African palm civet

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African palm civet
The carnivores of West Africa (Nandinia binotata white background).png
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Suborder: Feliformia
Family: Nandiniidae
Pocock, 1929
Genus: Nandinia
Gray, 1843
Species: N. binotata
Binomial name
Nandinia binotata
(Gray, 1830)
Map of Africa showing highlighted range covering southern West Africa and much of central Africa
African palm civet range
Synonyms[2]

Viverra binotata Gray 1830

The African palm civet (Nandinia binotata), also known as the two-spotted palm civet, is a small mammal widely distributed in sub-Saharan Africa. It is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.[1]

Characteristics

The African palm civet is grey to dark brown with dark spots on the back. It has short legs, small ears, a lean body, and a long ringed tail. It has two sets of scent glands on the lower abdomen and between the third and fourth toes on each foot, which secrete a strong smelling substance used to mark territory and in mating. Adult females reach a body length of 37–61 cm (1 ft 3 in–2 ft 0 in) with a 34–70 cm (1 ft 1 in–2 ft 4 in) long tail and weigh 1.2–2.7 kg (2.6–6.0 lb). Adult males reach 39.8–62.5 cm (1 ft 3.7 in–2 ft 0.6 in) in body length with a 43–76.2 cm (1 ft 4.9 in–2 ft 6.0 in) long tail and weigh 1.3–3 kg (2.9–6.6 lb).[3]

Distribution and habitat

The African palm civet ranges throughout much of sub-Saharan Africa from South Sudan to Guinea, south to Angola and into eastern Zimbabwe. It has been recorded in deciduous forests, lowland rainforests, gallery and riverine forests, savanna woodlands, and logged forests up to an altitude of 2,500 m (8,200 ft).[1]

In Senegal, it was observed in 2000 in Niokolo-Koba National Park, which encompasses mainly open habitat dominated by grasses.[4] In Liberian Upper Guinean forests, it was sighted in Gbarpolu County and Bong County during surveys in 2013.[5] In Zanzibar, it was recorded in groundwater forest on Unguja Island in 2003.[6]

Behaviour and ecology

The African palm civet is a nocturnal, largely arboreal mammal that spends most of the time on large branches, among lianas in the canopy of trees. It eats fruits such as those of the African corkwood tree, Uapaca, persimmon, fig trees, papayas and bananas.[7]

It has been known to congregate in groups of as many as 15 animals if food is abundant.[citation needed] It also preys on rodents, lizards, birds and frogs, as well as invertebrates.[citation needed]

Males have home ranges of 34–153 ha (0.13–0.59 sq mi) and females of 29–70 ha (0.11–0.27 sq mi). The home range of a dominant male includes home ranges of several females.[7]

Reproduction

In Gabon, females were recorded to give birth in the long wet season and at the onset of the dry season between September and January.[7] The female usually gives birth after a gestation period of 2–3 months. A litter consists of up to four young that are suckled for around three months. While she has suckling young the female's mammary glands produce an orange-yellow liquid which discolours her abdomen and the young civets' fur. This probably discourages males from mating with nursing females.[citation needed] Its generation length is 7.8 years.[8]

Taxonomy and evolutionary history

Nandiniidae consists of just one genus, Nandinia, and one species and is classified in the suborder Feliforma of the order Carnivora. Nandinia resembles other Viverridae species and was previously classified with them in this family; hence it is commonly referred to as a civet.[9] However, morphological analysis suggested it should be placed in separate taxon from civets, and molecular genomic data has supported this claim. It is classified as a separate family which differentiated from the rest of the suborder Feliformia 44.5 million years ago, before the cats diverged from other civets.[10]

Threats

The African palm civet is threatened by habitat loss and hunting for bushmeat.[1]

In Guinea, dead African palm civets were recorded in spring 1997 on bushmeat market in villages located in the vicinity of the National Park of Upper Niger.[11] The attitude of rural people in Ghana towards African palm civets is hostile; they consider them a menace to their food resources and safety of children.[12] In Gabon, it is among the most frequently found small carnivores for sale in bushmeat markets.[13] Upper Guinean forests in Liberia are considered a biodiversity hotspot. They have already been fragmented into two blocks. Large tracts are threatened by commercial logging and mining activities, and are converted for agricultural use including large-scale oil palm plantations in concessions obtained by a foreign company.[5]

References

  1. ^ a b c d Gaubert, P., Bahaa-el-din, L., Ray, J. & Do Linh San, E. (2015). "Nandinia binotata". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2015: e.T41589A45204645. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-4.RLTS.T41589A45204645.en.
  2. ^ Wozencraft, W.C. (2005). "Order Carnivora". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 532–628. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  3. ^ Van Rompaey, H. and Ray, J.C. (2013). "Nandinia binotata Two-spotted Palm Civet (African Palm Civet, Tree Civet)". In Kingdon, J. and Hoffmann, M. (eds.). The Mammals of Africa. V. Carnivores, Pangolins, Equids and Rhinoceroses. London: Bloomsbury. pp. 140−144.
  4. ^ McGrew, W.C., Baldwin, P.J., Marchant, L.F., Pruetz, J.D., Tutin, C.E. (2014). "Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus) and their mammalian sympatriates: Mt. Assirik, Niokolo-Koba National Park, Senegal". Primates. 55 (4): 525−532. doi:10.1007/s10329-014-0434-2.
  5. ^ a b Bene, J.C.K., Bitty, E.A., Bohoussou, K.H., Abedilartey, M., Gamys, J. and Soribah, P.A. (2013). "Current conservation status of large mammals in Sime Darby Oil Palm Concession in Liberia" (PDF). Global Journal of Biology, Agriculture & Health Sciences. 2 (2): 93−102.
  6. ^ Perkin, A. (2004). "A new range record for the African palm civet Nandinia binotata (Carnivora, Viverridae) from Unguja Island, Zanzibar". African Journal of Ecology (42): 232–234.
  7. ^ a b c Charles-Dominique, P. (1978). "Écologie et vie sociale de Nandinia binotata (Carnivores, Viverridés): Comparaison avec les prosimiens sympatriques du Gabon". La Terre et la Vie (32): 477−528.
  8. ^ Pacifici, M., Santini, L., Di Marco, M., Baisero, D., Francucci, L., Grottolo Marasini, G., Visconti, P. and Rondinini, C. (2013). "Generation length for mammals". Nature Conservation (5): 87–94.
  9. ^ "African Palm Civet Family (Nandiniidae) - Information on African Palm Civet Family - Encyclopedia of Life". Encyclopedia of Life. Retrieved 2015-11-30.
  10. ^ Eizirik, E.; Murphy, W. J.; Koepfli, K.P.; Johnson, W.E.; Dragoo, J.W.; Wayne, R. K.; O'Brien, S.J. (2010). "Pattern and timing of diversification of the mammalian order Carnivora inferred from multiple nuclear gene sequences". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 56 (1): 49–63. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2010.01.033. PMID 20138220.
  11. ^ Ziegler, S., Nikolaus, G., Hutterer, R. (2002). "High mammalian diversity in the newly established National Park of Upper Niger, Republic of Guinea". Oryx. 36 (1): 73–80. doi:10.1017/S0030605301000011.
  12. ^ Campbell, M. (2009). "Proximity in a Ghanaian savanna: Human reactions to the African palm civet Nandinia binotata". Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography. 30 (2): 220–231. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9493.2009.00369.x.
  13. ^ Bahaa-el-din, L., Henschel, P., Aba’a, R., Abernethy, K., Bohm, T., Bout, N., Coad, L., Head, J., Inoue, E., Lahm, S., Lee, M. E., Maisels, F., Rabanal, L., Starkey, M., Taylor, G., Vanthomme, A., Nakashima, Y. and Hunter, L. (2013). "Notes on the distribution and status of small carnivores in Gabon". Small Carnivore Conservation (48): 19–29.

External links

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