Pampas cat

Last updated

Pampas cat
Leopardus pajeros 20101006.jpg
Pampas cat with the third pelage type
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Suborder: Feliformia
Family: Felidae
Subfamily: Felinae
Genus: Leopardus
Species:
L. colocola [2]
Binomial name
Leopardus colocola [2]
(Molina, 1782)
Subspecies
  • L. c. colocola (Molina, 1782)
  • L. c. pajeros (Desmarest, 1816)
  • L. c. braccatus (Cope, 1889)
  • L. c. garleppi (Matschie, 1912)
  • L. c. budini (Pocock, 1941)
  • L. c. munoai (Ximénez, 1961)
  • L. c. wolffsohni (Garcia-Perea, 1994)
PampasCat distribution.jpg
Distribution of the Pampas Cat, 2016 [1]

The Pampas cat (Leopardus colocola) is a small wild cat native to South America. [2] 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. [1]

Contents

It is also known as Pantanal cat and colocolo in parts of its range. [3] It is named after the Pampas, but occurs in grassland, shrubland, and dry forest at elevations up to 5,000 m (16,000 ft). [4]

There was a proposal to divide Pampas cat into three distinct species, based primarily on differences in pelage colour/pattern and cranial measurements. [4] Accordingly, three species were recognised in the 2005 edition of Mammal Species of the World : the colocolo (L. colocolo), the Pantanal cat (L. braccatus), and the Pampas cat (L. pajeros) with a more restricted definition. [5] This split at species level was not supported by subsequent phylogeographic analysis, although some geographical substructure was recognised, [6] [7] and some authorities continue to recognise the Pampas cat as a single species. [1] [8] In the 2017 revision of felid taxonomy by the Cat Specialist Group, the Pampas cat is recognized as a single species with seven subspecies. [2] A further study released in 2020, found strong evidence for five distinct species within the Pampas cat complex. [9]

Characteristics

The Pampas cat is a little bigger than a domestic cat and has a bushier tail. [10] Its size varies between regions, ranging in body length from 46 to 75 cm (18 to 30 in) with a 23–29 cm (9.1–11.4 in) long tail. Six variants of its pelage occur, but all have two dark lines on the cheeks: [4]

The subtypes of Type 2 show variation according to altitude and latitude. Only the first subtype occurs in the north (around 20°S and northwards), and only the third type occurs in the far south (around 40°S and southwards). In between, the majority are of second subtype, but the first subtype has been recorded as far south as 29°S, and the third subtype as far north as 36°S. At latitudes where both the first and second subtypes are found, the former tends to occur in highlands and the latter in lowlands. [4]

Taxonomy

Felis colocola was the scientific name proposed by Juan Ignacio Molina in 1782 for a cat from Chile. [10]

Skulls Ueber Felis Guina Molina und uber die Schadelbildung bei Felis Pajeros und Felis colocolo (1870) Leopardus colocola.png
Skulls

An extensive morphological analysis of Pampas cat specimens from across the species's range revealed differences in cranial measurements, and pelage colour and pattern. Therefore, the Pampas cat group was divided into three distinct species with 11 subspecies. [4] This species division was recognised in the 2005 edition of Mammal Species of the World , although the number of subspecies was reduced: [5]

Based on just two specimens, the subspecies L. p. steinbachi is larger and paler than L. p. garleppi. However, this is labelled with uncertainty due to the very small sample, [4] and some treat it as a synonym of L. p. garleppi. [8] Uncertainty also exists for the subspecies L. p. budini, which appears to resemble L. p. crespoi, and was described from lowlands of northwestern Argentina, but may actually be from humid forests in the region. [4] Some recognise it, [8] while others do not. [5] Populations in southern Chile and the southern part of Argentina, included in the nominate in the above list, were recognised as the subspecies L. p. crucinus based on its dull pelage and large size. [4]

More recent work, primarily genetic studies, failed to find support for a split at species level, although some geographical substructure was recognized. [6] [7] Several authors recognise the Pampas cat as a single species. [1] [8] Since 2017, the Cat Classification Taskforce of the Cat Specialist Group recognises the Pampas cat as a single species with seven subspecies: [2]

Authors of a study published in May 2020 found significant morphological, molecular, geographic, and ecological differences between various Pampas cat populations across South America. They propose five species within the Pampas cat species complex, namely L. colocola, L. braccatus, L. garleppi, L. munoai and L. pajeros. They consider all five species to be monotypic. [9]

Distribution and habitat

A Pampas cat museum specimen Leopardus pajeros (Felis pajeros) - Museo Civico di Storia Naturale Giacomo Doria - Genoa, Italy - DSC02669.JPG
A Pampas cat museum specimen

The Pampas cat ranges throughout most of Argentina and Uruguay into the Gran Chaco and Cerrado of Bolivia, Paraguay and Brazil, and north through the Andes mountain chain through Ecuador and possibly marginally into southwestern Colombia. [1] It occurs in a wide range of habitats and inhabits elevations between 1,800 and 5,000 m (5,900 and 16,400 ft) in páramo , marginally also in puna grassland and locally in dry forest. [4] Where its range overlaps with the Andean mountain cat in northwestern Argentina, it occurs at lower elevations on average. [14] In central to northwestern Argentina, the Pampas cat is found at elevations below 1,240 m (4,070 ft) in grassland, mesophytic and dry forest, and shrubland. In southern Argentina and far southern Chile, it is found in Patagonian steppes and shrubland at altitudes below 1,100 m (3,600 ft). [4]

In 2016 it was recorded for the first time in the Sechura Desert and in the dry forest of northwestern Peru. [15]

Ecology and behaviour

Little is known about the Pampas cat's hunting and breeding habits. It is thought to prey mainly on small mammals and birds. Guinea pigs are thought to form a large part of its diet, along with viscachas, other rodents, and the ground-dwelling tinamou order of birds. [16] Though some have suggested it is chiefly nocturnal, [16] others suggest it is mainly diurnal. [17]

Litters are relatively small, usually consisting of only one or two kittens, and occasionally three. The kittens weigh around 130 g (4.6 oz) at birth. [16] The average lifespan is nine years, but some have lived for over 16 years. [18]

Related Research Articles

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.

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.

Leopard cat Small wild cat

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.

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.

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> genus of mammals

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.

Geoffroys cat Small wild cat

Geoffroy's cat 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.

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.

The Maule tuco-tuco is a species of rodent in the family Ctenomyidae. It is found in Argentina and Chile where it occupies several different types of habitats. It is a common species and the IUCN has assessed its conservation status as being of "least concern". The common and scientific names refer to a river and region in Chile within its range.

Northern viscacha species of rodent

The northern viscacha is a species of viscacha, a rodent in the family Chinchillidae. It is known from Peru and Chile, at elevations from 300 to 5000 m, and may also be present in Bolivia.

<i>Nasuella meridensis</i> species of mammal

The eastern mountain coati or eastern dwarf coati is a small procyonid found in cloud forest and páramo at altitudes of 2,000–4,000 metres (6,600–13,100 ft) in the Andes of western Venezuela. Until 2009, it was usually included as a subspecies of the western mountain coati, but the eastern mountain coati is overall smaller, somewhat shorter-tailed on average, has markedly smaller teeth, a paler olive-brown pelage, and usually a dark mid-dorsal stripe on the back. When the two were combined, they were rated as Data Deficient by the IUCN, but following the split the eastern mountain coati is considered endangered.

<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.

Bolivian montane dry forests ecoregion in Bolivia

The Bolivian montane dry forests (NT0206) is an ecoregion in Bolivia on the eastern side of the Andes. It is a transitional habitat between the puna grasslands higher up to the west and the Chaco scrub to the east. The habitat is under severe stress from a growing human population.

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.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Lucherini, M.; Eizirik, E.; de Oliveira, T.; Pereira, J.; Williams, R.S.R. (2016). "Leopardus colocolo". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species . IUCN. 2016: e.T15309A97204446. doi: 10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-1.RLTS.T15309A97204446.en . Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 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).CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  3. Novak, R. M. (1999). Walker's Mammals of the World. Volume 1 (sixth ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN   0-8018-5789-9.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Garcia-Perea, R. (1994). "The Pampas cat group (Genus Lynchailurus Severertzov 1858) (Carnivora: Felidae): A systematic and biogeographic review" (PDF). American Museum Novitates (3096): 1–35.
  5. 1 2 3 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. pp. 538–539. ISBN   978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC   62265494.
  6. 1 2 Johnson, W. E.; Slattery, J. P.; Eizirik, E.; Kim, J. H.; Menotti Raymond, M.; Bonacic, C.; Cambre, R.; Crawshaw, P.; Nunes, A.; Seuánez, H. N.; Martins Moreira, M. A. (1999). "Disparate phylogeographic patterns of molecular genetic variation in four closely related South American small cat species" (PDF). Molecular Ecology. 8: S79–94. doi:10.1046/j.1365-294x.1999.00796.x.
  7. 1 2 Macdonald, D.; Loveridge, A., eds. (2010). The Biology and Conservation of Wild Felids. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN   978-0-19-923445-5.
  8. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Sunquist, M. E.; Sunquist, F. C. (2009). "Colocolo (Leopardus colocolo)". In Wilson, D. E.; Mittermeier, R. A. (eds.). Handbook of the Mammals of the World, Vol. 1. Barcelona: Lynx Ediciones. p. 146. ISBN   978-84-96553-49-1.
  9. 1 2 Nascimento, F.O.D.; Cheng, J.; Feijó, A. (2020). "Taxonomic revision of the pampas cat Leopardus colocola complex (Carnivora: Felidae): an integrative approach". Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society: zlaa043. doi:10.1093/zoolinnean/zlaa043.
  10. 1 2 Molina, G. I. (1782). "La Guigna Felis guigna". Saggio sulla storia naturale del Chilli. Bologna: Stamperia di S. Tommaso d’Aquino. p. 295.
  11. Cope E. D. (1889). "On the mammalia obtained by the naturalist exploring expedition to southern Brazil". American Naturalist. 23: 128–150.
  12. 1 2 Barstow, A. L. & Leslie, D.M. (2012). "Leopardus braccatus (Carnivora: Felidae)". Mammalian Species. 44 (1): 16–25. doi: 10.1644/891.1 .
  13. Matschie P. (1912). "Über Felis jacobita, colocola, und zwei ihnen ähnliche Katzen" (PDF). Sitzungsberichte der Gesellschaft Naturforschender Freunde zu Berlin. 4: 255–259.
  14. Perovic, P.; Walker, S. & Novaro, A. (2003). "New records of the Endangered Andean mountain cat in northern Argentina" (PDF). Oryx. 37 (3): 374–377. doi:10.1017/S0030605303000644.
  15. Garcia-Olaechea, A. and Hurtado, C. M. 2016. Pampas Cat conservation in northwestern Peru. Small Wild Cat Conservation News 2 Archived 2016-10-06 at the Wayback Machine : 18.
  16. 1 2 3 Sunquist, M.; Sunquist, F. (2002). "Pampas cat Oncifelis colocolo (Molina, 1782)". Wild Cats of the World . Chicago: University of Chicago Press. pp.  201–204. ISBN   0-226-77999-8.
  17. MacDonald, D., Loveridge, A., eds. (2010). The Biology and Conservation of Wild Felids. Oxford University Press. ISBN   978-0-19-923445-5
  18. "ARKive". Archived from the original on 2018-01-08. Retrieved 2017-12-03.