Leopardus narinensis

Last updated

Red tigrina
Leopardus narinensis and tigrina.jpg
The holotype specimen (right) beside a tigrina specimen (left)
Scientific classification OOjs UI icon edit-ltr.svg
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Suborder: Feliformia
Family: Felidae
Subfamily: Felinae
Genus: Leopardus
L. narinensis
Binomial name
Leopardus narinensis
Ruiz-García et al., 2023

Leopardus narinensis, also called the red tigrina, Nariño cat, and Galeras cat by the scientists who discovered it, is a putative species of small wild cat in the genus Leopardus . It was described in 2023, based on a single skin collected in 1989. [1]



The specific epithet narinensis refers to the Nariño Department in southern Colombia, where the skin was collected. The proposed common names "Nariño cat" and "Galeras cat" also refer to where it was found (the Galeras volcano in the Nariño Department), while "red tigrina" refers to its markedly reddish coloring. [1]

Taxonomy and phylogeny

The skin was first collected in 1989 and donated to a Colombian national institute, which later transferred its biological collections to the Alexander von Humboldt Biological Resources Research Institute, where it remained classified as an ocelot skin until 2001, when Manuel Ruiz-García noticed it while searching for jaguar and puma specimens. He recognized it as being a different species and, when other authorities on South American cats could not identify it, spent the next two decades researching the skin. [2] The final paper was published in June of 2023. [1]

The red tigrina is classified as a member of the genus Leopardus , the small spotted cats of South America. [1]

A scientific paper published only two months later, in August 2023, considered the holotype of L. narinensis to be a specimen of L. tigrinus based on morphological comparison. [3]


Genetic analyses indicate that the Nariño cat diverged from other Leopardus species about 1.3–1.0 million years ago. Both its nuclear and mitochondrial DNA are noted to be different from every known species of cat. In those genetic tests, it was consistently recovered as a sister taxon to the kodkod-Geoffroy's cat clade. [1] [2]

Cladogram of L. narinensis' position in the genus: [1]


Leopardus colocolo

Leopardus wiedii

Leopardus pardalis

Leopardus tigrinus

Leopardus jacobita

Leopardus guigna

Leopardus geoffroyi

Leopardus narinensis


The Galeras cat is, like other tigrinas, a small spotted cat, but the base color of its fur is more reddish than in other tigrinas. The rosettes are black but with even more intensely red coloring on the inside. The top of the head and the dorsal crest are darker. The body is shorter and more robust, and the head is rounder and wider, the face flatter. The coat is denser and woollier. [1]

Distribution and habitat

The holotype and only specimen was collected from the páramo of the Galeras volcano in southern Colombia, 3,100 metres (10,200 ft) above sea level. The region has a high level of endemism due to isolation during the climatic changes at the end of the Pleistocene. [1] [2]

It has not been recorded by the camera traps that have been present in southern Colombia since 2018, and the species may already be nearly (or even totally) extinct. [1] [4]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Margay</span> 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ocelot</span> Small wild cat

The ocelot is a medium-sized spotted wild cat that reaches 40–50 cm (15.7–19.7 in) at the shoulders and weighs between 7 and 15.5 kg on average. It is native to the southwestern United States, Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Margarita. Carl Linnaeus scientifically described it in 1758. Two subspecies are recognized.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Leopard cat</span> Small wild cat species

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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Oncilla</span> 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, and the population is threatened by deforestation and conversion of habitat to agricultural land.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jaguarundi</span> Species of felid

The jaguarundi is a wild cat native to the Americas. Its range extends from central Argentina in the south to northern Mexico, through Central and South America east of the Andes. The jaguarundi is a medium-sized cat of slender build. Its coloration is uniform with two color morphs, gray and red. It has an elongated body, with relatively short legs, a small, narrow head, small, round ears, a short snout, and a long tail, resembling mustelids in these respects. It is about twice as large as a domestic cat, reaching nearly 360 mm (14 in) at the shoulder, and weighs 3.5–7 kg (7.7–15.4 lb).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kodkod</span> Small wild cat

The kodkod, also called guiña, is the smallest felid species native to the Americas. It lives primarily in central and southern Chile, as well as marginally in adjoining areas of Argentina. Since 2002, it has been listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List as the total population may be less than 10,000 mature individuals; it is threatened by persecution, and loss of habitat and prey base.

<i>Prionailurus</i> Genus of carnivores

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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">American lion</span> Extinct species of carnivore

Panthera atrox, better known as the American lion, also called the North American lion, or American cave lion, is an extinct pantherine cat. Panthera atrox lived in North America during the late Pleistocene epoch and the early Holocene epoch, from around 340,000 to 11,000 years ago. The species was initially described by American paleontologist Joseph Leidy in 1853 based on a fragmentary mandible (jawbone) from Mississippi; the species name ('atrox') means "savage" or "cruel". The status of the species is debated, with some mammalogists and paleontologists considering it a distinct species or a subspecies of Panthera leo, which contains living lions. However, novel genetic evidence has shown that it is instead a distinct species derived from the Eurasian cave or steppe lion, evolving after its geographic isolation in North America. Its fossils have been excavated from Alaska to Mexico. It was about 25% larger than the modern lion, making it one of the largest known felids.

<i>Leopardus</i> Genus of felines native to the Americas

Leopardus is a genus comprising eight species of small cats native to the Americas. This genus is considered the oldest branch of a genetic lineage of small cats in the Americas whose common ancestor crossed the Bering land bridge from Asia to North America in the late Miocene.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Andersen's fruit-eating bat</span> Species of bat

Andersen's fruit-eating bat is a bat species found in South America.

<i>Euryoryzomys russatus</i> Species of mammal (rodent)

Euryoryzomys russatus, also known as the russet oryzomys, russet rice rat, or big-headed rice rat, is a species of rodent in the family Cricetidae. It is a member of the genus Euryoryzomys, which was split off from Oryzomys in 2006. It was first described by Johann Andreas Wagner in 1848. It is found in southern Brazil, eastern Paraguay and northeastern Argentina. It is considered a large species in its genus, with a reddish-brown coat, long tail length, and large skull. It is a terrestrial rodent, spending its time foraging for seeds, fruits, and insects. It is listed by the IUCN as least concern, although studies have shown it to be influenced by anthropogenic disturbances. Predators consist of small members of the order Carnivora.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pampas cat</span> 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.

Pristimantis repens, known commonly as the Galeras robber frog, is a species of frog in the family Strabomantidae. It is endemic to the Colombian Massif in the Nariño Department, Colombia. The specific name repens is Latin for creeping or crawling, inferred to be its mode of locomotion based on its short limbs.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Spotted green pigeon</span> Extinct species of bird

The spotted green pigeon or Liverpool pigeon is a species of pigeon which is most likely extinct. It was first mentioned and described in 1783 by John Latham, who had seen two specimens of unknown provenance and a drawing depicting the bird. The taxonomic relationships of the bird were long obscure, and early writers suggested many different possibilities, though the idea that it was related to the Nicobar pigeon prevailed, and it was therefore placed in the same genus, Caloenas. Today, the species is only known from a specimen kept in World Museum, Liverpool. Overlooked for much of the 20th century, it was recognised as a valid extinct species by the IUCN Red List only in 2008. It may have been native to an island somewhere in the South Pacific Ocean or the Indian Ocean, and it has been suggested that a bird referred to as titi by Tahitian islanders was this bird. In 2014, a genetic study confirmed it as a distinct species related to the Nicobar pigeon, and showed that the two were the closest relatives of the extinct dodo and Rodrigues solitaire.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Durrell's vontsira</span> Small species of carnivoran from Madagascar

Durrell's vontsira is a small, reddish-brown, fox-like mammal native to the island of Madagascar. Discovered in 2004, it lives only in the biodiverse wetlands of Lake Alaotra. Durrell's vontsira belongs to the family Eupleridae, a group of meat-eating, cat- or fox-like mammals found only on Madagascar. The species is closely related to the brown-tailed mongoose, with which it forms the genus Salanoia. The two are genetically similar, but morphologically distinct, and S. durrelli was described as a new species in 2010.

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

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

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Oriental Basin pocket gopher</span> Species of rodent

The Oriental Basin pocket gopher is a species of pocket gopher which is endemic to Mexico. It was first described in 1895 by Clinton Hart Merriam. It was considered to be a subspecies of Merriam's pocket gopher in the late 20th and early 21st century but has been reinstated as its own species. The IUCN Red List has evaluated it to be of least concern.

The Taiwan broad-muzzled bat or Taiwan broad-muzzled myotis is a species of vesper bat found in Taiwan.

Atelopus ardila is a species of frog in the family Bufonidae. It has not been seen since 1992, and is believed to be possibly extinct.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Ruiz-García, Manuel; Pinedo-Castro, Myreya; Shostell, Joseph Mark (2023). "Morphological and Genetics Support for a Hitherto Undescribed Spotted Cat Species (Genus Leopardus; Felidae, Carnivora) from the Southern Colombian Andes". Genes. 14 (6): 1266. doi: 10.3390/genes14061266 . PMC   10298493 . PMID   37372446.
  2. 1 2 3 Mariana Sofía Díaz Sanjuan (6 July 2023). "Enigmático y escurridizo: científicos hacen historia con el hallazgo de una nueva especie de felino en Colombia" [Enigmatic and elusive: scientists make history with the discovery of a new species of cat in Colombia]. Pesquisa Javerania (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 9 July 2023. Retrieved 10 July 2023.
  3. Astorquiza, J. Milena; Noguera-Urbano, Elkin A.; Cabrera-Ojeda, Christian; Cepeda-Quilindo, Belisario; González-Maya, José F.; Eizirik, Eduardo; Bonilla-Sánchez, Alejandra; Buitrago, Diana Lucía; Pulido-Santacruz, Paola; Ramírez-Chaves, Héctor E. (2023). "Distribution of the northern pampas cat, Leopardus garleppi , in northern South America, confirmation of its presence in Colombia and genetic analysis of a controversial record from the country". Mammalia. doi:10.1515/mammalia-2022-0114. S2CID   261342106.
  4. Anderson, Natali (7 August 2023). "New Cat Species Discovered in Museum Collection is Probably Already Extinct". Sci News. Retrieved 8 August 2023.