire naturelle, appliquée aux arts, à l'agriculture, à l'économie rurale et domestique, à la médecine. Tome 6. Paris: Chez Deterville. p. 115.
  4. ^ Pocock, R. I. (1939). "Genus Prionailurus Severtzow". The fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Mammalia. – Volume 1. London: Taylor and Francis. pp. 265–284.
  5. ^ a b Sunquist, M.; Sunquist, F. (2002). "Leopard cat Prionailurus bengalensis (Kerr, 1792)". Wild cats of the World. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. pp. 225–232. ISBN 0-226-77999-8.
  6. ^ a b Lorica, M. R. P.; Heaney, L. R. (2013). "Survival of a native mammalian carnivore, the leopard cat Prionailurus bengalensis Kerr, 1792 (Carnivora: Felidae), in an agricultural landscape on an oceanic Philippine island". Journal of Threatened Taxa. 5 (10): 4451–4460. doi:10.11609/JoTT.o3352.4451-60. ISSN 0974-7907.
  7. ^ Rajaratnam, R. (2000). Ecology of the leopard cat Prionailurus bengalensis in Tabin Wildlife Reserve, Sabah, Malaysia. Bangi: PhD Thesis, Universiti Kabangsaan Malaysia.
  8. ^ Horsfield T. (1821). Zoological researches in Java and the neighbouring islands. London: Kingbury, Parbury and Allen.
  9. ^ Brongersma, L. D. (1935). "Notes on some Recent and fossil cats, chiefly from the Malay archipelago". Zoologische Mededelingen. 18: 1−89.
  10. ^ Patel, R.P., Wutke, S., Lenz, D., Mukherjee, S., Ramakrishnan, U., Veron, G., Fickel, J., Wilting, A., Förster, D. (2017). "Genetic Structure and Phylogeography of the Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) Inferred from Mitochondrial Genomes". Journal of Heredity. 108 (4): 349−360. doi:10.1093/jhered/esx017.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  11. ^ Silmi, M.; Anggara, S. & Dahlen, B. (2013). "Using leopard cats (Prionailurus bengalensis) as biological pest control of rats in a palm oil plantation". Journal of Indonesia Natural History 1 (1): 31–36.
  12. ^ Rajaratnam, R.; Sunquist, M.; Rajaratnam, L.; Ambu, L. (2007). "Diet and habitat selection of the leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis borneoensis) in an agricultural landscape in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo". Journal of Tropical Ecology (23): 209–217.
  13. ^ Fernandez, D.A.P. & de Guia, A.P.O. (2011). "Feeding habits of Visayan leopard cats (Prionailurus bengalensis rabori) in sugarcane fields of Negros Occidental, Philippines". Asian International Journal of Life Sciences 20 (1): 141–152.
  14. ^ Rode-Margono, E. J.; Voskamp, A.; Spaan, D.; Lehtinen, J. K.; Roberts, P. D.; Nijman, V. & Nekaris, K. A. I. (2014). "Records of small carnivores and of medium-sized nocturnal mammals on Java, Indonesia". Small Carnivore Conservation 50: 1–11.

External links

Felidae

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.

Felinae

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.

Leopard cat

The leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) is a small wild cat native to continental South, Southeast and East Asia. Since 2002 it has been listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List as it is widely distributed although threatened by habitat loss and hunting in parts of its range.Historically, the leopard cat of continental Asia was considered the same species as the Sunda leopard cat. As of 2017, the latter is recognised as a distinct species, with the taxonomic name Prionailurus javanensis.Leopard cat subspecies differ widely in fur colour, tail length, skull shape and size of carnassials.

Archaeological evidence indicates that the leopard cat was the first cat species domesticated in Neolithic China about 5,000 years ago in Shaanxi and Henan Provinces.

List of felids

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 or feline. The term "cat" refers both to felids in general and specifically to domestic cats. 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.Felidae comprises two subfamilies, the Pantherinae and the Felinae. The former includes the five Panthera species tiger, lion, jaguar, leopard, and snow leopard, as well as the two Neofelis species clouded leopard and Sunda clouded leopard. The Felinae subfamily includes 12 genera and 34 species, such as the bobcat, caracal, cheetah, cougar, ocelot, and common domestic cat.Traditionally, five subfamilies have been distinguished within the Felidae based on phenotypical features: the Felinae, the Pantherinae, the Acinonychinae (cheetahs), the extinct Machairodontinae, and the extinct Proailurinae. Molecular phylogenetic analysis suggests that living (extant) felids fall into eight lineages (clades). The placement of the cheetah within the Puma lineage invalidates the traditional subfamily Acinonychinae, and recent sources use only two subfamilies for extant genera. The number of accepted species in Felidae has been around 40 since the 18th century, though research, especially modern molecular phylogenetic analysis, has over time adjusted the generally accepted genera as well as the divisions between recognized subspecies, species, and population groups. In addition to the extant species listed here, over 30 fossil genera have been described; these are divided into the Felinae, Pantherinae, Proailurinae, and Machairodontinae subfamilies. This final subfamily includes the Smilodon genus, known as the "saber-toothed tiger", which went extinct around 10,000 years ago. The earliest known felid genus is the Proailurus, part of Proailurinae, which lived approximately 25 million years ago.

List of mammals of Sumatra

This is a list of mammal species found in the Sumatra, Indonesia.

List of species in order Carnivora

This list contains the species in order Carnivora.

Prionailurus

Prionailurus is a genus of spotted, small wild cats native to Asia. Forests are their preferred habitat; they feed on small mammals, reptiles and birds, some also on aquatic wildlife.

Visayan leopard cat

The Visayan leopard cat is a Sunda leopard cat (Prionailurus javanensis sumatranus) population in the Philippine Islands of Negros, Cebu and Panay. It has been listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List in 2008 under its former scientific name P. bengalensis rabori as its range is estimated to be less than 20,000 km2 (7,700 sq mi).

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