Prionodon pardicolorspotted linsang

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Geographic Range

Prionodon pardicolor is native to most of mainland Southeast Asia, from India (Assam) to Vietnam, but has disappeared from much of its former range. It is no longer found in Sikkim and Thailand. (Beacham and Beetz, 1998)

Habitat

Spotted linsangs occupy dense tropical forests. They have also been seen in areas with drier conditions. (Beacham and Beetz, 1998; Schliemann, 1990)

  • Range elevation
    200 (high) m
    656.17 (high) ft

Physical Description

Prionodon pardicolor is a long, thin, cat-like, arboreal carnivore. It is 38 to 41 cm long from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail. The tail is 33 to 35 cm long. There are no reported differences in size between males and females. The head resembles that of a fox, but has a longer muzzle. The large, dark eyes see well at night. Hearing is acute and the pointy ears are highly mobile. The soft, dense fur feels like velvet and is cryptically colored with spots arranged in longitudinal rows. Individuals vary in coat color from orange-buff to pale brown. The long and fluffy tail is banded with eight to ten dark rings. The large, well padded feet are covered with short hair and have retractile claws. The front paws have claw sheaths, but the hind feet have protective lobes of skin. The complete covering of the legs by hair helps to distinguish linsangs from other members of the family Viverridae. In addition, these animals lack a perineal gland, and the second upper molars are missing. (Beacham and Beetz, 1998; Nowak, 1999)

  • Sexual Dimorphism
  • sexes alike
  • Average mass
    595 g
    20.97 oz
  • Range length
    38 to 41 cm
    14.96 to 16.14 in

Reproduction

The mating system of these animals has not been reported.

Spotted linsangs have one breeding season in February and a second in August. Individual females can produce one or two litters per year. Although no details are available on the reproductive cycle of P. pardicolor, the estrus cycle for banded linsangs (P. linsang), a related species, is 11 days. Litters of two are common. Newborn weight for P. linsang is 40 g. The young are hidden in tree or root hollows lined with dried vegetation, where they may stay until weaning. It is unknown if their mother teaches the young to hunt. (Beacham and Beetz, 1998; Nowak, 1999; Schliemann, 1990)

Further details on the reproduction of this species are not available. It is unknown when animals are weaned, when they disperse, at what age they reach sexual maturity, and at what age they first breed.

  • Breeding interval
    Spotted linsangs are able to breed twice annually
  • Breeding season
    February and August
  • Range number of offspring
    1 to 2
  • Average number of offspring
    2

Like most carnivores, the young of this species are born helpless. A mother hides her young in tree or root hollows lined with dried vegetation, where they may stay until weaning. It is not known whether the mother teaches the young to hunt. (Beacham and Beetz, 1998; Schliemann, 1990)

In addition to seeing that her offspring are in a safe location, the mother provides the young with milk. It is not known whether or not the male provides parental care in this species.

  • Parental Investment
  • no parental involvement
  • altricial
  • pre-fertilization
    • protecting
      • female
  • pre-hatching/birth
    • protecting
      • female
  • pre-weaning/fledging
    • provisioning
      • female
    • protecting
      • female
  • pre-independence
    • provisioning
      • female
    • protecting
      • female

Lifespan/Longevity

A captive P. linsang lived for 10 years and 8 months. No data are available for P. pardicolor. (Nowak, 1999)

Behavior

Spotted linsangs are primarily arboreal predators. Their sharp claws and long, thin bodies help them to run along branches. Although primarily arboreal, these animals also spend time hunting on the ground. They are nocturnal and spend the day sleeping in nests in tree hollows or under tree roots. The nests are lined with dry leaves and twigs. They are not thought to be social. Because of their shy and reclusive nature, little is known of P. pardicolor in the wild. (Beacham and Beetz, 1998; Ducker, 1975; Schliemann, 1990)

Home Range

Home range size fo these animals has not been reported.

Communication and Perception

Communication has not been reported for this species. However, other viverrids are known to make some vocalizations. They also communicate through scent cues. Tactile communication is typically important between mates as well as between a mother and her young. (Nowak, 1999)

Food Habits

Spotted linsangs feed mainly on rodents, but also eat birds, insects, small reptiles, frogs, eggs, and carrion. In addition to meat, these viverrids are known to eat fruit. (Beacham and Beetz, 1998; Ducker, 1975)

  • Primary Diet
  • carnivore
    • eats terrestrial vertebrates
  • Animal Foods
  • birds
  • mammals
  • amphibians
  • eggs
  • carrion
  • insects
  • Plant Foods
  • fruit

Predation

Predators have not been reported for this species.

Ecosystem Roles

Spotted linsangs are arboreal predators of insects and small vertebrates. As such, they probably impact the populations of these animals. (Beacham and Beetz, 1998)

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

These animals are not thought to have any real economic impact on humans. Unlike other viverrids, spotted linsangs lack perineal glands so are not exploited for civet. (Beacham and Beetz, 1998)

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

There is no reported negative effect of these animals on humans.

Conservation Status

As is the case for may small, raindforest animals, the major threat to P. pardicolor is loss of habitat through clear-cut logging and conversion of forests to agriculture. However, because of its beautiful fur, hunting also threatens its survival. (Beacham and Beetz, 1998; Schliemann, 1990)

Contributors

Nancy Shefferly (editor), Animal Diversity Web.

Brian Kepner (author), California State University, Sacramento, James Biardi (editor), California State University, Sacramento.

Glossary

acoustic

uses sound to communicate

altricial

young are born in a relatively underdeveloped state; they are unable to feed or care for themselves or locomote independently for a period of time after birth/hatching. In birds, naked and helpless after hatching.

arboreal

Referring to an animal that lives in trees; tree-climbing.

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.

carnivore

an animal that mainly eats meat

carrion

flesh of dead animals.

chemical

uses smells or other chemicals to communicate

endothermic

animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.

fertilization

union of egg and spermatozoan

forest

forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.

iteroparous

offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).

motile

having the capacity to move from one place to another.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.

nocturnal

active during the night

oriental

found in the oriental region of the world. In other words, India and southeast Asia.

World Map

rainforest

rainforests, both temperate and tropical, are dominated by trees often forming a closed canopy with little light reaching the ground. Epiphytes and climbing plants are also abundant. Precipitation is typically not limiting, but may be somewhat seasonal.

seasonal breeding

breeding is confined to a particular season

sexual

reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female

solitary

lives alone

tactile

uses touch to communicate

terrestrial

Living on the ground.

tropical

the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.

visual

uses sight to communicate

viviparous

reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female.

References

Beacham, W., K. Beetz. 1998. Beacham's Guide to International Endangered Species, Vol. 2. Osprey, Florida: Beacham Publishing Corp..

Ducker, G. 1975. Viverrids and Aardwolves. Pp. 144-184 in B Grzimek, ed. Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia, Vol. 12. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company.

Nowak, R. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World, Vol. 1, 6th Edition. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Schliemann, H. 1990. Viverrids. Pp. 510-545 in S Parker, ed. Grzimek's Encyclopedia of Mammals, Vol. 3. New York: McGraw-Hill Publishing Company.