Golden palm civet

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Golden palm civet
Paradoxurus zeylonensis.jpg
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Suborder: Feliformia
Family: Viverridae
Genus: Paradoxurus
P. zeylonensis [2]
Binomial name
Paradoxurus zeylonensis [2]
(Pallas, 1778) [3]
Golden Palm Civet range.png
Golden palm civet range

The golden palm civet (Paradoxurus zeylonensis) is a palm civet endemic to Sri Lanka. It is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. Its distribution is severely fragmented, and the extent and quality of its habitat in Sri Lanka's hill regions are declining. [1]


The golden palm civet was described by Peter Simon Pallas in 1778. [3]


Viverra zeylonensis was the scientific name proposed by Pallas in 1778 for a palm civet specimen from Sri Lanka. [3] It was placed in the genus Paradoxurus by Edward Frederick Kelaart in 1852, who also described a fulvous brown palm civet from the mountains of Sri Lanka. He considered this specimen a variety of the golden palm civet and proposed the scientific name Paradoxurus montanus . [4]

Since zoological specimens exhibit polymorphism, it was suggested to split the golden palm civet into distinct species in 2009: [5]

Genetic analysis indicates that specimens of P. montanus, P. aureus and P. stenocephalus share the same haplotype. Because of their low genetic difference, they should neither be considered distinct species nor subspecies, but junior synonyms of the golden palm civet. [6]


The golden palm civet is brown on the upper side, but individually variable from dark sepia to ochreous, rusty or golden-brown. The tips of the contour hairs are frequently lustrous, sometimes greyish. The legs are about the same tint as the back, but the tail and the face are sometimes noticeably paler, buffy-grey. The face does not have a pattern, and the vibrissae are dirty white. The hair in front of the shoulders radiates from two whorls and grows forward along the sides of the neck and the nape to the head. It also grows forward on the fore throat, radiating from a single whorl. The dorsal pattern consists of faint bands and spots that are slightly darker than the ground colour. The lower side is slightly paler and sometimes greyer than the upper. [7] The golden palm civet has two morphs — one golden and one dark brown. [5]

Distribution and habitat

The golden palm civet is found in lowland rain forest, evergreen mountain forests, and also dense monsoon forest. [8]

Ecology and behaviour

The golden palm civet is forest-dependent, yet tolerant of minor habitat modification where some continuous forest remains. It is arboreal, nocturnal, and solitary; its diet consists of fruits, berries, invertebrates, and a wide range of small vertebrates. [1]

In culture

In Sri Lanka the golden palm civet is called pani uguduwaපැනි උගුඩුවා, sapumal kalawaddhaසපුමල් කලවැද්දා, or ranhothambuwaරන් හොතබුවා / hotambuwaහොතබුවා, by the Sinhala speaking community. Both golden and Asian palm civet are sometimes collectively called kalawedda in Sinhala and maranai (மரநாய்) in Tamil. [5]

However, the word hotambuwa is mostly used to refer altogether a different species ruddy mongoose (Herpestes smithii). Due to similar appearance and coloration, they are mistaken as the same animal.

This civet appears in 3 rupee Sri Lankan postal stamp. However, it is labeled "Golden Palm Cat" in the stamp.[ citation needed ]

Related Research Articles

Viverridae family of mammals

Viverridae is a family of small to medium-sized mammals, the viverrids, comprising 15 genera, which are subdivided into 38 species. This family was named and first described by John Edward Gray in 1821. Viverrids occur all over Africa, southern Europe, and South and Southeast Asia, across the Wallace Line. Their occurrence in Sulawesi and in some of the adjoining islands shows them to be ancient inhabitants of the Old World tropics.

Asian palm civet Species of viverrid

The Asian palm civet is a viverrid native to South and Southeast Asia. Since 2008, it is IUCN Red Listed as Least Concern as it accommodates to a broad range of habitats. It is widely distributed with large populations that in 2008 were thought unlikely to be declining. In Indonesia, it is threatened by poaching and illegal wildlife trade; buyers use it for the increasing production of kopi luwak, a form of coffee that involves ingestion and excretion of the beans by the animal.

Sinharaja Forest Reserve protected area in Sri Lanka

Sinharaja Forest Reserve is a forest reserve and a biodiversity hotspot in Sri Lanka. It is of international significance and has been designated a Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

<i>Paradoxurus</i> genus of mammals

Paradoxurus is a genus of three palm civets within the viverrid family that was denominated and first described by Frédéric Cuvier in 1822. The Paradoxurus species have a broad head, a narrow muzzle with a large rhinarium that is deeply sulcate in the middle. Their large ears are rounded at the tip. The tail is nearly as long as the head and body.

Sulawesi palm civet species of mammal

The Sulawesi palm civet, also known as Sulawesi civet, musang and brown palm civet is a little-known palm civet endemic to Sulawesi. It is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List due to population decline estimated to have been more than 30% over the last three generations inferred from habitat destruction and degradation.

Small Indian civet Species of mammal

The small Indian civet is a civet native to South and Southeast Asia. It is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List because of its widespread distribution, widespread habitat use and healthy populations living in agricultural and secondary landscapes of many range states.

Small-toothed palm civet species of mammal

The small-toothed palm civet, also known as the three-striped palm civet, is a palm civet native to dense forests of Southeast Asia, from the Assam district of India to Indochina and the Malay Peninsula and on Sumatra, Bangka, Java, Borneo, and numerous small nearby islands of Indonesia.

Brown palm civet species of mammal

The brown palm civet also called the Jerdon's palm civet is a palm civet endemic to the Western Ghats of India.

Ruddy mongoose Species of mammal

The ruddy mongoose is a mongoose species native to hill forests in India and Sri Lanka. This mongoose, along with the striped-neck and Indian grey mongeese, are the only mongoose species endemic to India and Sri Lanka. The ruddy mongoose is very closely related to Indian grey mongoose, but distinguished by its slightly larger size and black-tipped tail extending for 2 to 3 inches at the distal end. There are two subspecies of this mongoose, H. smithii smithii in India, and H. smithii zeylanicus in Sri Lanka.

Civet Mammals of the families Viverridae and Nandiniidae

A civet is a small, lean, mostly nocturnal mammal native to tropical Asia and Africa, especially the tropical forests. The term civet applies to over a dozen different mammal species. Most of the species diversity is found in southeast Asia. The best-known civet species is the African civet, Civettictis civetta, which historically has been the main species from which a musky scent used in perfumery was obtained. The word civet may also refer to the distinctive musky scent produced by the animals.

Layard's palm squirrel or flame-striped jungle squirrel is a species of rodents in the family Sciuridae endemic to Sri Lanka. The validity of the subspecies F. l. dravidianus based on a single specimen from the southern tip of India has been questioned, and is probably a juvenile F. sublineatus. Known as මූකලන් ලේනා in Sinhala.

Paradoxurinae subfamily of mammals, the viverrids

The Paradoxurinae are a subfamily of the viverrids that was denominated and first described by John Edward Gray in 1864. Pocock subordinated the oriental genera Paradoxurus, Paguma and Arctictis to this subfamily.

P. aureus may refer to:

<i>Paradoxurus aureus</i> species of mammal

Paradoxurus aureus, the golden palm civet, also called golden paradoxurus and golden wet-zone palm civet is a viverrid species native to Sri Lanka. It was first described by Frédéric Cuvier in 1822.

Paradoxurus montanus, the Sri Lankan brown palm civet, is a viverrid species endemic to Sri Lanka where it is known as ශ්‍රී ලංකා බොර කලවැද්දා in Sinhala. Until 2009, it was considered as the same species as the golden palm civet, but proposed to be given specific rank.

Paradoxurus stenocephalus, or the golden dry-zone palm civet, is a viverrid species point endemic to Sri Lanka where it is known as ශ්‍රී ලංකා රන් කලවැද්දා in Sinhala. It was considered as the same species as Paradoxurus aureus, but confined to new species status in 2009.

Kaludiya Pokuna Forest

Kaludiya Pokuna Archeological Forest Site, is a forest with archeological remains in Kandalama, in the Dry Zone of Sri Lanka.


  1. 1 2 3 Duckworth, J. W.; Mudappa, D.; Pethiyagoda, R.; Woolgar, J.; de Silva Wijeyeratne, G. & Hall, J. (2016). "Paradoxurus zeylonensis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species . 2016: e.T41694A45218119.
  2. 1 2 Wozencraft, W.C. (2005). "Species Paradoxurus zeylonensis". 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. 551. ISBN   978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC   62265494.
  3. 1 2 3 Pallas, P. S. (1778). "Der Boshond". In Schreber, J. C. D. (ed.). Die Säugethiere in Abbildungen nach der Natur, mit Beschreibungen. Erlangen: Wolfgang Walther. p. 451.
  4. Kelaart, E.F. (1852). "Paradoxurus zeylanica". Prodromus faunae zeylanicae : being contributions to the zoology of Ceylon. Ceylon: Kelaart, E.F. pp. 39–41.
  5. 1 2 3 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.
  6. Veron, G.; Patou, M.-L.; Tóth, M.; Goonatilake, M.; Jennings, A. P. (2015). "How many species of Paradoxurus civets are there? New insights from India and Sri Lanka". Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research. 53 (2): 161–174. doi:10.1111/jzs.12085.
  7. Pocock, R. I. (1939). "Paradoxurus zeylonensis". The Fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Volume 1. Mammalia. London: Taylor and Francis. pp. 381–383.
  8. Schreiber, A., Wirth, R., Riffel, M. and Van Rompaey, H. (1989). Weasels, civets, mongooses, and their relatives. An Action Plan for the conservation of mustelids and viverrids. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.