|Central African oyan (Poiana richardsonii)|
|Genus:|| Poiana |
The African linsangsalso known as oyans are two species classified in the mammalian subfamily Viverrinae, in the family Viverridae. There is one genus, Poiana.
Both linsang genera (Poiana and the Asian Prionodon ) were formerly placed in the subfamily Viverrinae (of Viverridae), along with several other genera, but recent research suggests that their actual relationships may be somewhat different. The linsangs are remarkable for their morphological resemblance to cats, family Felidae, which is greater than in the other viverrids. As the relationship between linsangs and cats was thought to be rather distant (the two groups belonging to different families within the superfamily Feliformia), this was considered an example of convergent evolution. However, DNA analysis indicates that while the African linsangs (Poiana) are true viverrids closely related to the genets, the Asiatic linsangs (Prionodon) are not and may instead be the closest living relatives of the family Felidae.The similarities between Asiatic linsangs and cats are thus more likely to be due to common ancestry, while the similarities between the two genera of linsangs must be convergent.
The name linsang is from Javanese linsang or wlinsang, which used to be wrongly translated as "otter" in English dictionaries. Linsangs are nocturnal, generally solitary tree dwellers. They are carnivorous, eating squirrels and other rodents, small birds, lizards and insects. Typical size is a little over 30 cm (1 foot), with a tail that more than doubles that length. Bodies are long, with short legs, giving a low appearance. Both species have yellowish bodies with black markings (stripes, blotches and spots), though the distribution and nature of the markings varies between the two species.
The species of African linsangs are:
Carnivora is a clade of placental mammals where most species have specialized in primarily eating flesh. However some species are omnivorous, like raccoons and bears, and quite few species like pandas are specialized herbivores. Its members are formally referred to as carnivorans, whereas the word "carnivore" can refer to any meat-eating organism. With at least 279 extant species found on every major landmass and in a variety of habitats, ranging the cold polar regions to the hyper-arid region of the Sahara Desert to the open seas even, Carnivora is the fifth largest order of mammals and one of the more successful members of the group. They come in a huge array of different body plans in contrasting shapes and sizes. The smallest carnivoran is the least weasel, which can weigh as little as 25 g and 11 cm, as the largest is the southern elephant seal, whose adult males weigh up to 5,000 kg and measure up to 6.7 m in length. All species of carnivorans are descended from a group of mammals which were related to today’s pangolins, having appeared in North America 6 million years after the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event. These early ancestors of carnivorans would have resemble small weasel or genet-like mammals, occupying a nocturnal shift on the forest floor or in the trees, as other groups of mammals like the mesonychians and creodonts were occupying the top faunivorous niche. However by the time Miocene epoch appeared, most if not all of the major lineages and families of carnivorans had diversified and took over this niche.
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. Members of this family are commonly called civets or genets. Viverrids are found in South and Southeast Asia, across the Wallace Line, all over Africa, and into southern Europe. Their occurrence in Sulawesi and in some of the adjoining islands shows them to be ancient inhabitants of the Old World tropics.
The Asiatic linsang (Prionodon) is a genus comprising two species native to Southeast Asia: the banded linsang and the spotted linsang. Prionodon is considered a sister taxon of the Felidae.
A saber-toothed cat is any member of various living and extinct groups of predatory mammals that are characterized by long, curved saber-shaped canine teeth which protruded from the mouth even when closed. The saber-toothed cats, both living and extinct, have been found almost worldwide from the Eocene epoch to the end of the Pleistocene epoch 42 million years ago (mya) – 11,000 years ago (kya). The first saber-toothed cat fossil in Canada was found in Medicine Hat, Alberta.
Pardofelis is a genus of the cat family Felidae. This genus is defined as including one species native to Southeast Asia: the marbled cat. Two other species, formerly classified to this genus, now belong to the genus Catopuma.
The spotted linsang is a linsang, a tree-dwelling carnivorous mammal, found throughout much of Southeast Asia. It is widely, though usually sparsely, recorded, and listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.
A genet is a member of the genus Genetta, which consists of 14 to 17 species of small African carnivorans. Genet fossils from the Pliocene have been found in Morocco. The common genet is the only genet present in Europe and occurs in the Iberian Peninsula and France.
Eupleridae is a family of carnivorans endemic to Madagascar and comprising 10 known living species in seven genera, commonly known as euplerids, Malagasy mongooses or Malagasy carnivorans. The best known species is the fossa, in the subfamily Euplerinae. All species of Euplerinae were formerly classified as viverrids, while all species in the subfamily Galidiinae were classified as herpestids.
Galidiinae is a subfamily of carnivorans that is restricted to Madagascar and includes six species classified into four genera. Together with the three other species of indigenous Malagasy carnivorans, including the fossa, they are currently classified in the family Eupleridae within the suborder Feliformia. Galidiinae are the smallest of the Malagasy carnivorans, generally weighing about 600 to 900 g. They are agile, short-legged animals with long, bushy tails.
The West African oyan, also known as the West African linsang, is a linsang species native to the Upper Guinean forests in West Africa. It is one of the least known small carnivores in Africa.
The banded linsang is a linsang, a tree-dwelling carnivorous mammal native to the Sundaic region of Southeast Asia.
The Central African oyan, also called Central African linsang, is a linsang species native to Central Africa.
Feliformia is a suborder within the order Carnivora consisting of "cat-like" carnivorans, including cats, hyenas, mongooses, civets, and related taxa. Feliformia stands in contrast to the other suborder of Carnivora, Caniformia.
The Viverrinae represent the largest subfamily within the Viverridae comprising five genera, which are subdivided into 22 species native to Africa and Southeast Asia. This subfamily was denominated and first described by John Edward Gray in 1864.
The Hemigalinae are a subfamily of the viverrids denominated and first described by John Edward Gray in 1864. This subfamily comprises the four monospecific genera:
Linsangs is a name applied to four species of tree-dwelling carnivorous mammals. The name of these species originated in the Javanese language as, linsang or wlinsang, and previously, was translated incorrectly in English dictionaries as, "otter". The two African species belong to the family Viverridae and the two Asiatic species belong to the family Prionodontidae. Formerly, both linsang genera were placed in the subfamily Viverrinae, along with several other genera, but recent research suggests that their relationships may be somewhat different.
Euplerinae, more commonly known as malagasy civets, is a subfamily of carnivorans that includes four species restricted to Madagascar. Together with the subfamily Galidiinae, which also only occurs on Madagascar, it forms the family Eupleridae. Members of this subfamily, which include the fossa, falanoucs and Malagasy civet, were placed in families like Felidae and Viverridae before genetic data indicated their consanguinity with other Madagascar carnivorans. Within the subfamily, the falanouc and Malagasy civet are more closely related to each other than to the fossa.
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