Prionailurus

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Prionailurus [1]
Bengalkatze.jpg
Leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis)
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Suborder: Feliformia
Family: Felidae
Subfamily: Felinae
Genus: Prionailurus
Severtzov, 1858
Type species
Felis pardachrous
Brian Houghton Hodgson, 1844 (= Felis bengalensis Kerr, 1792)
Species

see Taxonomy

Prionailurus range.png
Prionailurus ranges

Prionailurus is a genus of spotted, small wild cats native to Asia. [2] [3] Forests are their preferred habitat; they feed on small mammals, reptiles and birds, some also on aquatic wildlife. [4]

Contents

Taxonomy

Prionailurus was first proposed by the Russian explorer and naturalist Nikolai Severtzov in 1858 as a generic name for a single felid occurring in tropical Asia, namely Felis pardachrous described by Brian Houghton Hodgson — the leopard cat. As varieties, Severtzov lists Felis nipalensis described by Thomas Horsfield and Nicholas Aylward Vigors, Leopardus Elliotti, Leopardus Horsfieldi and Leopardus chinensis described by John Edward Gray, and Felis bengalensis described by Anselme Gaëtan Desmarest. [5]

The British zoologist Reginald Innes Pocock recognized the taxonomic classification of Prionailurus in 1917. In 1939, he described the genus on the basis of skins and skulls, and compared these to body parts of Felis . Prionailurus species are marked with spots, which are frequently lanceolate, sometimes rosette-like, and occasionally tend to run into longitudinal chains, but never fuse to form vertical stripes as in Felis. Skulls of Prionailurus are lower and less vaulted than of Felis. The facial part is shorter than the cranial, and the bottom of the orbit longer. The nasal bones are not everted above the anterior nares, and the outer chamber of the bulla is much smaller than the inner. Pocock classified the leopard cat, rusty-spotted cat and fishing cat as belonging to the genus Prionailurus. [2]

Pocock's classification of Prionailurus has been widely accepted, with five species now recognised: [6]

NameDistribution
Leopard cat P. bengalensis(Kerr, 1792) [7]
Close-up of a Leopard Cat in Sundarban.jpg
LeopardCat distribution.jpg
Sunda leopard cat P. javanensis(Desmarest, 1816) [8]
Blacan Indonesia.jpg
SundaLeopardCat distribution.jpg
Flat-headed cat P. planiceps(Vigors & Horsfield, 1827) [9]
Flat-headed cat 1 Jim Sanderson.JPG
Flat-headedCat distribution2015.jpg
Fishing cat P. viverrinus(Bennett, 1833) [10]
Prionailurus viverrinus 01.jpg
FishingCat distribution.jpg
Rusty-spotted cat P. rubiginosus(Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 1834) [11]
Rusty spotted cat 1.jpg
Rusty-spottedCat distribution.jpg

Molecular analysis of leopard cat populations indicates a clear distinction between northern populations from Tsushima, Korea, Siberia, China and Taiwan and Southeast Asian populations. If these genetic differences indicate a specific distinction, P. b. euptilurus may yet be a valid species. [12] The Iriomote cat (P. bengalensis iriomotensis) has been proposed as a distinct species based on morphology, but is considered a subspecies of P. bengalensis based on genetic analysis. [13]

Phylogeny

Phylogenetic analysis of the nuclear DNA in tissue samples from all Felidae species revealed that the evolutionary radiation of the Felidae began in Asia in the Miocene around 14.45 to 8.38 million years ago . [3] [14] Analysis of mitochondrial DNA of all Felidae species indicates a radiation at around 16.76 to 6.46 million years ago . [15] Both models agree in the rusty-spotted cat having been the first cat of the Prionailurus lineage that genetically diverged, followed by the flat-headed cat and then the fishing cat. [3] [15] It is estimated to have diverged together with the leopard cat between 4.31 to 1.74 million years ago [3] and 4.25 to 0.02 million years ago . [15]

The following cladogram shows their phylogenetic relationship as derived through analysis of nuclear DNA: [3] [14]

Felidae  
  Felinae  
 Prionailurus 

Leopard cat

Fishing Cat

Flat-headed cat

Rusty-spotted cat

Otocolobus 

Pallas's cat (O. manul)

other Felinae lineages

Pantherinae

Related Research Articles

Felidae Family of mammals

Felidae is a family of mammals in the order Carnivora, colloquially referred to as cats, and constitutes a clade. A member of this family is also called a felid. The term "cat" refers both to felids in general and specifically to the domestic cat.

<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.

<i>Felis</i> Genus of mammals (cats)

Felis is a genus of small and medium-sized cat (Felinae) species native to most of Africa and south of 60° latitude in Europe and Asia to Indochina. The genus includes the domestic cat. The smallest Felis species is the black-footed cat with a head and body length from 38 to 42 cm. The largest is the jungle cat with a head and body length from 62 to 76 cm.

Pallass cat Small wild cat

Pallas's cat, also called the manul, is a small wild cat with a broad, but fragmented distribution in the grasslands and montane steppes of Central Asia. It is negatively affected by habitat degradation, prey base decline and hunting, and has therefore been classified as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List since 2002.

African golden cat Small wild cat

The African golden cat is a wild cat endemic to the rainforests of West and Central Africa. It is threatened due to deforestation and bushmeat hunting and listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. It is a close relative of both the caracal and the serval. Previously, it was placed in the genus Profelis. Its body size ranges from 61 to 101 cm with a 16 to 46 cm long tail.

<i>Catopuma</i> genus of mammals

Catopuma is a genus containing two Asian small wild cat species, the Asian golden cat and the bay cat . Both are typically reddish brown in colour, with darker markings on the head.

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.

Rusty-spotted cat Small wild cat

The rusty-spotted cat is one of the cat family's smallest members, of which historical records are known only from India and Sri Lanka. In 2012, it was also recorded in the western Terai of Nepal. Since 2016, the global wild population is listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List as it is fragmented and affected by loss and destruction of prime habitat, deciduous forests.

Fishing cat Small wild cat

The fishing cat is a medium-sized wild cat of South and Southeast Asia. Since 2016, it is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. Fishing cat populations are threatened by destruction of wetlands and have declined severely over the last decade. The fishing cat lives foremost in the vicinity of wetlands, along rivers, streams, oxbow lakes, in swamps, and mangroves.

Flat-headed cat Small wild cat

The flat-headed cat is a small wild cat native to the Thai-Malay Peninsula, Borneo, and Sumatra. It is an Endangered species, because the wild population probably comprises fewer than 2,500 mature individuals, with small subpopulations of no more than 250 adults. The population inhabits foremost wetlands, which are being destroyed and converted. For these reasons, it is listed on the IUCN Red List since 2008.

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.

Marbled cat Small wild cat

The marbled cat is a small wild cat native from the eastern Himalayas to Southeast Asia, where it inhabits forests up to 2,500 m (8,200 ft) altitude. As it is present in a large range, it has been listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List since 2015.

<i>Pardofelis</i> genus of mammals

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.

Felinae subfamily of mammals

The Felinae are a subfamily of the family Felidae. This subfamily comprises the small cats having a bony hyoid, because of which they are able to purr but not roar.

Felid hybrid Offspring of two different species of Felidae

A felid hybrid is any of a number of hybrid between various species of the cat family, Felidae. This article deals with hybrids between the species of the subfamily Felinae.

<i>Leopardus</i> genus of mammals

Leopardus is a genus of spotted small cats mostly native to Middle and South America, with a very small range extending into the southern United States. The genus is considered the oldest branch of a lineage of small cats that crossed into the Americas, with the genera Lynx and Puma being later branches of the same group. The largest species in Leopardus is the ocelot ; most of the other species resemble domestic cats in size, with the kodkod being the smallest cat in the Americas. The margay is more highly adapted to arboreal life than any other cat in the Americas.

Pantherinae subfamily of mammals

Pantherinae is a subfamily within the family Felidae, which was named and first described by Reginald Innes Pocock in 1917. The Pantherinae and the Felinae diverged from a common ancestor between 10.8 and 11.5 million years ago.

The Visayan leopard cat is a Sunda leopard cat population in the Philippine Islands of Negros, Cebu and Panay. It has been listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List in 2008 under its former scientific name P. bengalensis rabori as its range is estimated to be less than 20,000 km2 (7,700 sq mi).

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

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  2. 1 2 Pocock, R. I. (1939). "Genus Prionailurus Severtzow". The fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Mammalia. – Volume 1. London: Taylor and Francis. pp. 265–284.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 Johnson, W. E.; Eizirik, E.; Pecon-Slattery, J.; Murphy, W. J.; Antunes, A.; Teeling, E. & O'Brien, S. J. (2006). "The Late Miocene radiation of modern Felidae: A genetic assessment". Science . 311 (5757): 73–77. Bibcode:2006Sci...311...73J. doi:10.1126/science.1122277. PMID   16400146.
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