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Behavior

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Perception Channels: tactile ; chemical

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Myers, P. 2000. "Viverridae" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Viverridae.html
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Morphology

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Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry

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Reproduction

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Key Reproductive Features: gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual

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Comprehensive Description

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Jennings and Veron (2009) recognized 34 extant species, placed in 14 genera, in the family Viverridae. Viverrids are found in Asia and Africa. One species, the Common Genet (Genetta genetta) is found in Europe and the southwestern Arabian Penisula as well, but may have been introduced to Spain and spread at least through the Iberian Peninsula in historical times. Some Asian viverrids have been introduced to various island in Southeast Asia.

Viverrids are generally forest-dwellers, though some may be found in savannas and other grasslands, and are found from sea level up to around 3800 m.For most species, habitat preferences are poorly known.

Historically, the Viverridae has included the mongooses, the linsangs, and the African Palm Civet, but based in part on molecular phylogenetic studies, these are now often placed in their own families, the Herpestidae, Prionodontidae, and Nandiniidae, respectively. Several carnivore species from Madagascar were at one time also believed to belong in the Viverridae, but all Malagasy carnivores are now placed together in their own family, the Eupleridae.

Jennings and Veron (2009) recognized four subfamilies within the Viverridae, including the three traditional subfamilies Hemigalinae, Paradoxurinae, and Viverrinae, as well as the Genettinae, proposed by Gaubert and Cordeiro-Estrela (2006):

1) Hemigalinae ("palm civets" and Otter Civet). The subfamily Hemigalinare includes at least four species (Owston's Palm Civet [Chrotogale owstoni], Banded Palm Civet [Hemigalus derbyanus], Hose's Palm Civet [Diplogale hosei], and the apparently semi-aquatic Otter Civet [Cynogale bennettii]), all found in Southeast Asia. Jennings and Veron note that the three hemigaline "palm civets" have sometimes been placed together in the genus Hemigalus, but that this treatment may be inconsistent with recent molecular phylogenetic data. Wilting and Fickel (2012) argue that "palm" should be dropped from the common names of all hemigalines to avoid any implied close relationship with the "true" palm civets (in the subfamily Paradoxurinae)

2) Paradoxurinae (palm civets and Binturong). The subfamily Paradoxurinae as treated by Jennings and Veron (2009) includes at least seven civet species, all of them Asian and arboreal. However, a subsequent molecular phylogenetic study suggested that including the Small-toothed Palm Civet (Arctogalidia trivirgata) in this subfamily may render the Paradoxurinae paraphyletic (Agnarsson et al. 2010). Similarly, the authors of a molecular genetic study using museum skins concluded that the Sulawesi Palm Civet (Macrogalidia musschenbroekii) actually falls within the Hemigalinae, not within the Paradoxurinae where it was placed by Jennings and Veron and previous authors (Wilting and Fickel 2012).

3) Viverrinae (terrestrial civets). Viverrids in the subfamily Viverrinae, all of which are terrestrial and known as civets, include the African Civet (Civettictis civetta) and five or six Asian species.

4) Genettinae (genets and oyans). The species in the subfamily Genettinae, which are semi-arboreal and known as genets or oyans, are all found only in Africa (with the exception of the Common Genet, which is also found in the Iberian and southwestern Arabian Peninsulas, as noted above). Jennings and Veron recognized 17 genettine species, but emphasize that species boundaries in the genus Genetta have been controversial and that the number of recognized species may change with further study. Included in this subfamily is the very poorly known Aquatic Genet (Genetta piscivora) of central Africa, which is believed to be semi-aquatic and to subsist largely on fish; this species was at one time judged to be so distinct that it was placed in its own genus (Osbornictis), but molecular phylogenetic studied have suggested that it belongs in the genus Genetta and that its morphological peculiarities are adaptations to its semi-aquatic lifestyle.

Most viverrids are relatively small (with the smallest, the African oyans, weighing in at just over half a kilogram), but the African Civet and the Binturong (Arctictis binturong) may reach 20 kg. In general, viverrids are long and slender with a long snout, small ears, relatively short legs, and a long tail. The Binturong is the only viverrid known to have a prehensile tail.In most viverrid species, males and females are similar in appearance. Viverrids are generally nocturnal and range from terrestrial (civets) to semi-arboreal (genets, oyans) or arboreal (palm civets). Most (possibly all) viverrids have a scent gland between the anus and genitals that produces a strong-smelling substance known as civet (or civet oil) used for scent-marking (the secretion contains a macrocyclic ketone known as civetone and can retain its odor for several months). Although the smell of civet oil can be nauseating to humans at high concentrations, at very low concentrations it is very pleasant and has been used in the manufacture of perfumes for centuries.Civet oil has been largely replaced in the perfume industry by synthetic musks, but it is still used and in Africa (at least in Ethiopia) and in Asia (at least in India) civets are kept (but apparently not bred) on "farms" for civet extraction (conditions on these farms have been deplored by animal welfare activists and since the farms are continually restocked from the wild, they deplete wild stocks). Viverrids are hunted for food, both legally and illegally, throughout Africa and Asia. In addition to subsistence hunting, there has been a growing illegal trade for food, traditional medicine, skins (at least locally), and pets.

Information on the diets of most viverrid species is quite limited. The paradoxurine palm civets are mainly frugivorous, but also take small invertebrates and vertebrates.The terrestrial civets are broadly omnivorous, feeding on small vertebrates, invertebrates, and fruit; they are reputed to be excellent rat killers and may have been introduced long ago to various parts of the world for this reason, although they can take chickens and crops and are therefore often viewed as pests by farmers. The genets are mainly carnivorous, feeding on small vertebrates and invertebrates, although they may consume some fruit as well. Johnston's Genet (Genetta johnstoni) is believed to be largely insectivorous and the Aquatic Genet is believed to feed mainly on fish. Owston's Palm Civet is thought to feed mainly on earthworms, although small vertebrates, insects, and fruits may also be taken.

Viverrids are among the most poorly studied of all Carnivora. At least one species, the Malabar Civet (Viverra civettina), is ranked as Critically Endangered by IUCN (upgraded from probably extinct) and a number of others are ranked as Endangered or Vulnerable—but the information on which status assessments have been made for most viverrids is very limited. As for most taxonomic groups, the greatest conservation threat is believed to be habitat loss and degradation, although hunting poses a serious threat to some species as well.

(Jennings and Veron 2009 and references therein)

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Viverridae

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Viverridae is a family of small to medium-sized mammals, the viverrids (/vˈvɛrɪdz/), comprising 15 genera, which are subdivided into 38 species.[2] This family was named and first described by John Edward Gray in 1821.[3] 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.[4]

Characteristics

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Binturong (Arctictis binturong) on display at the Museum of Osteology

Viverrids have four or five toes on each foot and half-retractile claws. They have six incisors in each jaw and molars with two tubercular grinders behind in the upper jaw, and one in the lower jaw. The tongue is rough with sharp prickles. A pouch or gland occurs beneath the anus, but there is no cecum.[3]

Viverrids are the most primitive of all the families of feliform Carnivora and clearly less specialized than the Felidae. In external characteristics, they are distinguished from the Felidae by the longer muzzle and tuft of facial vibrissae between the lower jaw bones, and by the shorter limbs and the five-toed hind foot with the first digit present. The skull differs by the position of the postpalatine foramina on the maxilla, almost always well in advance of the maxillopalatine suture, and usually about the level of the second premolar; and by the distinct external division of the auditory bulla into its two elements either by a definite groove or, when rarely this is obliterated, by the depression of the tympanic bone in front of the swollen entotympanic. The typical dental formula is: 3.1.4.23.1.4.2, but the number may be reduced, although never to the same extent as in the Felidae.[4]

Their flesh-shearing carnassial teeth are relatively undeveloped.[5] Most viverrid species have a penis bone (a baculum).[6]

Classification

Living species

In 1821, Gray defined this family as consisting of the genera Viverra, Genetta, Herpestes, and Suricata.[3] Reginald Innes Pocock later redefined the family as containing a great number of highly diversified genera, and being susceptible of division into several subfamilies, based mainly on the structure of the feet and of some highly specialized scent glands, derived from the skin, which are present in most of the species and are situated in the region of the external generative organs. He subordinated the subfamilies Hemigalinae, Paradoxurinae, Prionodontinae, and Viverrinae to the Viverridae.[4]

In 1833, Edward Turner Bennett described the Malagasy fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox) and subordinated the Cryptoprocta to the Viverridae.[7] A molecular and morphological analysis based on DNA/DNA hybridization experiments suggests that Cryptoprocta does not belong within Viverridae, but is a member of the Eupleridae.[8]

The African palm civet (Nandinia binotata) resembles the civets of the Viverridae, but is genetically distinct and belongs in its own monotypic family, the Nandiniidae. There is little dispute that the Poiana species are viverrids.[2]

DNA analysis based on 29 species of Carnivora, comprising 13 species of Viverrinae and three species representing Paradoxurus, Paguma and Hemigalinae, confirmed Pocock's assumption that the African linsang Poiana represents the sister-group of the genus Genetta. The placement of Prionodon as the sister-group of the family Felidae is strongly supported, and it was proposed that the Asiatic linsangs be placed in the monogeneric family Prionodontidae.[9]

Phylogeny

The phylogenetic relationships of Viverridae are shown in the following cladogram:[1][10]

ViverridaeParadoxurinae       Paradoxurus      

Paradoxurus zeylonensis (Golden palm civet)

   

Paradoxurus montanus (Sri Lankan brown palm civet)

   

Paradoxurus stenocephalus (Golden dry-zone palm civet)

   

Paradoxurus aureus (Golden wet-zone palm civet)

     

Paradoxurus jerdoni (Jerdon's palm civet)

     

Paradoxurus hermaphroditus (Asian palm civet)

    Macrogalidia

Macrogalidia musschenbroekii (Sulawesi palm civet)

    Paguma

Paguma larvata (Masked palm civet)

    Arctictis

Arctictis binturong (Binturong)

    Arctogalidia

Arctogalidia trivirgata (Small-toothed palm civet)

    Hemigalinae Cynogale

Cynogale bennettii (Otter civet)

    Chrotogale

Chrotogale owstoni (Owston's palm civet)

    Diplogale

Diplogale hosei (Hose's palm civet)

Hemigalus

Hemigalus derbyanus (Banded palm civet)

          Viverrinae ViverrinaeViverra      

Viverra civettina (Malabar large-spotted civet)

   

Viverra megaspila (Large-spotted civet)

     

Viverra zibetha (Large Indian civet)

     

Viverra tangalunga (Malayan civet) Malay Civet (Viverra tangalunga) white background.jpg

    Civettictis

Civettictis civetta (African civet) Viverra civetta - 1700-1880 - Print - Iconographia Zoologica - Special Collections University of Amsterdam -(white background).jpg

    Viverricula

Viverricula indica (Small Indian civet)

sensu stricto Genettinae Poiana

Poiana leightoni (Leighton's linsang)

   

Poiana richardsonii (African linsang)

    Genetta    

Genetta abyssinica (Abyssinian genet)

   

Genetta thierryi (Haussa genet)

       

Genetta victoriae (Giant forest genet)

     

Genetta johnstoni (Johnston's genet)

         

Genetta piscivora (Aquatic genet)

   

Genetta servalina (Servaline genet)

     

Genetta cristata (Crested servaline genet)

       

Genetta felina (South African small-spotted genet)

   

Genetta genetta (Common genet)

     

Genetta tigrina (Cape genet)

     

Genetta letabae

   

Genetta schoutedeni (Schouteden’s genet)

   

Genetta maculata (Rusty-spotted genet)

       

Genetta angolensis (Angolan genet)

   

Genetta pardina (Pardine genet)

       

Genetta bourloni (Bourlon's genet)

   

Genetta poensis (King genet)

                      sensu lato

Extinct species

Ecology and behavior

They are generally solitary and have excellent hearing and vision. They are omnivorous; the palm civet is almost entirely herbivorous.[5]

Favored habitats include woodland, savanna, mountains, and above all tropical rainforest. Due to heavy deforestation, many face severe habitat loss. Several species, such as the Hose's palm civet, which is endemic to northern Borneo, are considered vulnerable. The otter civet is classified as endangered.[2]

References

  1. ^ a b c Gaubert, P. & Cordeiro-Estrela, P. (2006). "Phylogenetic systematics and tempo of evolution of the Viverrinae (Mammalia, Carnivora, Viverridae) within feliformians: implications for faunal exchanges between Asia and Africa" (PDF). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 41 (2): 266–278. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2006.05.034. PMID 16837215.open access
  2. ^ a b c d e Wozencraft, W.C. (2005). "Family Viverridae". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M (eds.). 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.
  3. ^ a b c Gray, J. E. (1821). "On the natural arrangement of vertebrose animals". London Medical Repository. 15 (1): 296–310.
  4. ^ a b c Pocock, R. I. (1939). "Family Viverridae". The Fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Mammalia. – Volume 1. London: Taylor and Francis. pp. 330–332.
  5. ^ a b Wozencraft, W. C. (1984). Macdonald, D. (ed.). The Encyclopedia of Mammals. New York: Facts on File. pp. 134–135. ISBN 0-87196-871-1.
  6. ^ Ewer, R. F. (1998). The Carnivores. Cornell University Press. ISBN 0-8014-8493-6.
  7. ^ Bennett, E. T. (1833). "Notice of a new genus of Viverridous Mammalia from Madagascar". Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London. 1833: 46.
  8. ^ Veron, G.; Catzeflis, F. M. (1993). "Phylogenetic relationships of the endemic Malagasy carnivore Cryptoprocta ferox (Aeluroideae): DNA/DNA hybridization experiments". Journal of Mammalian Evolution. 1 (3): 169–185. doi:10.1007/bf01024706.
  9. ^ Gaubert, P.; 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 B: Biological Sciences. 270 (1532): 2523–2530. doi:10.1098/rspb.2003.2521. PMC 1691530. PMID 14667345.
  10. ^ a b Nyakatura, K. & Bininda-Emonds, O. R. P. (2012). "Updating the evolutionary history of Carnivora (Mammalia): a new species-level supertree complete with divergence time estimates". BMC Biology. 10: 12. doi:10.1186/1741-7007-10-12. PMC 3307490. PMID 22369503.
  11. ^ Groves, C. P.; Rajapaksha, C.; Manemandra-Arachchi, K. (2009). "The taxonomy of the endemic golden palm civet of Sri Lanka" (PDF). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. 155: 238–251. doi:10.1111/j.1096-3642.2008.00451.x.
  12. ^ Morales, J., Pickford, M. and Salesa, M.J. (2008). "Creodonta and Carnivora from the Early Miocene of the Northern Sperrgebiet, Namibia". Memoir of the Geological Survey of Namibia. 20: 291–310.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  13. ^ a b Morales, J. & Pickford, M. (2005). "Carnivores from the Middle Miocene Ngorora Formation (13-12 Ma), Kenya" (PDF). Estudios Geológicos. 61: 271–284. doi:10.3989/egeol.05613-668.
  14. ^ Werdelin, L. (2019). "Middle Miocene Carnivora and Hyaenodonta from Fort Ternan, western Kenya" (PDF). Geodiversitas. 41 (6).
  15. ^ a b Dehghani, R. & Werdelin, L. (2008). "A new small carnivoran from the Middle Miocene of Fort Ternan, Kenya". Neues Jahrbuch für Geologie und Paläontologie-Abhandlungen. 248 (2): 233–244. doi:10.1127/0077-7749/2008/0248-0233.
  16. ^ a b Savage, R. J. G. (1965). "Fossil mammals of Africa: 19, The Miocene Carnivora of East Africa". Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History). 10 (8): 239–316.
  17. ^ Adrian, B.; Werdelin, L. & Grossman, A. (2018). "New Miocene Carnivora (Mammalia) from Moruorot and Kalodirr, Kenya" (PDF). Palaeontologia Electronica. 21 (1 10A): 1–19. doi:10.26879/778.

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Viverridae: Brief Summary

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Viverridae is a family of small to medium-sized mammals, the viverrids (/vaɪˈvɛrɪdz/), 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.

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