|Kodkod range map|
The kodkod (Leopardus guigna) (Spanish pronunciation: [koðˈkoð]), 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.
The kodkod has a small head, large feet, and a thick tail. Typical adult length is 37 to 51 centimetres (15 to 20 in), with a short 20 to 25 centimetres (7.9 to 9.8 in) tail and a shoulder height of about 25 centimetres (9.8 in). Weight ranges between 2 to 2.5 kilograms (4.4 to 5.5 lb).
The coat has a base color ranging from brownish-yellow to grey-brown. The body is decorated with dark spots, with a pale underside and a ringed tail. The ears are black with a white spot, while the dark spots on the shoulders and neck almost merge to form a series of dotted streaks. Melanistic kodkods with spotted black coats are quite common.
Distribution and habitat
Kodkods are strongly associated with mixed temperate rainforests of the southern Andean and coastal ranges, particularly the Valdivian and Araucaria forests of Chile, which is characterized by the presence of bamboo in the understory. They prefer evergreen temperate rainforest habitats to deciduous temperate moist forests, sclerophyllous scrub and coniferous forests. They are tolerant of altered habitats, being found in secondary forest and shrub as well as primary forest, and on the fringes of settled and cultivated areas.
They range up to the treeline at approximately 1,900 m (6,200 ft). In Argentina, they have been recorded from moist montane forest, which has Valdivian characteristics, including a multi-layered structure with bamboo, and numerous lianas and epiphytes.
Ecology and behavior
Kodkods are equally active during the day as during the night, although they only venture into open terrain under the cover of darkness. During the day, they rest in dense vegetation in ravines, along streams with heavy cover, and in piles of dead gorse. They are excellent climbers, and easily able to climb trees more than a meter in diameter. They are terrestrial predators of birds, lizards and rodents in the ravines and forested areas, feeding on southern lapwing, austral thrush, chucao tapaculo, huet-huet, domestic geese and chicken.
Male kodkods maintain exclusive territories 1.1 to 2.5 square kilometres (0.42 to 0.97 sq mi) in size, while females occupy smaller ranges of just 0.5 to 0.7 square kilometres (0.19 to 0.27 sq mi).
The major threat to the kodkod is logging of its temperate moist forest habitat, and the spread of pine forest plantations and agriculture, particularly in central Chile. In 1997 to 1998, two out of five radio-collared kodkods were killed on Chiloé Island while raiding chicken coops.
The genus Leopardus was proposed in 1842 by John Edward Gray, when he described two spotted cat skins from Central America and two from India in the collection of the Natural History Museum, London. The subgenus Oncifelis was proposed in 1851 by Nikolai Severtzov with the Geoffroy's cat as type species. The kodkod was subordinated to Leopardus in 1958, and to Oncifelis in 1978.
- L. g. guigna (Molina, 1782) occurs in southern Chile and Argentina
- L. g. tigrillo (Schinz, 1844) occurs in central and northern Chile
- Napolitano, C.; Gálvez, N.; Bennett, M.; Acosta-Jamett, G. & Sanderson, J. (2015). "Leopardus guigna". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2015: e.T15311A50657245. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-2.RLTS.T15311A50657245.en. Retrieved 14 January 2018.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
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- Kitchener, A. C.; Breitenmoser-Würsten, C.; Eizirik, E.; Gentry, A.; Werdelin, L.; Wilting, A.; Yamaguchi, N.; Abramov, A. V.; Christiansen, P.; Driscoll, C.; Duckworth, J. W.; Johnson, W.; Luo, S.-J.; Meijaard, E.; O’Donoghue, P.; Sanderson, J.; Seymour, K.; Bruford, M.; Groves, C.; Hoffmann, M.; Nowell, K.; Timmons, Z.; Tobe, S. (2017). "A revised taxonomy of the Felidae: The final report of the Cat Classification Task Force of the IUCN Cat Specialist Group" (PDF). Cat News (Special Issue 11): 57−58.
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|Wikispecies has information related to Oncifelis guigna|
- "Leopardus guigna". IUCN/SSC Cat Specialist Group.
- The Spatial Ecology of the Güiña in Southern Chile
- "Kodkod, Chilean cat". BBC.
- "Hope for threatened 'little tiger cat'". BBC News.