Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

The striped civet is a shy, nocturnal species that hunts for small tenrecs (shrew-like insectivores), rodents, birds, frogs, reptiles and invertebrates on the forest floor and low down in the trees (2). Occasionally fruit may also be taken (5). They spend the day sleeping in hollow trees, fallen logs, or inside crevices in rocks (2). They are able to store fat reserves, particularly in the tail, in preparation for the winter (June - August), when food sources are scarce (2). Males and females form pairs that defend a large shared territory, marking the boundaries with scent produced by glands around the anus and the cheeks (4). Mating occurs in August and September and after a gestation period of three months, a single young is born. The young is well developed at birth, with open eyes and a covering of fur. Although they are able to walk as soon as three days after birth, their subsequent development is relatively slow. They are fully weaned at two or three months, and leave their parents' territory at around one year of age (2).
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Description

The striped civet is a Malagasy civet, which is sufficiently different to the civets found on mainland Africa that it is placed in a unique subfamily, the Eupleninae, along with another Madagascan civet, the fanalouc (Eupleres goudotii) (2). The striped civet is the only member of the genus Fossa, and is about the size of a domestic cat, with a stocky body, short, thin legs and a fox-like pointed muzzle. The short, dense coat is light brown with grey around the head and on the back (4) (2). There are four rows of dark spots along the flanks (4), which can blend to form short stripes; the thighs may also feature a few dark spots. The underparts do not tend to have markings, and are pale cream or white in colour (2). Vocalisations include a range of cries and groans, as well as a typical 'coq-coq', which is only produced when in the presence of more than one individual (5).
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Distribution

Range Description

This species is endemic to the eastern forests and the Sambirano Region in the north-west of Madagascar (Kerridge et al. 2003). It is present as far north as Montagne d'Ambre National Park and as far south as Andohahela National Park in the south-east. Strongholds include the Masoala Peninsula, rainforests at Mananara, Ambatovaky and Zahamena, and the Andohahela forest region. The altitudinal range is sea level to at least 1,600 m, but the species seems much scarcer above 1,000 m.
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Geographic Range

The Malagasy Civet or Striped Civet (Fossa fossana) is native to and located throughout Madagascar only.

Biogeographic Regions: ethiopian (Native )

Other Geographic Terms: island endemic

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Range

Endemic to Madagascar, where it occurs throughout the moist rainforest areas of the north and east. It has also been found in isolated humid forests of Montagne d'Ambre and the deciduous forests in the Ankarana Massif in the far north of the island (2).
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Physical Description

Morphology

Physical Description

Fossa fossana has a body length between 40 and 45 cm plus a tail that is 21 to 25 cm is length, with the female usually being longer. They weigh between 1.5 and 2 kg. with the male weighing more.

They have short, dense fur which is a brownish color and has 4 rows of dark spots running along the back. The ventral side is more lightly colored. The face resembles that of a fox, with a body about the size and shape of a house cat.

Range mass: 1.5 to 2 kg.

Range length: 40 to 45 cm.

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry

Average basal metabolic rate: 5.02262 W.

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
This nocturnal and terrestrial species is found in humid tropical lowland, mid-altitude and littoral forests, and is sometimes associated with streams or marshy areas in these habitats (Kerridge et al. 2003). It seems that this species does not adapt to secondary habitats (Kerridge et al. 2003). During the daytime, animals shelter in hollow trees, under fallen logs, or amongst rocks. The gestation period is around 82 and 89 days (Albignac 1973). Young are born well developed, and sexual maturity is attained at about two years of age.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Fossa fossana is found throughout most of Madagascar, from humid lowland forests to dryer higher elevations.

Habitat Regions: tropical

Terrestrial Biomes: rainforest ; scrub forest

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Found in evergreen forests where it takes shelter in crevices and hollow trees (5).
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Trophic Strategy

Food Habits

Fossa fossana eat small mammals including rodents and tenrecs. They also feed on reptiles, frogs, small birds, and invertebrates including freshwater crabs.

They forage on the ground and in low trees and brush, and are usually active at night.

Primary Diet: carnivore (Eats terrestrial vertebrates, Insectivore , Eats non-insect arthropods)

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Associations

Ecosystem Roles

Fossa fossana fills the ecological niche most commonly filled by fox or cat like animals.

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Predation

Malagasy civets have very few natural predators as adults, but young animals may be eaten by snakes, birds, and other predators. They are also sometimes preyed upon by dogs that have been introduced to madagascar, and they are hunted by humans for food.

Fossa fossana uses camoflauge and the fact that it is nocturnal to avoid predators.

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Known prey organisms

Fossa fossana preys on:
non-insect arthropods

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
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Life History and Behavior

Life Expectancy

Lifespan/Longevity

Average lifespan

Status: captivity:
21.4 years.

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Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 21.4 years (captivity)
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Reproduction

Fossa fossana form pairs around the time of mating, and each pair may have a home range of about a square mile during the mating season.

Mating System: monogamous

Mating occurs during August and September with a single young being born after three months. The young have a full coat of fur, and their eyes are open at birth. They walk around day three, eat meat after a month, and are weaned at two to three months.

Breeding season: August - September

Range number of offspring: 1 to 1.

Average gestation period: 3 months.

Range weaning age: 2 to 3 months.

Key Reproductive Features: seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; fertilization (Internal ); viviparous

Average birth mass: 67.5 g.

Average gestation period: 82 days.

Average number of offspring: 1.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)

Sex: female:
728 days.

The young stay with the parents until about one year of age, when they move on to find their own home ranges.

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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
NT
Near Threatened

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2008

Assessor/s
Hawkins, A.F.A.

Reviewer/s
Hoffmann, M. (Global Mammal Assessment Team) & Duckworth, J.W. (Small Carnivore Red List Authority)

Contributor/s

Justification
This species has been found to be locally common in some areas, and is widely dispersed from north to south through eastern Madagascar forests. However, over the last 10 years, the population reduction of this species based on the combined impacts of habitat loss (especially given its habitat requirements), widespread hunting and the effects of feral carnivores, is estimated at 20-25%, and the species is therefore listed as Near Threatened. Almost qualifies as threatened under criterion A2cde.

History
  • 2000
    Vulnerable
  • 1996
    Vulnerable
  • 1994
    Vulnerable
    (Groombridge 1994)
  • 1990
    Vulnerable
    (IUCN 1990)
  • 1988
    Vulnerable
    (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1988)
  • 1986
    Insufficiently Known
    (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1986)
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The current listing is based on a suspected population decrease in a range larger or equal to 20% over the last 10 years, along with a decrease in the size and quality of the habitat. The decrease is furthered by trapping of the civets for food, and competition with the Small Indian Civet (Viverricula indica)

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: appendix ii

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: near threatened

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Status

Classified as Vulnerable (VU A1cde) on the IUCN Red List 2004 (1). Listed on Appendix II of CITES (3).
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Population

Population
This species has been found to be locally common (Kerridge et al. 2003).

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Threats

Major Threats
It is threatened by deforestation of its habitat through conversion to cultivated land, selective logging and charcoal production. This species is also threatened by hunting, and the taste is most preferred among the native carnivores (Golden 2005). Introduced species including dogs, cats, and the small Indian civet Viverricula indica are competitors, and dogs are also likely predators.
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The striped civet is threatened by the large-scale deforestation that has occurred on Madagascar (4). Since humans arrived on Madagascar, between 1,500 and 2,000 years ago, around 80% of the original tree cover has been destroyed (2). Additional threats facing the species include trapping for food and competition with the introduced small Indian civet (Viverricula indica) (6).
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
It is listed on Appendix II of CITES. This species is present in a number of protected areas, including Montagne d’Ambre, Masoala, Marojejy, Zahamena, Ranomafana and Andohahela National Parks, and Ankarana Special Reserve.
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Conservation

This species is classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List and is listed under appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) (1) (3). The striped civet occurs within a number of reserves in Madagascar, including Masoala and Montagne d'Ambre National Park, the Mananara-Nord Biosphere Reserve, and Anjanaharibe-Sud Special Reserve (2). Hopes are that conservation projects tied to the development of local communities are the way forward for the conservation of Madagascar's staggeringly rich and unique biological resources (2).
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

The Striped Civet is beneficial to humans because it is hunted for food. It is also a popular attraction for tourists who can photograph it rather easily because it can be attracted to bait stations.

Positive Impacts: food ; ecotourism

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Wikipedia

Malagasy civet

The Malagasy or striped civet (Fossa fossana), also known as the fanaloka (Malagasy, [fə̥ˈnaluk]), is an euplerid endemic to Madagascar.[2]

Previously, the Malagasy civet was placed in the subfamily Hemigalinae with the banded palm civets and then in its own subfamily, Fossinae, but it is now classified as a member of the subfamily Euplerinae. It has also been classified Fossa fossa. It should not be confused with the fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox), a similar animal also endemic to Madagascar. Nor is it the same as the related—and similarly named—Malagasy carnivore the falanouc, which is also a euplerine.

It is a small mammal: about 47 cm excluding the tail (which is only about 20 cm) and 2.5 kg. It has the appearance and movements of a small fox. It has a short coat greyish beige in colour, with dark black horizontal stripes running from head to tail, where the stripes are vertical, wrapping around the bushier tail. The stripes morph into spots near the belly. Its legs are short and very thin. The sources disagree over whether its claws are retractile. It has no anal glands, unlike actual civets. It is endemic to the tropical forests of Madagascar.

It is nocturnal, though sources disagree over whether it is solitary or, unusual among euplerids, lives in pairs. It is not a good climber and frequents ravines. It eats small vertebrates (mammals, reptiles, and amphibians), insects, and eggs stolen from birds' nests.

The mating season of the Malagasy civet is August to September and the gestation period is three months, ending with the birth of one young. The young are rather well-developed, with opened eyes, and they are weaned in 10 weeks.

Though threatened by deforestation, hunting and competition from introduced species, the Malagasy civet is locally common.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Hawkins, A.F.A. (2008). Fossa fossana. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 22 March 2009. Database entry includes justification for this species is of near threatened.
  2. ^ Wozencraft, W. C. (2005). "Order Carnivora". In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 560. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. 

Sources[edit]

  • Macdonald, David (ed). The Encyclopedia of Mammals. (New York, 1984)
  • Anderson, Simon (ed). Simon & Schuster's Guide to Mammals. (Milan, 1982)
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