Banded palm civets are found in the Oriental biogeographic region, in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and peninsular Burma.
Biogeographic Regions: oriental (Native )
The type locality of one race has been reported in Bankachon, Myanmar, but there are no known current records in Myanmar (Than Zaw et al. in press.). According to Payne et al. (1985) this species has been recorded in many localities in Borneo, and there are many subsequent records from the island including Mount Kinabulu National Park in Borneo, near Poring Hot Spring (600 m asl) by Wells et al. (2005) and Similajau National Park (Duckworth 1997). It is found at elevations up to 1,200 m (Payne et al. 1985).
In Sumatra, Holden (2006) had only a few records, all from lowland primary forest (sea level to a few hundred meters, with a maximum of 800 m) in the region of Kerinci Salbat. Other records may exist from the island and need to be collated. However, these data suggest the species may perhaps be confined to lowlands in Sumatra, and does not occur in hills or mountains.
Hemigalus derbyanus are about the size of small domestic cats, with long slender bodies. This species ranges in length (nose to anus) from 46 to 53 centimeters. They have gray-yellow woolly hair with seven or eight crescent-shaped black markings on the dorsal side and black rings around their tails, which vary from 25 to 38 centimeters in length. Partially retractable claws and powerful feet allow banded palm civets to be very able climbers, and long tapered snouts assist in their feeding habits. They have 40 teeth with a dental pattern 3/3;1/1;4/4;2/2 common to most members of the Viverridae. Their molars are tritubercular. Both males and females of the species possess vestigial anal glands. Underparts of the body are lighter than the dorsal side, and the pelage in the dorsal neck region is reversed and points forward.
Range mass: 1.0 to 3.0 kg.
Range length: 46 to 53 cm.
Sexual Dimorphism: sexes alike
Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry
Banded palm civets are partly arboreal and prefer tall forests. They are nocturnal and feed mainly on the ground at night, sleeping in holes in the ground or in trees during the day. Hemigalus derbyanus are also known to forage for prey in trees and near streams.
Habitat Regions: tropical ; terrestrial
Terrestrial Biomes: forest ; rainforest
Habitat and Ecology
It is nocturnal (Lekagul and McNeely 1977). Medway (1969) suggests that it is confined to the ground under tall forest. Davis (1962) found in Borneo that over 90% of its diet was insects, and no stomachs contained fruit or vegetables. All Bornean civets (except Diplogale hosei) have been recorded in disturbed forest areas, though abundance declines in this habitat (Heydon and Bulloh 1996; Colon pers. comm. 2002).
Banded palm civets are primarily carnivores, hunting for prey in trees, near streams or on the forest floor. Much of their diet consists of locusts and worms, but they also eat crustaceans, aquatic and terrestrial snails, spiders, ants and frogs. In captivity, the species has been observed to eat fruit, including bananas, but plant consumption is unknown in the wild.
Hemigalus derbyanus catches larger prey by biting it at the back of the neck and then shaking it violently. Their front paws help to grasp the prey while tearing and chewing it, and they swallow with their heads tilted upwards. Often, drinking precedes and follows eating.
Animal Foods: amphibians; insects; terrestrial non-insect arthropods; mollusks; terrestrial worms; aquatic crustaceans
Primary Diet: carnivore (Insectivore , Vermivore)
Ecosystem roles of Hemigalus derbyanus have not been explored. As small carnivores, they might have some effect on prey populations. Also, as mammals that consume large numbers of insects such as locusts, they might have some positive impact on agriculture by reducing pest numbers.
The predators of banded palm civets have not been identified.
Life History and Behavior
Banded palm civets observed in captivity have been known to communicate through scent marking, physical interaction and vocalizations. Both defensive and territorial scent marking have been observed in this species. Social behavior includes grooming and pacing, and a keen sense of smell plays a role in identification among individuals. Vocal communication is prevalent in captivity and includes hissing, spitting, cooing, whining and growling.
Communication Channels: tactile ; acoustic ; chemical
Other Communication Modes: scent marks
Perception Channels: tactile ; chemical
Very little is known regarding the lifespan of Hemigalus derbyanus in the wild. In captivity, individuals 11 to 13 years old lacked all teeth, suggesting advanced age.
Status: captivity: 13 years.
Status: captivity: 12.0 years.
Lifespan, longevity, and ageing
Very little is known about the mating systems of banded palm civets as they tend to be reclusive and have low reproduction success in captivity.
Of banded palm civets observed in captivity, very few have given birth, thus there is a small sample size from which to generalize. The females' estrus cycle is not easily identifiable, but scientists hypothesize that they may be seasonally polyestrus or generally polyestrus throughout the year with a 4 to 7 day cycle. Banded palm civets in captivity do not construct nests and give birth to 1 or 2 young, which weigh about 125 grams. They open their eyes after 8 to 12 days and nurse for about 70 days before eating solid food. In the family Viverridae, of which Hemigalus derbyanus is a member, there are generally two litters per year, one in the spring and one in the fall. The gestation period ranges from 32 to 64 days among all of the species of this family.
Breeding interval: The breeding interval of banded palm civets is unknown.
Breeding season: The breeding season is unknown.
Average number of offspring: 1 to 2.
Average weaning age: 70 days.
Key Reproductive Features: seasonal breeding ; year-round breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; viviparous
Average birth mass: 125 g.
Average number of offspring: 2.
Although little is known regarding the mating habits of banded palm civets, the relatively long nursing period of the female (about 70 days) suggests that large amounts of energy are required and thus feeding must increase during the pregnancy and following the birth of her young. Male contribution is unknown.
Parental Investment: altricial ; pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Female)
This species is not listed as threatened or endangered on any official sites, but recent research suggests that banded palm civets are increasingly rare in their native habitats and decreasing in numbers due to deforestation and habitat loss.
US Federal List: no special status
CITES: appendix ii
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: vulnerable
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
This species was recorded from Mount Kinabalu National Park in Borneo in 2003-04 (Wells et al. 2005), Temengor Forest Reserve in Malaysia by Ratnam et al. (1995), Similajau National Park in Sarawak (Duckworth 1997), and many other protected areas throughout its range (W. Duckworth in litt. 2006).
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
Information on the negative impact of Hemigalus derbyanus is not available.
The economic importance of banded palm civets is relatively insignificant, although some members of the Viverridae family are trapped or bred in captivity to procure their civet, a potent fluid obtained from the anal glands which is often used in perfumes.
Positive Impacts: body parts are source of valuable material
Banded palm civet
The banded palm civet (Hemigalus derbyanus), also called the banded civet, is a civet found in the Sundaic region and occurs in peninsular Myanmar, peninsular Malaysia, peninsular Thailand and in Indonesia on the islands of Sipura, Sumatra and Borneo. It is listed as Vulnerable because of an ongoing population decline, estimated to be more than 30% over the last three generations, inferred from over-exploitation, decline in habitat quality, and habitat destruction and degradation.
The banded palm civet has a long pointed face, reminiscent of insectivorous mammals. It has a long body set on short legs, and five toes on each foot with retractable claws. It looks very similar to Owston's palm civet (Chrotogale owstoni), except that it lacks spots on its body, and the hair on its neck points upwards instead of down along the neck. It is also similar to the rare Hose's palm civet (Diplogale hosei), an endemic of northern Borneo - they only differ in shape of muzzle and teeth and Hose's civet does not have the banded pelage of the Banded Civet. Banded Civet has short, dense fur that is generally a dark cream/buff color with four to five dark bands on its back. Its tail has two dark bands and the latter half of the tail is dark brown to black. There is a dark brown stripe that extends down the length of the top of the muzzle, and two stripes that extend from the top middle of the eye to the inside corner of the ears. There are two areas of white above and below each eye, and the muzzle is darker than the rest of the face.
Distribution and habitat
Though it lives in the forests, it spends much of its time on the ground.
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