Geoffroy's cat

Last updated

Geoffroy's cat
Salzkatze.jpg
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Suborder: Feliformia
Family: Felidae
Subfamily: Felinae
Genus: Leopardus
Species:
L. geoffroyi
Binomial name
Leopardus geoffroyi
(d'Orbigny & Gervais, 1844) [2]
GeoffroysCat distribution.jpg
Distribution of Geoffroy's Cat, 2015 [1]
Synonyms

Oncifelis geoffroyi

Geoffroy's cat (Leopardus geoffroyi) is a wild cat native to the southern and central regions of South America. It is about the size of a domestic cat. It is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List because it is widespread and abundant over most of its range. [1]

Contents

Characteristics

Geoffroy's cat at the Cincinnati Zoo Geoffrey'sCat2.jpg
Geoffroy's cat at the Cincinnati Zoo

The Geoffroy's cat is about the size of a domestic cat, but has numerous black spots and dark bands on the cheeks, head and neck as well as on the tail and limbs. The background colour of its fur varies from a brownish-yellow coat in the northern part of its range to a more grayish coat in the south. The underbelly hair is cream-coloured or even white. The backs of the ears are black with white spots. Black individuals are common. [3]

Its size is about 60 cm (24 in) in head and body with a relatively short tail of about 31 cm (12 in). It weighs between 2 and 5 kg (4.4 and 11.0 lb), though individuals up to 7.8 kg (17 lb) have been reported. Males are usually larger than females, and Geoffroy's cat in the south are larger than those from the north. [3]

Distribution and habitat

Geoffroy's Cat Geoffroy's Cat.jpg
Geoffroy's Cat

The Geoffroy's cat occurs in Chile, Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. It inhabits pampas and savanna landscapes in the Gran Chaco from southern Bolivia to the Straits of Magellan. In the Andes it occurs up to altitudes of 3,800 m (12,500 ft). It prefers open woodland or scrubland with plenty of cover. It also occurs in grasslands and marshy areas. It seems to be common in central South American regions. In Bolivia, it is the second most common cat after the ocelot. [1]

Ecology and behaviour

The Geoffroy's cat is nocturnal and a solitary hunter that contacts conspecifics only during the mating season. Geoffroy's cats have been observed to stand up on their hind legs to scan the surrounding landscape and use their tail as a support, an unusual behaviour among cats. It is able to climb trees but rarely does, except to leave faeces to scent mark its territory. [3]

It is at the top of the food chain in its range and preys primarily on rodents, hares, small lizards, insects, and occasionally frogs and fish. [3] Females maintain home ranges about 2 to 6 km2 (0.77 to 2.32 sq mi) in size, while males range over up to 12 km2 (4.6 sq mi). [3]

Reproduction

A Geoffroy's cat kitten Baby Geoffrey's Cat.jpg
A Geoffroy's cat kitten

The breeding season for Geoffroy's cats lasts from October to March. During this time, the female comes into estrus for periods of up to twelve days, between three and five weeks apart. Mating during this time is brief and frequent, often taking place on a high ledge or similar site. [3]

Gestation lasts for 72–78 days. [4] Most births occur between December and May. Litters consist of one to three kittens, and one or two is more common. [5]

The kittens are born blind and helpless, weighing about 65 to 95 grams (2.3 to 3.4 oz), and develop rather more slowly than in the domestic cat. The eyes open after from eight to nineteen days, and they begin to eat solid food at six or seven weeks. [3] Kittens become independent of their mother at around eight months, but are generally not sexually mature until 18 months for females and 24 months for males. [5]

The oldest recorded captive Geoffroy's cat was at least 20 years old.[ citation needed ]

Taxonomy

At Dudley Zoo, England Leopardus geoffroyi -Dudley Zoo, West Midlands, England-8a (2).jpg
At Dudley Zoo, England

Geoffroy's cat is named after the 19th century French zoologist Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire (1772–1844). It was identified as Felis geoffroyi in 1844 by French naturalists Alcide d'Orbigny and P. Gervais on the basis of three specimens that d'Orbigny had collected on the banks of the Rio Negro in Patagonia during his travels in South America between 1826 and 1833. [6] Five subspecies have been described based on geographic dispersement: [7]

Since 2017, Geoffroy's cat is considered a monotypic species. [8]

Genetic studies have shown that Geoffroy's cat is most closely related to the kodkod. [9]

Conservation

From the 1960s to the 1980s, Geoffroy's cats were hunted extensively for their pelts for the international fur trade, but little trade took place after 1988 and the species was upgraded to CITES Appendix I status in 1992. [5] [1] Legislation introduced in the late 1980s made hunting and domestic trade of their pelts illegal in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay. International trade in Cites Appendix I listed species is now prohibited, except for non-commercial purposes. [10]

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.

Margay Small wild cat

The margay is a small wild cat native to Central and South America. A solitary and nocturnal cat, it lives mainly in primary evergreen and deciduous forest.

Ocelot Small wild cat

The ocelot is a small wild cat native to the southwestern United States, Mexico, and Central and South America. This medium-sized cat is characterized by solid black spots and streaks on its coat, round ears, and white neck and undersides. It weighs between 8 and 15.5 kg and reaches 40–50 cm at the shoulders. It was first described by Carl Linnaeus in 1758. Two subspecies are recognized: L. p. pardalis and L. p. mitis.

Wildcat Small wild cat

The wildcat is a species complex comprising two small wild cat species, the European wildcat and the African wildcat. The European wildcat inhabits forests in Europe and the Caucasus, while the African wildcat inhabits semi-arid landscapes and steppes in Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Central Asia, into western India and western China. The wildcat species differ in fur pattern, tail, and size: the European wildcat has long fur and a bushy tail with a rounded tip; the smaller African wildcat is more faintly striped, has short sandy-gray fur and a tapering tail; the Asiatic wildcat is spotted.

Jungle cat Medium-sized wild cat

The jungle cat, also called reed cat and swamp cat, is a medium-sized cat native to the Middle East, South and Southeast Asia and southern China. It inhabits foremost wetlands like swamps, littoral and riparian areas with dense vegetation. It is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List, and is mainly threatened by destruction of wetlands, trapping and poisoning.

Chinese mountain cat Small wild cat

The Chinese mountain cat, also known as Chinese desert cat and Chinese steppe cat, is a wild cat endemic to western China that has been listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List since 2002, as the effective population size may be fewer than 10,000 mature breeding individuals.

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.

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.

Flat-headed cat Small wild cat

The flat-headed cat 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.

Oncilla Small wild cat

The oncilla, also known as the northern tiger cat, little spotted cat, and tigrillo, is a small spotted cat ranging from Central America to central Brazil. It is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List because the population is threatened by deforestation and conversion of habitat to agricultural land.

Jaguarundi Small wild cat

The jaguarundi is a wild cat native to the Americas. Its range extends from central Argentina in the south to the US–Mexico border in the north, through Central and South America east of the Andes. The jaguarundi is a medium-sized cat of slender build. Its coloration is uniform, similar to that of its closest relative, the much larger cougar, but differing significantly from other neotropical cats. It has an elongated body with relatively short legs, a small, narrow head, small, round ears, a short snout and a long tail, resembling otters and weasels in these respects. It is around twice as large as the domestic cat, reaching nearly 36 cm (14 in) at the shoulder and weighs 3.5–7 kg (7.7–15.4 lb). It has two color morphs — gray and red.

Kodkod Small wild cat

The kodkod, also called güiña, is the smallest cat in the Americas. It lives primarily in central and southern Chile and marginally in adjoining areas of Argentina. Its area of distribution is small compared to the other South American cats. Since 2002, it has been listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List as the total effective population may comprise less than 10,000 mature individuals, and is threatened due to persecution and loss of habitat and prey base.

<i>Prionailurus</i>

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.

Andean mountain cat Small wild cat

The Andean mountain cat is a small wild cat native to the high Andes that has been listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List because fewer than 2,500 individuals are thought to exist in the wild. It is traditionally considered a sacred animal by indigenous Aymara and Quechua people.

Felinae

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.

<i>Leopardus</i>

Leopardus is a genus of spotted small cats native to Central and South America, with one species extending into the southern United States. The genus is considered the oldest branch of a lineage of small cats that crossed into the Americas, with the genera Lynx and Puma being later branches of the same group. The largest Leopardus species is the ocelot, and the kodkod is the smallest cat in the Americas. The margay is highly adapted to arboreal life.

Pampas cat Small wild cat

The Pampas cat is a small wild cat native to South America. It is listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List as habitat conversion and destruction may cause the population to decline in the future.

The Pantanal cat is a Pampas cat subspecies, a small wild cat native to South America. It is named after the Pantanal wetlands in central South America, where it inhabits mainly grassland, shrubland, savannas and deciduous forests.

<i>Leopardus guttulus</i> Small wild cat

Leopardus guttulus, the southern tiger cat or southern tigrina, is a wild cat species native to Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Pereira, J.; Lucherini, M. & Trigo, T. (2015). "Leopardus geoffroyi". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species . 2015: e.T15310A50657011. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
  2. Wozencraft, W.C. (2005). "Order Carnivora". 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. 538. ISBN   978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC   62265494.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Sunquist, M.; Sunquist, F. (2002). "Geoffroy's cat Oncifelis geoffroyi (d'Orbigny and Gervais, 1844)". Wild Cats of the World . Chicago: University of Chicago Press. pp.  205–210. ISBN   0-226-77999-8.
  4. Green, R. (1991). Wild cat species of the world. Plymouth: Basset.
  5. 1 2 3 Nowell, K.; Jackson, P. (1996). "Geoffroy's Cat Oncifelis geoffroyi". Wild Cats: status survey and conservation action plan. Gland: IUCN/SSC Cat Specialist Group. Archived from the original on 2014-09-10.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  6. D'Orbigny, A.; Gervais, P. (1844). "Mammalogie: Nouvelle espèce de Felis". Extraits des Procès-verbaux des Séances. 9: 40−41.
  7. Wozencraft, W.C. (2005). "Leopardus geoffroyi". 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. 532–628. ISBN   978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC   62265494.
  8. 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: 56−57.
  9. Pecon-Slattery, J. W.; et al. (1994). "Phylogenetic reconstruction of South American felids defined by protein electrophoresis". Journal of Molecular Evolution. 39 (3): 296–305. Bibcode:1994JMolE..39..296P. doi:10.1007/BF00160153. PMID   7932791. S2CID   11525637.
  10. "Appendices | CITES".