Flat-headed cat

Last updated

Flat-headed cat
Flat-headed cat 1 Jim Sanderson.JPG
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Suborder: Feliformia
Family: Felidae
Subfamily: Felinae
Genus: Prionailurus
Species:
P. planiceps [2]
Binomial name
Prionailurus planiceps [2]
(Vigors & Horsfield, 1827)
Flat-headedCat distribution2015.jpg
Distribution of Flat-headed Cat, 2015 [1]

The flat-headed cat (Prionailurus planiceps) is a small wild cat native to the Thai-Malay Peninsula, Borneo, and Sumatra. It is an Endangered species, because the wild population probably comprises fewer than 2,500 mature individuals, with small subpopulations of no more than 250 adults. The population inhabits foremost wetlands, which are being destroyed and converted. For these reasons, it is listed on the IUCN Red List since 2008. [1]

Contents

It was initially placed in the genus Felis , but is now considered one of the five species in Prionailurus . [2] [3]

Flat-headed cats are very rare in captivity, with fewer than 10 individuals, all kept in Malaysian and Thai zoos as recorded by Species360. [4]

Characteristics

The flat-headed cat is distinguished at once by the extreme depression of the skull, which extends along the nose to the extremity of the muzzle, the sides of which are laterally distended. The general habit of body is slender, and the extremities are delicate and lengthened. The head itself is more lengthened and cylindrical than in the domestic cat. The distance between the eyes and the ears is comparatively great. The cylindrical form and lateral contraction of the head is contrasted by an unusual length of the teeth. The canine teeth are nearly as long as in an individual of double its size. [5]

The thick fur is reddish-brown on top of the head, dark roan brown on the body, and mottled white on the underbelly. The face is lighter in color than the body, and the muzzle and chin are white. Two prominent buff whitish streaks run on either side of the nose between the eyes. The ears are rounded. The eyes are unusually far forward and close together, compared with other cats, giving the felid improved stereoscopic vision. The teeth are adapted for gripping onto slippery prey, and the jaws are relatively powerful. These features help the flat-headed cat to catch and retain aquatic prey, to which it is at least as well adapted as the fishing cat. Legs are fairly short. Claws are retractable, but the covering sheaths are so reduced in size that about two-thirds of the claws are left protruding. [6]

The anterior upper premolars are larger and sharper relative to other cats. The interdigital webs on its paws help the cat gain better traction in muddy environments and water, and are even more pronounced on this cat than those on the paws of the fishing cat. [7]

It has a head-and-body length of 41 to 50 cm (16 to 20 in) and a short tail of 13 to 15 cm (5.1 to 5.9 in). [6] It weighs 1.5 to 2.5 kg (3.3 to 5.5 lb). [8]

Distribution and habitat

Flat-headed cat camera-trapped in Tangkulap Forest Reserve, Sabah, Malaysia in March 2009 Plionailurus planiceps cropped.png
Flat-headed cat camera-trapped in Tangkulap Forest Reserve, Sabah, Malaysia in March 2009

The flat-headed cat's distribution is restricted to lowland tropical rainforests in extreme southern Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, and on Borneo in Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei Darussalam and Kalimantan. It primarily occurs in freshwater habitats near coastal and lowland areas. More than 70% of records were collected less than 3 km (1.9 mi) away from water. [9]

The flat-headed cat occurs in both primary and secondary forest. [10]

In Peninsular Malaysia, flat-headed cats were recorded in the Pasoh Forest Reserve in 2013. [11] As the Pasoh Forest Reserve contains no major rivers or lakes and is generally covered by hill dipterocarp forest, this detection provides new evidence of the species' potential habitat range. The reserve ranks as low probability of occurrence in a previously published species distribution model. [9] Pasoh's surrounding landscape is dominated by plantations that have been established since the 1970s. The detection, occurring < 1.5 km (0.93 mi) from oil palm plantations, suggests that the flat-headed cat is more tolerant of changes in its surrounding environment than previously assumed. [11]

In Kalimantan, flat-headed cats were recorded in mixed swamp forest and tall interior forest at altitudes below 20 m (66 ft) in the vicinity of Sabangau National Park. [12]

Ecology and behavior

A flat-headed cat at night

Flat-headed cats recorded in Kalimantan were foremost active by night. [12] They are presumably solitary, and probably maintain their home ranges by scent marking. In captivity, both females and males spray urine by walking forward in a crouching position, leaving a trail on the ground. [13] Anecdotal historical accounts report that they are nocturnal, but an adult captive female was crepuscular and most active between 8:00 and 11:30 and between 18:00 and 22:00 hours. [6]

The stomach contents of an adult shot on a Malaysian riverbank consisted only of fish. They have been observed to wash objects, raccoon-style. Live fish are readily taken, with full submergence of the head, and the fish were usually carried at least 2 m away, suggesting a feeding strategy to avoid letting aquatic prey escape back into water. Captive specimens show much greater interest in potential prey in the water than on dry land, suggesting a strong preference for riverine hunting in their natural habitat. [14] Their morphological specializations suggest that their diet is mostly composed of fish, but they are reported to hunt for frogs, and are thought to catch crustaceans. [6] They also catch rats and chickens. [7]

Vocalizations of a flat-headed cat kitten resembled those of a domestic cat. The vocal repertoire of adults has not been analyzed completely, but they purr and give other short-ranged vocalizations. [15]

Their gestation period lasts about 56 days. Of three litters recorded in captivity, one consisted of two kittens, the other two were singletons. Two captive individuals have lived for 14 years. [6] [7]

Threats

The flat-headed cat is primarily threatened by wetland and lowland forest destruction and degradation. [7] Causes of this destruction include human settlement, forest transformation to plantations, draining for agriculture, pollution, and excessive hunting, wood-cutting, and fishing. In addition, clearance of coastal mangroves over the past decade has been rapid in tropical Asia. The depletion of fish stocks from overfishing is prevalent in many Asian wetland environments and is likely to be a significant threat. Expansion of oil palm plantations is currently viewed as the most urgent threat. [1]

It is also threatened by trapping, snaring, and poisoning. [6] Flat-headed cats have been captured in traps set out to protect domestic fowl. [7]

Although flat-headed cats are not known to be a specific target for poachers in Southeast Asia, side-catch poaching in small snares might pose an additional threat for the species. In fragmented landscapes, motor vehicle collisions and direct competition with domestic cats could pose more serious threats. [11]

Conservation

The flat-headed cat is included on CITES Appendix I. It is fully protected by national legislation over its range, with hunting and trade prohibited in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. [1]

Taxonomy

The scientific name Felis planiceps was proposed by Nicholas Aylward Vigors and Thomas Horsfield in 1827, who first described a skin of a flat-headed cat specimen collected in Sumatra. [5] Prionailurus was proposed by Nikolai Severtzov in 1858 as generic name for spotted wild cats native to Asia. He proposed the generic name Ictailurus for the flat-headed cat. [16]

In 1951, Ellerman and Morrison-Scott grouped the flat-headed cat with the fishing cat (P. viverrinus), assuming it occurs in Lower Siam, Patani, the Malay States, Sumatra and Borneo. [17] It was subordinated to the genus Prionailurus by Ingrid Weigel in 1961 who compared fur patterns of wild and domestic cats. [18] It was grouped into Ictailurus in 1997 following a study on mitochondrial genes of cat species. [19]

Phylogeny

Phylogenetic analysis of the nuclear DNA in tissue samples from all Felidae species revealed that their evolutionary radiation began in Asia in the Miocene around 14.45 to 8.38 million years ago . [20] [21] Analysis of mitochondrial DNA of Felidae species indicates a radiation at around 16.76 to 6.46 million years ago . [22] Both models agree in the rusty-spotted cat (P. planiceps) having been the first cat of the Prionailurus lineage that genetically diverged, followed by the flat-headed cat and then the fishing cat. [20] [22] It is estimated to have diverged together with the leopard cat (P. bengalensis) between 4.31 to 1.74 million years ago [20] and 4.25 to 0.02 million years ago . [22]

The following cladogram shows their phylogenetic relationship as derived through analysis of nuclear DNA: [20] [21]

Felidae  
  Felinae  
 Prionailurus 

Leopard cat

Fishing Cat

Flat-headed cat

Rusty-spotted cat

Otocolobus 

Pallas's cat (O. manul)

other Felinae lineages

Pantherinae

See also

Related Research Articles

Felidae Family of mammals

Felidae is a family of mammals in the order Carnivora, colloquially referred to as cats, and constitutes a clade. A member of this family is also called a felid. The term "cat" refers both to felids in general and specifically to the domestic cat.

Clouded leopard species of mammal found from the Himalayan foothills through mainland Southeast Asia into China

The clouded leopard is a medium-sized wild cat occurring from the Himalayan foothills through mainland Southeast Asia into southern China. Since 2008, it is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. Its total population is suspected to be fewer than 10,000 mature individuals, with a decreasing population trend, and no single population numbering more than 1,000 adults.

<i>Felis</i> Genus of mammals (cats)

Felis is a genus of small and medium-sized cat species native to most of Africa and south of 60° latitude in Europe and Asia to Indochina. The genus includes the domestic cat. The smallest Felis species is the black-footed cat with a head and body length from 38 to 42 cm. The largest is the jungle cat with a head and body length from 62 to 76 cm.

<i>Neofelis</i> genus of mammals

Neofelis is a genus comprising two extant cat species from Southeast Asia: the clouded leopard of mainland Asia, and the Sunda clouded leopard of Sumatra and Borneo.

Asian golden cat Small wild cat

The Asian golden cat is a medium-sized wild cat native to the northeastern Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, and southern China. It has been listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List since 2008, and is threatened by hunting pressure and habitat loss, since Southeast Asian forests are undergoing the world's fastest regional deforestation.

Bay cat Small wild cat

The bay cat, also known as Borneo bay cat and Bornean bay cat, is a wild cat endemic to the island of Borneo that appears to be relatively rare compared to sympatric wild cats, based on the paucity of historical, as well as recent records. Since 2002, it has been listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List because it is estimated that fewer than 2,500 mature individuals exist, and that the population declined in the past. The bay cat has been recorded as rare and seems to occur at relatively low density, even in pristine habitat.

African golden cat Small wild cat

The African golden cat is a wild cat endemic to the rainforests of West and Central Africa. It is threatened due to deforestation and bushmeat hunting and listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. It is a close relative of both the caracal and the serval. Previously, it was placed in the genus Profelis. Its body size ranges from 61 to 101 cm with a 16 to 46 cm long tail.

<i>Catopuma</i> genus of mammals

Catopuma is a genus containing two Asian small wild cat species, the Asian golden cat and the bay cat . Both are typically reddish brown in colour, with darker markings on the head.

Leopard cat Small wild cat

The leopard cat is a small wild cat native to continental South, Southeast, and East Asia. Since 2002 it has been listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List as it is widely distributed although threatened by habitat loss and hunting in parts of its range.

Rusty-spotted cat Small wild cat

The rusty-spotted cat is one of the cat family's smallest members, of which historical records are known only from India and Sri Lanka. In 2012, it was also recorded in the western Terai of Nepal. Since 2016, the global wild population is listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List as it is fragmented and affected by loss and destruction of prime habitat, deciduous forests.

Fishing cat Small wild cat

The fishing cat is a medium-sized wild cat of South and Southeast Asia. Since 2016, it is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. Fishing cat populations are threatened by destruction of wetlands and have declined severely over the last decade. The fishing cat lives foremost in the vicinity of wetlands, along rivers, streams, oxbow lakes, in swamps, and mangroves.

<i>Prionailurus</i> genus of mammals

Prionailurus is a genus of spotted, small wild cats native to Asia. Forests are their preferred habitat; they feed on small mammals, reptiles and birds, and occasionally aquatic wildlife.

Marbled cat Small wild cat

The marbled cat is a small wild cat native from the eastern Himalayas to Southeast Asia, where it inhabits forests up to 2,500 m (8,200 ft) altitude. As it is present in a large range, it has been listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List since 2015.

<i>Pardofelis</i> genus of mammals

Pardofelis is a genus of the cat family Felidae. This genus is defined as including one species native to Southeast Asia: the marbled cat. Two other species, formerly classified to this genus, now belong to the genus Catopuma.

Felinae subfamily of mammals

The Felinae are a subfamily of the family Felidae. This subfamily comprises the small cats having a bony hyoid, because of which they are able to purr but not roar.

Sunda clouded leopard species of medium-sized wild cat

The Sunda clouded leopard is a medium-sized wild cat native to Borneo and Sumatra. It is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List since 2015, as the total effective population probably consists of fewer than 10,000 mature individuals, with a decreasing population trend. On both Sunda islands, it is threatened by deforestation.

Bornean clouded leopard subspecies of medium-sized wild cat

The Bornean clouded leopard is a subspecies of the Sunda clouded leopard. It is native to the island of Borneo, and differs from the Batu-Sumatran clouded leopard in the shape and frequency of spots, as well as in cranio-mandibular and dental characters. In 2017, the Cat Classification Taskforce of the Cat Specialist Group recognized the validity of this subspecies.

Small Cat Conservation Alliance organization

The Small Cat Conservation Alliance (SCCA) was founded in 1996, to address the conservation needs of small wild cats and their habitat worldwide. Small Cat Conservation Alliance seeks out local scientists and volunteers that are working to protect small cats in remote regions worldwide. They collect data that can be used to seek endangered species classification. SCCA operates in Kalimantan (Borneo), Sumatra, Chile, and China; and works with partners in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Cambodia, India, Sarawak, Suriname and Vietnam. The Small Cat Conservation is also partnered with the Wildlife Conservation Network.

Sunda leopard cat Small wild cat

The Sunda leopard cat is a small wild cat species native to the Sundaland islands of Java, Bali, Borneo, Sumatra and the Philippines that is considered distinct from the leopard cat occurring in mainland South and Southeast Asia.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Wilting, A.; Brodie, J.; Cheyne, S.; Hearn, A.; Lynam, A.; Mathai, J.; McCarthy, J.; Meijaard, E.; Mohamed, A.; Ross, J.; Sunarto, S. & Traeholt, C. (2015). "Prionailurus planiceps". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species . 2015: e.T18148A50662095. Retrieved 29 October 2018.
  2. 1 2 3 Wozencraft, W.C. (2005). "Species Prionailurus planiceps". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 543. ISBN   978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC   62265494.
  3. Kitchener, A. C.; Breitenmoser-Würsten, C.; Eizirik, E.; Gentry, A.; Werdelin, L.; Wilting, A.; Yamaguchi, N.; Abramov, A. V.; Christiansen, P.; Driscoll, C.; Duckworth, J. W.; Johnson, W.; Luo, S.-J.; Meijaard, E.; O’Donoghue, P.; Sanderson, J.; Seymour, K.; Bruford, M.; Groves, C.; Hoffmann, M.; Nowell, K.; Timmons, Z. & Tobe, S. (2017). "A revised taxonomy of the Felidae: The final report of the Cat Classification Task Force of the IUCN Cat Specialist Group" (PDF). Cat News (Special Issue 11).
  4. International Species Information System (2011) Captive Prionailurus planiceps. Accessed 13 October 2011
  5. 1 2 Vigors, N. A. & Horsfield, T. (1827). "Description of two Species of the genus Felis, in the collection of the Zoological Society". The Zoological Journal. III: 449–450.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Sunquist, M. & Sunquist, F. (2002). "Flat-headed Cat Prionailurus planiceps (Vigors & Horsfield, 1827)". Wild Cats of the World. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. pp. 233–236. ISBN   0-226-77999-8.
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 Nowell, K. & Jackson, P. (1996). "Flat-headed Cat. Prionailurus planiceps". Wild Cats: status survey and conservation action plan. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN/SSC Cat Specialist Group.
  8. Francis, C. (2001). A Photographic Guide to Mammals of South-east Asia including Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Java, Sumatra, Bali and Borneo. New Holland. ISBN   1859745075.
  9. 1 2 3 Wilting, A.; Cord, A.; Hearn, A. J.; Hesse, D.; Mohamed, A.; Traeholdt, C.; Cheyne, S. M.; Sunarto, S.; Jayasilan, M.; Ross, J.; Shapiro, A. C.; Sebastian, A.; Dech, S.; Breitenmoser, C.; Sanderson, J.; Duckworth, J. W.; Hofer, H. (2010). "Modelling the Species Distribution of Flat-Headed Cats (Prionailurus planiceps), an Endangered South-East Asian Small Felid". PLoS ONE. 5 (3): e9612. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0009612. PMC   2840020 . PMID   20305809.
  10. Payne, J.; Françis, C. M.; Phillipps, K. (1998). A Field Guide to the Mammals of Borneo. Sabah Society. Third reprint. ISBN   967-99947-1-6.
  11. 1 2 3 Wadey, J.; Fletcher, C.; Campos-Arceiz (2014). "First Photographic Evidence of Flat-Headed Cats (Prionailurus planiceps) in Pasoh Forest Reserve, Peninsular Malaysia". Tropical Conservation Science. 7 (2): 174. doi: 10.1177/194008291400700201 .
  12. 1 2 Jeffers, K. A.; Adul; Cheyne, S. M. (2019). "Small cat surveys: 10 years of data from Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo". Journal of Threatened Taxa. 11 (4): 13478–13491. doi: 10.11609/jott.4466.11.4.13478-13491 .
  13. Leyhausen, P. (1979). Cat behaviour. The predatory and social behaviour of domestic and wild cats. Garland STPM Press; New York ISBN   0-8240-7017-8.
  14. Muul, I.; Lim, B. L. (1970). "Ecological and morphological observations of Felis planiceps". Journal of Mammalogy. 51 (4): 806–808. doi:10.2307/1378310. JSTOR   1378310.
  15. Peters, G. (1981). "Das Schnurren der Katzen". Säugetierkundliche Mitteilungen (29): 30–37.
  16. Severtzow, M. N. (1858). "Notice sur la classification multisériale des Carnivores, spécialement des Félidés, et les études de zoologie générale qui s'y rattachent". Revue et Magasin de Zoologie Pure et Appliquée. X: 385–396.
  17. Ellerman, J. R. & Morrison-Scott, T. C. S. (1966). Checklist of Palaearctic and Indian mammals 1758 to 1946 (Second ed.). London: British Museum of Natural History.
  18. Weigel, I. (1961). "Das Fellmuster der wildlebenden Katzenarten und der Hauskatze in vergleichender und stammesgeschichtlicher Hinsicht" [The fur pattern of wild cat species and of the domestic cat in comparative and phylogenetic aspects]. Säugetierkundliche Mitteilungen (9): 1–120.
  19. Johnson, W. E. & O'Brien, S. J. (1997). "Phylogenetic reconstruction of the Felidae using 16S rRNA and NADH-5 mitochondrial genes". Journal of Molecular Evolution. 44: S98–116. Bibcode:1997JMolE..44S..98J. doi:10.1007/PL00000060. PMID   9071018.
  20. 1 2 3 4 Johnson, W. E.; Eizirik, E.; Pecon-Slattery, J.; Murphy, W. J.; Antunes, A.; Teeling, E. & O'Brien, S. J. (2006). "The Late Miocene radiation of modern Felidae: A genetic assessment". Science . 311 (5757): 73–77. Bibcode:2006Sci...311...73J. doi:10.1126/science.1122277. PMID   16400146.
  21. 1 2 Werdelin, L.; Yamaguchi, N.; Johnson, W. E. & O'Brien, S. J. (2010). "Phylogeny and evolution of cats (Felidae)". In Macdonald, D. W. & Loveridge, A. J. (eds.). Biology and Conservation of Wild Felids. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 59–82. ISBN   978-0-19-923445-5.
  22. 1 2 3 Li, G.; Davis, B. W.; Eizirik, E. & Murphy, W. J. (2016). "Phylogenomic evidence for ancient hybridization in the genomes of living cats (Felidae)". Genome Research. 26 (1): 1–11. doi:10.1101/gr.186668.114. PMC   4691742 . PMID   26518481.