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Galidia elegans 1.jpg
Ring-tailed mongoose (Galidia elegans)
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Suborder: Feliformia
Family: Eupleridae
Subfamily: Galidiinae
Gray, 1865
Galidiinae range.png
Galidiinae diversity

Galidiinae is a subfamily of carnivorans that is restricted to Madagascar and includes six species classified into four genera. Together with the three other species of indigenous Malagasy carnivorans, including the fossa, they are currently classified in the family Eupleridae within the suborder Feliformia. [1] Galidiinae are the smallest of the Malagasy carnivorans, generally weighing about 600 to 900 g. They are agile, short-legged animals with long, bushy tails. [2]


In some of these characters, they resemble the mongooses (family Herpestidae) of continental Africa and southern Eurasia, with which they were classified until 2006, and accordingly they are said to be "mongoose-like" [2] or even described as "Malagasy mongooses". [3]


The relationship of galidiines to other carnivorans has historically been controversial. Up to the middle of the 20th century, all smaller feliformians, including members of the current families Viverridae, Herpestidae, and Eupleridae as well as some smaller groups, were classified in the single family Viverridae. [2] Galidiines, which share some characters with both the civets and genets (current Viverridae) and the mongooses (Herpestidae), [4] were allied early on both with the former [5] and the latter, with some going as far as to doubt that they should be placed in a different subfamily than the other mongooses. [6]

When the classification of the mongooses as a family separate from Viverridae gained wide acceptance around 1990, the galidiines were classified with them in the family Herpestidae, [7] an arrangement supported by cladistic analysis of morphological data. [8] In the early 2000s, molecular phylogenetic inferences, based on data from several genes, provided evidence for a close relationship between galidiines and other Malagasy carnivorans to the exclusion of mainland feliformians. [9] Accordingly, they were all reclassified into a single family, Eupleridae, [10] which is most closely related to the mongooses of the family Herpestidae. [9]

Within the family Eupleridae, some relations remain unclear, with evidence from several genes and methods of inference providing conflicting evidence as to the relations among Galidiinae, the fossa, and the Malagasy civet (Fossa fossana). [11] Molecular evidence suggests that Galidia was the earliest to diverge of the four galidiine genera and that Mungotictis and Salanoia are each other's closest relatives. [12] Morphological evidence, on the other hand, supports the relation between Mungotictis and Salanoia, but suggests that Galidictis was the earliest lineage to diverge. [13]


The subfamily includes the following genera and species: [1]

Subamily Galidiinae
Galidia(I. Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 1837) Ring-tailed vontsira (G. elegans) Ring-tailed vontsira (Galidia elegans).jpg
Galidictis (I. Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 1839) Mungo1.jpg
Mungotictis(Pocock, 1915) Narrow-striped mongoose (M. decemlineata) Smalstreepmangoest.JPG
Salanoia (Gray, 1864) Alaotra carnivore credit Fidimalala Bruno Ralainasolo.jpg

Phylogenetic tree

The phylogenetic relationships of Galidiinae are shown in the following cladogram: [15]


Galidia elegans (Ring-tailed mongoose)


Galidictis fasciata (Broad-striped Malagasy mongoose)

Galidictis grandidieri (Grandidier's mongoose)


Salanoia durrelli (Alaotra mongoose)

Salanoia concolor (Brown-tailed mongoose)


Mungotictis decemlineata (Narrow-striped mongoose)


Galidiines range in size from the narrow-striped mongoose, which may weigh as little as 500 g (18 oz), [16] to the Grandidier's mongoose, which can reach a weight of 1,500 g (53 oz). [17] All are similar in general form to mongooses, sharing with them an agile body supported by short legs, as well as a long, bushy tail and a flat, long cranium. [2] Each of the four genera has a distinctive color pattern reflected in its common name: the tail of the ring-tailed mongoose is ringed with brown and black bands; both species of Galidictis have the body covered with broad stripes; the narrow-striped mongoose also has stripes over the body, but they are narrower and less conspicuous; and the brown-tailed mongoose has a dark brown pelage without any rings or stripes. [18] Most galidiines share a dental formula of, but both species of Salanoia are distinct in having a dental formula of [19]

Ecology and behavior

Galidiines are generally found in forest, but the Grandidier's and narrow-striped mongooses live in open habitats. All species dig burrows for shelter, and several species may also use tree holes. All six species can be found on the ground, but the narrow-striped and ring-tailed mongooses also climb trees. Like true mongooses, galidiines are usually active during the day, with the exception of the two species of Galidictis. Breeding occurs during the (Southern Hemisphere) summer, except in Grandidier's mongoose, which breeds year-round. Usually, only a single young is born. The ring-tailed, Grandidier's, and brown-tailed mongooses live alone or in pairs, sometimes with their offspring, but the broad-striped Malagasy and narrow-striped mongooses also occur in larger social groups. The diet varies among the species, with the ring-tailed and broad-striped Malagasy mongooses eating mainly small vertebrates like lizards, frogs and rodents, and the other three species eating more invertebrates like insects and scorpions. The ring-tailed and brown-tailed mongooses are also known to eat fruit. [18]

See also

Related Research Articles

Carnivora order of mammals

Carnivora is a clade of placental mammals where most species have specialized in primarily eating flesh. However some species are omnivorous, like raccoons and bears, and quite few species like pandas are specialized herbivores. Its members are formally referred to as carnivorans, whereas the word "carnivore" can refer to any meat-eating organism. With at least 279 extant species found on every major landmass and in a variety of habitats, ranging the cold polar regions to the hyper-arid region of the Sahara Desert to the open seas even, Carnivora is the fifth largest order of mammals and one of the more successful members of the group. They come in a huge array of different body plans in contrasting shapes and sizes. The smallest carnivoran is the least weasel, which can weigh as little as 25 g (0.88 oz) and 11 cm (4.3 in), as the largest is the southern elephant seal, whose adult males weigh up to 5,000 kg (11,000 lb) and measure up to 6.7 m (22 ft) in length. All species of carnivorans are descended from a group of mammals which were related to today's pangolins, having appeared in North America 6 million years after the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event. These early ancestors of carnivorans would have resembled small weasel or genet-like mammals, occupying a nocturnal shift on the forest floor or in the trees, as other groups of mammals like the mesonychians and creodonts were occupying the top faunivorous niche. However, by the time Miocene epoch appeared, most if not all of the major lineages and families of carnivorans had diversified and took over this niche.

Mongoose A family of mammals in Africa and Asia

A mongoose is a small terrestrial carnivorous mammal belonging to the family Herpestidae. This family is currently split into two subfamilies, the Herpestinae and the Mungotinae. The Herpestinae comprises 23 living species that are native to southern Europe, Africa and Asia, whereas the Mungotinae comprises 11 species native to Africa. The Herpestidae originated about 21.8 ± 3.6 million years ago in the Early Miocene and genetically diverged into two main genetic lineages between 19.1 and 18.5 ± 3.5 million years ago.

Fossa (animal) Cat-like, carnivorous mammal endemic to Madagascar

The fossa is a cat-like, carnivorous mammal endemic to Madagascar. It is a member of the Eupleridae, a family of carnivorans closely related to the mongoose family (Herpestidae). Its classification has been controversial because its physical traits resemble those of cats, yet other traits suggest a close relationship with viverrids. Its classification, along with that of the other Malagasy carnivores, influenced hypotheses about how many times mammalian carnivores have colonized Madagascar. With genetic studies demonstrating that the fossa and all other Malagasy carnivores are most closely related to each other, carnivorans are now thought to have colonized the island once, around 18 to 20 million years ago.

Grandidiers mongoose species of mammal

Grandidier's mongoose, also known as the giant-striped mongoose or Grandidier's vontsira, is a small carnivoran that lives only in a very small area of southwestern Madagascar, in areas of spiny forest vegetation. It is pale brown or grayish coloured, with eight wide, dark stripes on its back and sides. Grandidier's mongoose is larger than the related broad-striped Malagasy mongoose, G. fasciata, and its stripes are not as wide. The species is named after Alfred Grandidier.

Malagasy civet euplerid endemic to Madagascar

The Malagasy or striped civet, also known as the fanaloka or jabady, is an euplerid endemic to Madagascar.

Eastern falanouc species of mammal

The eastern falanouc is a rare mongoose-like mammal in the carnivoran family Eupleridae endemic to Madagascar.

Eupleridae family of carnivorans

Eupleridae is a family of carnivorans endemic to Madagascar and comprising 10 known living species in seven genera, commonly known as euplerids, Malagasy mongooses or Malagasy carnivorans. The best known species is the fossa, in the subfamily Euplerinae. All species of Euplerinae were formerly classified as viverrids, while all species in the subfamily Galidiinae were classified as herpestids.

Ring-tailed vontsira species of mammal

The ring-tailed vontsira, locally still known as the ring-tailed mongoose is a euplerid in the subfamily Galidiinae, a carnivoran native to Madagascar.

Broad-striped Malagasy mongoose species of mammal

The broad-striped Malagasy mongoose is a species of Galidiinae, a subfamily of mongoose-like euplerids native to Madagascar. The species contains two known subspecies: Galidictis fasciata fasciata and Galidictis fasciata striata.

Narrow-striped mongoose species of mammal

The narrow-striped mongoose is a member of the family Eupleridae and is endemic to Madagascar. It inhabits the Madagascar dry deciduous forests of western and southwestern Madagascar, where it lives from sea level to about 125 m (410 ft) between the Tsiribihina and Mangoky rivers. In Malagasy it is called bokiboky.

Feliformia suborder of mammals in the order Carnivora

Feliformia is a suborder within the order Carnivora consisting of "cat-like" carnivorans, including cats, hyenas, mongooses, civets, and related taxa. Feliformia stands in contrast to the other suborder of Carnivora, Caniformia.

Viverroidea infraorder of mammals in the order Carnivora

Viverroidea is an infraorder of feliformia, containing both the family Viverridae, and the superfamily Herpestoidea.

<i>Cryptoprocta spelea</i> Extinct species of carnivoran from Madagascar

Cryptoprocta spelea, also known as the giant fossa, is an extinct species of carnivore from Madagascar in the family Eupleridae, which is most closely related to the mongooses and includes all Malagasy carnivorans. It was first described in 1902, and in 1935 was recognized as a separate species from its closest relative, the living fossa. C. spelea is larger than the fossa, but otherwise similar. The two have not always been accepted as distinct species. When and how the larger form became extinct is unknown; there is some anecdotal evidence, including reports of very large fossas, that there is more than one surviving species.

<i>Galidictis</i> genus of mammals

Galidictis is a genus in the subfamily Galidiinae of the family Eupleridae: a group of carnivorans that are endemic to Madagascar.

Brown-tailed mongoose species of mammal

The brown-tailed mongoose, Malagasy brown-tailed mongoose, or salano is a species of mammal in the family Eupleridae. It is endemic to Madagascar. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical dry forests. It is threatened by habitat loss.

<i>Salanoia</i> monotypic taxon

Salanoia is a genus of euplerid carnivoran with two currently described species found in Madagascar. They are mongoose-like, which is reflected in the older versions of their English names, for example brown-tailed mongoose which is now called brown-tailed vontsira. The name Salanoia is derived from one of the vernacular names for Salanoia concolor: Salano.

Euplerinae subfamily of carnivorans

Euplerinae, more commonly known as malagasy civets, is a subfamily of carnivorans that includes four species restricted to Madagascar. Together with the subfamily Galidiinae, which also only occurs on Madagascar, it forms the family Eupleridae. Members of this subfamily, which include the fossa, falanoucs and Malagasy civet, were placed in families like Felidae and Viverridae before genetic data indicated their consanguinity with other Madagascar carnivorans. Within the subfamily, the falanouc and Malagasy civet are more closely related to each other than to the fossa.

Durrells vontsira A small species of carnivoran from Madagascar

Durrell's vontsira is a Madagascan mammal in the family Eupleridae of the order Carnivora. It is most closely related to the brown-tailed mongoose, with which it forms the genus Salanoia. The two are genetically similar, but morphologically distinct, leading scientists to recognize them as separate species. After an individual was observed in 2004, the animal became known to science and S. durrelli was described as a new species in 2010. It is found only in the Lac Alaotra area.

Herpestoidea Superfamily of mammals

Herpestoidea is a superfamily of mammalia carnivores which includes mongooses, Malagasy carnivorans and the hyenas.


  1. 1 2 Wozencraft, 2005, pp. 560–561
  2. 1 2 3 4 Yoder and Flynn, 2003
  3. Garbutt, 2007, p. 213
  4. Pocock, 1916, p. 352
  5. Pocock, 1916, p. 356
  6. Lydekker, 1894, p. 278
  7. Nowak, 2005, p. 204
  8. Yoder and Flynn, 2003, fig. 2; Gaubert et al., 2005, fig. 2
  9. 1 2 Yoder et al., 2003; Flynn et al., 2005
  10. Wozencraft, 2005, pp. 559–561
  11. Yoder and Flynn, 2003; Flynn et al., 2005
  12. Flynn et al., 2005
  13. Yoder and Flynn, 2003, fig. 2
  14. Durbin et al., 2010
  15. Yoder, A.D.; Burns, M.M.; Zehr, S.; Delefosse, T.; Veron, G.; Goodman, S.M.; Flynn, J.J. (2003). "Single origin of Malagasy Carnivora from an African ancestor" (PDF). Nature. 421 (6924): 734–737. doi:10.1038/nature01303. PMID   12610623 . Retrieved 19 May 2010.
  16. Garbutt, 2007, p. 216
  17. Garbutt, 2007, p. 217
  18. 1 2 Nowak, 2005, pp. 204–207; Garbutt, 2007, pp. 214–219
  19. Albignac, 1972; Durbin et al., 2010, p. 9. Albignac (1972, p. 677) reports a single lower molar for the brown-tailed mongoose, but Durbin et al. (2010, p. 9, fig. 11) figure and describe the second molar in both of the species of Salanoia they recognise.

Literature cited