Neofelis

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Neofelis
Neofelis nebulosa.jpg
Clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa)
Borneo clouded leopard.jpg
Sunda clouded leopard (Neofelis diardi)
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Suborder: Feliformia
Family: Felidae
Subfamily: Pantherinae
Genus: Neofelis
Gray, 1867
Species
Neofelis range.png
Neofelis range

Neofelis is a genus comprising two extant cat species from Southeast Asia: the clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) of mainland Asia, and the Sunda clouded leopard (Neofelis diardi) of Sumatra and Borneo. [1] [2]

Contents

The scientific name Neofelis is a composite of the Greek word neo- (νεο-) meaning "new", and the Latin word feles meaning "cat", literally meaning "new cat". [3] [4]

Taxonomic history

The generic name Neofelis was first proposed by John Edward Gray in 1867 as comprising two species; Neofelis macrocelis occurring in the Himalaya, Malacca, and Thailand, and Neofelis brachyurus occurring in the former Formosa. [5] Reginald Innes Pocock recognized the taxonomic classification of Neofelis in 1917, but admitted only the single species Neofelis nebulosa with several subspecies and macrocelis as the type specimen. [6] For almost 90 years, the classification of Neofelis as a monotypic genus was widely accepted. [7] In 2006, Neofelis diardi was found to be distinct from its continental relative Neofelis nebulosa and classified as a separate species. [1] [2]

Characteristics

Formosan clouded leopard painted by Joseph Wolf in 1862. LeopardusBrachyurusWolf.jpg
Formosan clouded leopard painted by Joseph Wolf in 1862.

Gray described the genus Neofelis as having an elongate skull, a broad and rather produced face on the same plane as the forehead, a large and elongate nasal, a moderate orbit, a truncated lower jaw and very long conical upper and lower canine teeth with a sharp cutting hinder edge. This skull has resemblances to that of the fossil Smilodon , with very much elongated upper canines. [5]

Pocock described the skull of Neofelis as recalling in general features that of Panthera pardus , especially in the shortness and wide separation of the frontal and malar postorbital processes, relative proportion of mandibular teeth; but differing in the greater posterior width of the nasals, the thicker, more salient inferior edge of the orbit, and the mandible being greatly elevated anteriorly. [6]

The Sunda clouded leopard has longer upper canines and a narrower palate between them. [8]

Distribution and habitat

Neofelis species range from Nepal and Sikkim eastward to south China and Hainan, southeastward to Myanmar, Annam, the Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, Java and Borneo. [9] They are most closely associated with primary evergreen tropical rainforest, but make use of other types of habitat. Sightings have also been made in secondary and logged forest, as well as grassland and scrub. In the Himalayan foothills they have been recorded up to 1,450 m (4,760 ft). [10]

Distribution of species

Between 1821 and 1862, several felids have been described from Southeast Asia that are subordinated under Neofelis today:

Threats

Deforestation is the foremost threat for both Neofelis species. [10] They are also threatened by commercial poaching for the wildlife trade. Skins, claws and teeth are offered for decoration and clothing, bones and meat as substitute for tiger in traditional Asian medicines and tonics, and live animals for the pet trade. Few poaching incidents have been documented, but all range states are believed to have some degree of commercial poaching. In recent years, substantial domestic markets existed in Indonesia, Myanmar and Vietnam. [17]

Conservation

Both Neofelis species are listed in CITES Appendix I and are protected over most of their range. Hunting is banned in Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. Hunting regulations apply in Laos. [10]

Related Research Articles

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<i>Panthera</i> Genus within Felidae

Panthera is a genus within the family Felidae that was named and described by Lorenz Oken in 1816 who placed all the spotted cats in this group. Reginald Innes Pocock revised the classification of this genus in 1916 as comprising the species tiger, lion, jaguar, and leopard on the basis of common cranial features. Results of genetic analysis indicate that the snow leopard also belongs to the Panthera, a classification that was accepted by IUCN Red List assessors in 2008.

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

The clouded leopard is a medium-size 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.

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Leopard cat Small wild cat

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Saber-toothed cat

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The Formosan clouded leopard was a clouded leopard subspecies that was endemic to Taiwan. Camera trapping studies carried out in several protected areas in Taiwan between 1997 and 2012 did not reveal the presence of a clouded leopard. The population is listed as extinct on the IUCN Red List.

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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.

Sumatran clouded leopard species of felid

The Sumatran clouded leopard is a subspecies of the Sunda clouded leopard and is native to the Indonesian islands of Batu and Sumatra. It differs in molecular, craniomandibular and dental characteristics from the Bornean clouded leopard. It was recognized as a valid subspecies in 2017.

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.

Mahamyaing Wildlife Sanctuary

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References

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