IUCN threat status:

Near Threatened (NT)

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Broad-striped Malagasy mongoose or vontsira fotsy (Galidictis fasciata)

The broad-striped Malagasy mongoose is a mongoose-like member of the subfamily Galidiinae of the family Eupleridae. The specific name 'fasciata' means 'banded' in Latin. It has pale brownish or grey fur with broad, dark stripes on the back and sides. It is 30-34 cm long with a 24-30 cm tail and weighs 500-600 g.

This species is endemic to the eastern humid forests of Madagascar. It is widely distributed from the lowlands to around 700 m asl (2) with one record at 1,500 m asl. It seems to be limited to forests on lateritic soils, but occasionally lives in degraded forest (3). It has been reported from the Mananara-Nord region in the north to the Réserve Naturelle Intégrale (RNI) d'Andohahela in the south.There is no firm evidence that it lives further north than the Marojejy Massif, which is south of the Masoala Peninsula in the extreme northeastern portion of the island.

It is largely terrestrial and is most active in the evening and at night. It probably uses a combination of tactile, visual, chemical and accoustic cues to deal with their environment and with each other. It feeds mainly on small rodents, but may also eat small lemurs, reptiles and amphibians, possibly at or above its body weight, and insects and other invertebrates.

The animal probably breeds annually. A female captured in November did not show reproductive characteristics; males captured in October and late November did have scrotal testes volume of 1884 mm. Garbutt (1) says the species is probably pair bonded and hence monogamous. The lack of highly developed sexual dimorphism supports this possible mating system. The mother gives birth in summer. She has two mammae and probably provides the single young with shelter, milk and protection at least until the time of weaning or perhaps until it is sexually mature, at around 2 years.

In 2008, the animal's Red List category was assessed as 'Near Threatened,' as it is widely disperse, but at low densities (2). Over the previoust 10 years, the population reduction was estimated at 20-25%, due to habitat loss and the effects of feral carnivores, such as dogs and cats. In 1996 and 2000, the species was assessed as 'Vulnerable.' It has been recorded from a number of protected areas, including Marojejy, Masoala, Zahamena and Ranomafana National Parks.

There are two subspecies: G. f. fasciata has a fuller, reddish-brown tail and 8-10 stripes; G. f. striata has a thinner, white tail and 5 stripes.


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