African palm civet
|African palm civet|
|African palm civet range|
The African palm civet (Nandinia binotata), also known as the two-spotted palm civet, is a small mammal, with short legs, small ears, a body resembling a cat, and a lithe tail as long as its body. Adults usually weigh 1.70 to 2.10 kg (3.7 to 4.6 lb). It is native to the forests of eastern Africa, where it usually inhabits trees. It is omnivorous with a diet that includes rodents, insects, eggs, carrion, fruit, birds and fruit bats. The animal is generally solitary and nocturnal.
Although resembling other civet species (in the family Viverridae), it has been suggested that the African palm civet is genetically distinct, and diverged from other civets before the cats did. They are therefore classified as the only species in the genus Nandinia and in their own family, Nandiniidae, although this suggestion is not universally accepted.
Taxonomy and evolutionary history
Nandiniidae consists of just one genus and one species and is classified in the order Carnivora and the suborder feliforma. Nandiniidae was previously classified in the family Viverridae; hence it is commonly referred to as a Civet. However, morphological analysis suggested it should be placed in separate taxon from civets, and molecular genomic data has supported this claim. They are classified as their own separate family which differentiated from the rest of the suborder Feliformia 44.5 million years ago.
Threats and conservation
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources has classified the African palm civet as Least Concern. Possible threats to the survival of this civet include habitat loss and hunting for bushmeat. These animals are common in the meat markets of western African countries such as Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Guinea. At times they may be killed for medicinal purposes and to protect poultry.
- 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.
- Van Rompaey, H., Gaubert, P. & Hoffmann, M. (2008). Nandinia binotata. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 22 March 2009. Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is of least concern
- "African Palm Civet Family (Nandiniidae) - Information on African Palm Civet Family - Encyclopedia of Life". Encyclopedia of Life. Retrieved 2015-11-30.
- Eizirik, Eduardo; Murphy, William J.; Koepfli, Klaus-Peter; Johnson, Warren E.; Dragoo, Jerry W.; Wayne, Robert K.; O’Brien, Stephen J. (2010-07-01). "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.
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