Viverrinae

The Viverrinae represent the largest subfamily within the Viverridae comprising five genera, which are subdivided into 22 species native to Africa and Southeast Asia.[1] This subfamily was denominated and first described by John Edward Gray in 1864.[2]

Viverrinae
AfricanCivet
African civet (Civettictis civetta)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Suborder: Feliformia
Family: Viverridae
Subfamily: Viverrinae
Gray, 1864
Genera

Civettictis
Genetta
Poiana
Viverra
Viverricula

Taxonomic history

Genette-drawing
Common genets
GenettaVictoriaeSmit
Giant forest genet
ViverraMegaspilaKeulemans
Large-spotted civet
Viverricula indica schlegelii 1868
Small Indian civet

Gray defined the Viverrinae as comprising the genera Proteles, Viverra, Bassaris and Viverricula. He subordinated the genera Genetta and Fossa to the Genettina, the genera Prionodon and Poiana to the Prionodontinae.[2] Reginald Innes Pocock suggested that the African genets (Genetta) are also most nearly related to the Viverrinae, but should perhaps form a separate subfamily.[3] William King Gregory and Milo Hellman placed the Viverra, Viverricula, Civettictis, Genetta, Osbornictis, Poiana and the North-American eucreodine genera Didymictis and Viverravus of the Eocene into this viverrid subfamily.[4] Ellerman and Morrison-Scott also included the genus Prionodon.[5]

DNA analysis based on 29 Carnivora species comprising 13 Viverrinae species and three species representing Paradoxurus, Paguma and Hemigalinae supports the placement of Prionodon in the monogeneric family Prionodontidae as the sister-group of the Felidae. These investigations also clarified the controversial issue of the boundaries of this subfamily supporting the Viverrinae as being constituted by two monophyletic groups, namely the terrestrial civets CivettictisViverraViverricula and PoianaGenetta.[6]

At present, the Viverrinae comprise:[1]

Characteristics

Viverrina species have a robust body. There is a deep pouch for secreting in the form of a deep cavity on each side of the anus. The back of the hind feet is hairy except the pad of the toes and the metatarsus.[2] The digitigrade feet are adapted for movement on the ground. The cushion-like indistinctly subdivided plantar pad and the pads of digits 2 to 4 are alone applied to the ground. The first digit is small and set well above the plantar pad, and constitutes a practically functionless "dew-claw". The dental formula is: 3.1.4.23.1.4.2.[3]

The outstanding characteristics of the modern Viverrinae are the high development of the perineal scent glands, the marked anteroposterior elongation of the entotympanic chamber of the compound bulla and the carnassial form of the cheek-teeth.[4]

They have excellent hearing and vision. Their flesh-shearing carnassial teeth are relatively undeveloped.[7]

Viverrids are amongst the primitive families of the Carnivora, with skeletons very similar to those of fossils dating back to the Eocene, up to 50 million years ago. They are variable in form, but generally resemble long-nosed cats. Most have retractile or partially retractile claws, a baculum.

The Viverrinae range in size from the African linsang with a body length of 33 cm (13 in) and a weight of 650 g (1.43 lb) to the African civet at 84 cm (33 in) and 18 kg (40 lb).

Distribution and ecology

This subfamily is found throughout the Oriental region, and is represented in Africa by the African civet (Civettictis civetta).[3] The common genet (Genetta genetta) is considered to have been introduced to Europe and the Balearic islands, and occurs in all of continental Portugal, Spain and most of France.[8]

They are generally solitary and omnivorous, despite their placement in the order Carnivora.[7]

References

  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. 548–559. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  2. ^ a b c Gray, J. E. (1864). A revision of the genera and species of viverrine animals (Viverridae), founded on the collection in the British Museum. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London for the year 1864: 502–579.
  3. ^ a b c Pocock, R. I. (1939). The fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Mammalia. – Volume 1. Taylor and Francis, London.
  4. ^ a b Gregory, W. K., and M. Hellman. (1939). On the evolution and major classification of the civets (Viverridae) and allied fossil and recent Carnivora: Phylogenetic study of the skull and dentition. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 81 (3): 309–392.
  5. ^ Ellerman, J. R., Morrison-Scott, T. C. S. (1966). Checklist of Palaearctic and Indian mammals 1758 to 1946. Second edition. British Museum of Natural History, London.
  6. ^ Gaubert, P. and Veron, G. (2003). "Exhaustive sample set among Viverridae reveals the sister-group of felids: the linsangs as a case of extreme morphological convergence within Feliformia". Proceedings of the Royal Society, Series B, 270 (1532): 2523–2530. doi:10.1098/rspb.2003.2521
  7. ^ a b Wozencraft, W. C. (1984). Macdonald, D, ed. The Encyclopedia of Mammals. New York: Facts on File. pp. 134–135. ISBN 978-0-87196-871-5.
  8. ^ Delibes, M. (1999). Genetta genetta. In: A. J. Mitchell-Jones, G. Amori, W. Bogdanowicz, B. Kryštufek, P. J. H. Reijnders, F. Spitzenberger, M. Stubbe, J. B. M. Thissen, V. Vohralík, and J. Zima (eds.) The Atlas of European Mammals. Academic Press, London, UK
African civet

The African civet (; Civettictis civetta) is a large viverrid native to sub-Saharan Africa, where it is considered common and widely distributed in woodlands and secondary forests. It is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List since 2008. In some countries, it is threatened by hunting, and wild-caught individuals are kept for producing civetone for the perfume industry.The African civet is primarily nocturnal and spends the day sleeping in dense vegetation, but wakes up at sunset. It is a solitary mammal with a unique coloration: the black and white stripes and blotches covering its coarse pelage are an effective cryptic pattern. The black bands surrounding its eyes closely resemble those of the raccoon. Other distinguishing features are its disproportionately large hindquarters and its erectile dorsal crest. It is an omnivorous generalist, preying on small vertebrates, invertebrates, eggs, carrion, and vegetable matter. It is capable of killing venomous invertebrates and snakes. Prey is primarily detected by smell and sound rather than by sight. It is the sole member of its genus.

Aquatic genet

The aquatic genet (Genetta piscivora) is a genet that has only been recorded in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Since it is only known from about 30 specimens in zoological collections, it had been listed as Data Deficient on the IUCN Red List since 1996, as it is considered one of Africa's rarest carnivores. In 2015, it has been reassessed as Near Threatened.When Allen described the aquatic genet as a new genus and species in 1919, he named it Osbornictis piscivora. It was reassessed in 2004, and based on molecular evidence is now considered a Genetta species.

Asiatic linsang

The Asiatic linsang (Prionodon) is a genus comprising two species native to Southeast Asia: the banded linsang (Prionodon linsang) and the spotted linsang (Prionodon pardicolor). Prionodon is considered a sister taxon of the Felidae.

Bourlon's genet

Bourlon's genet (Genetta bourloni) is a genet species native to the Upper Guinean forests. It is known from only 29 zoological specimens in natural history museum and has been described as a new Genetta species in 2003.

It is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List as the global population is estimated at less than 10,000 mature individuals.

Cape genet

The Cape genet (Genetta tigrina), also known as the South African large-spotted genet, is a genet species endemic to South Africa. As it is common and not threatened, it is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.

Like other genets, it is nocturnal and arboreal, preferring to live in the riparian zones of forests, as long as these are not marshy areas.

Civet

A civet is a small, lithe-bodied, mostly nocturnal mammal native to tropical Asia and Africa, especially the tropical forests. The term civet applies to over a dozen different mammal species. Most of the species diversity is found in southeast Asia. The best-known civet species is the African civet, Civettictis civetta, which historically has been the main species from which was obtained a musky scent used in perfumery. The word civet may also refer to the distinctive musky scent produced by the animals.

A minority of writers use "civet" to refer only to Civettictis, Viverra and Viverricula civets. But in more common usage in English, the name also covers Chrotogale, Cynogale, Diplogale, Hemigalus, Arctogalidia, Macrogalidia, Paguma, and Paradoxurus civets.

Common genet

The common genet (Genetta genetta) is a small viverrid indigenous to Africa that was introduced to southwestern Europe and the Balearic Islands. As it is widely distributed north of the Sahara, in savanna zones south of the Sahara to southern Africa and along the coast of Arabia, Yemen and Oman, it is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.

Haussa genet

The Haussa genet (Genetta thierryi) is a genet species native to West African savannas. It is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.Haussa genets have been sighted in Senegal's wooded steppes, in moist woodlands in Guinea-Bissau, and in rainforest in Sierra Leone, Ghana and Ivory Coast.

Hemigalinae

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:

Hemigalus

Chrotogale

Cynogale

Diplogale

Johnston's genet

Johnston's genet (Genetta johnstoni) is a genet species native to the Upper Guinean forests. As it is threatened by deforestation and conversion of rainforest to agriculturally and industrially used land, it is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.It is considered one of West Africa's least known carnivores, and until the turn of the century was known only from museum collections. In January 2000, a dead individual was found near the Taï National Park in Côte d'Ivoire. In July of the same year, the first live individual known to science was trapped.In 2011, it was recorded for the first time in Dindefelo Nature Reserve, a protected area in southeastern Senegal.

King genet

The king genet (Genetta poensis) is a small carnivoran native to the Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Liberia, Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire. As it has not been recorded since 1946, it is listed as Data Deficient on the IUCN Red List. It probably inhabits only tropical rainforest.

Large Indian civet

The large Indian civet (Viverra zibetha) is a civet native to South and Southeast Asia. It is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List. The global population is considered decreasing mainly because of trapping-driven declines in heavily hunted and fragmented areas, notably in China, and the heavy trade as wild meat.

Linsang

Linsangs is an originally Javanese name applied to four species of tree-dwelling carnivorous mammals. The two African species belong to the family Viverridae, the two Asiatic species belong to the family Prionodontidae.

Both linsang genera (the African Poiana and the Asian Prionodon) were formerly placed in the subfamily Viverrinae (of Viverridae), along with several other genera, but recent research suggests that their actual relationships may be somewhat different. The linsangs are remarkable for their morphological resemblance to cats, family Felidae, which is greater than in the other viverrids. As the relationship between linsangs and cats was thought to be rather distant (the two groups belonging to different families within the superfamily Feliformia), this was considered an example of convergent evolution. However, DNA analysis indicates that while the African linsangs (Poiana) are true viverrids closely related to the genets, the Asiatic linsangs (Prionodon) are not and may instead be the closest living relatives of the family Felidae. The similarities between Asiatic linsangs and cats are thus more likely to be due to common ancestry, while the similarities between the two genera of linsangs must be convergent.

The name linsang is from Javanese linsang or wlinsang, which used to be wrongly translated as "otter" in English dictionaries. Linsangs are nocturnal, generally solitary tree dwellers. They are carnivorous, eating squirrels and other rodents, small birds, lizards and insects. Typical size is a little over 30 cm (1 foot), with a tail that more than doubles that length. Bodies are long, with short legs, giving a low appearance. Both species have yellowish bodies with black markings (stripes, blotches and spots), though the distribution and nature of the markings varies between the two species.

The species of African linsangs are:

Poiana leightoni - Leighton's linsang

Poiana richardsonii - African linsangThe species of Asiatic linsangs are:

Prionodon linsang - banded linsang

Prionodon pardicolor - spotted linsang

List of species in order Carnivora

This list contains the species in order Carnivora.

Lutrogale

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

Poiana (genus)

The African linsangs also known as oyans are two species classified in the mammalian subfamily Viverrinae, in the family Viverridae. There is one genus, Poiana.

Both linsang genera (Poiana and the Asian Prionodon) were formerly placed in the subfamily Viverrinae (of Viverridae), along with several other genera, but recent research suggests that their actual relationships may be somewhat different. The linsangs are remarkable for their morphological resemblance to cats, family Felidae, which is greater than in the other viverrids. As the relationship between linsangs and cats was thought to be rather distant (the two groups belonging to different families within the superfamily Feliformia), this was considered an example of convergent evolution. However, DNA analysis indicates that while the African linsangs (Poiana) are true viverrids closely related to the genets, the Asiatic linsangs (Prionodon) are not and may instead be the closest living relatives of the family Felidae. The similarities between Asiatic linsangs and cats are thus more likely to be due to common ancestry, while the similarities between the two genera of linsangs must be convergent.

The name linsang is from Javanese linsang or wlinsang, which used to be wrongly translated as "otter" in English dictionaries. Linsangs are nocturnal, generally solitary tree dwellers. They are carnivorous, eating squirrels and other rodents, small birds, lizards and insects. Typical size is a little over 30 cm (1 foot), with a tail that more than doubles that length. Bodies are long, with short legs, giving a low appearance. Both species have yellowish bodies with black markings (stripes, blotches and spots), though the distribution and nature of the markings varies between the two species.

The species of African linsangs are:

Poiana leightoni - West African oyan

Poiana richardsonii - Central African oyan

Small Indian civet

The small Indian civet (Viverricula indica) is a civet native to South and Southeast Asia. It is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List because of its widespread distribution, widespread habitat use and healthy populations living in agricultural and secondary landscapes of many range states.The small Indian civet is a monotypic genus.

Viverra

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.

Viverridae

Viverridae is a family of small to medium-sized mammals, the viverrids (), comprising 15 genera, which are subdivided into 38 species. This family was named and first described by John Edward Gray in 1821. Members of this family are commonly called civets or genets. Viverrids are found in South and Southeast Asia, across the Wallace Line, all over Africa, and into southern Europe. Their occurrence in Sulawesi and in some of the adjoining islands shows them to be ancient inhabitants of the Old World tropics.

Extant Carnivora species

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