Species limits and distribution of the Malagasy carnivoran genus Eupleres (Family Eupleridae)

Mammalia (Impact Factor: 0.82). 06/2010; 74(2):177-185. DOI: 10.1515/MAMM.2010.018

ABSTRACT A review was conducted of members of the endemic Malagasy carnivoran genus Eupleres (family Eupleridae) based on published and unpublished records and museum specimens. Classically, one species has been recognized in this poorly known genus - E. goudotii, divided into two geographical forms with non-overlapping distributions: E. g. goudotii distributed in the mesic forests of the east and E. g. major found in the dry areas of the northwest. Drawing on external and craniodental comparisons, we demonstrate that these two forms are highly distinctive morphologically and can be readily distinguished from each another. Furthermore, there is some evidence that they both can occur on the slopes of Montagne d'Ambre in the far north of the island. On this basis, we recognize these taxa as distinct species, E. goudotii and E. major.

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    ABSTRACT: The diversity of extant carnivores provides valuable opportunities for comparative research to illuminate general patterns of mammalian social evolution. Recent field studies on mongooses (Herpestidae), in particular, have generated detailed behavioural and demographic data allowing tests of assumptions and predictions of theories of social evolution. The first studies of the social systems of their closest relatives, the Malagasy Eupleridae, also have been initiated. The literature on mongooses was last reviewed over 25 years ago. In this review, we summarise the current state of knowledge on the social organisation, mating systems and social structure (especially competition and cooperation) of the two mongoose families. Our second aim is to evaluate the contributions of these studies to a better understanding of mammalian social evolution in general. Based on published reports or anecdotal information, we can classify 16 of the 34 species of Herpestidae as solitary and nine as group-living; there are insufficient data available for the remainder. There is a strong phylogenetic signal of sociality with permanent complex groups being limited to the genera Crossarchus, Helogale, Liberiictis, Mungos, and Suricata. Our review also indicates that studies of solitary and social mongooses have been conducted within different theoretical frameworks: whereas solitary species and transitions to gregariousness have been mainly investigated in relation to ecological determinants, the study of social patterns of highly social mongooses has instead been based on reproductive skew theory. In some group-living species, group size and composition were found to determine reproductive competition and cooperative breeding through group augmentation. Infanticide risk and inbreeding avoidance connect social organisation and social structure with reproductive tactics and life histories, but their specific impact on mongoose sociality is still difficult to evaluate. However, the level of reproductive skew in social mongooses is not only determined by the costs and benefits of suppressing each other's breeding attempts, but also influenced by resource abundance. Thus, dispersal, as a consequence of eviction, is also linked to the costs of co-breeding in the context of food competition. By linking these facts, we show that the socio-ecological model and reproductive skew theory share some determinants of social patterns. We also conclude that due to their long bio-geographical isolation and divergent selection pressures, future studies of the social systems of the Eupleridae will be of great value for the elucidation of general patterns in carnivore social evolution.
    Biological Reviews 07/2013; 89(1). DOI:10.1111/brv.12050 · 9.79 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Small-toothed Palm Civet Arctogalidia trivirgata is widespread and often locally common in mainland South-east Asia, Borneo and Sumatra. By contrast the Javan taxon, A. (t.) trilineata, was said in 1937 to be among the least-known larger mammals of Java, a description still apt today. Several Javan Small-toothed Palm Civets watched and photographed in a large fig tree at Cikaniki research station, Gunung Halimun National Park, West Java, Indonesia, in 2008–2010 may constitute the first explicit field records of the taxon for decades. Some animals (probably young) were beige-coloured (a form of pelage unknown in congeneric populations outside Java), while even the darker ‘typically pelaged’ animals (presumably adults) differ from Small-toothed Palm Civets elsewhere in pelage colour and pattern. The last taxonomic revision of the genus was in 1952, in an era of broad species inclusion, and a modern investigation would doubtless consider the distinctive Javan form a full species endemic to the island. The paucity of modern records may indicate a small population and/or localised distribution, or it may simply reflect limited published spot-lighting survey information from Java coupled with low interest in the taxon as ‘only’ a subspecies. The civet is one of several endemic crepuscular or nocturnal mammals of uncertain conservation status, reflecting a generally low level of international interest in the island’s threatened mammals. Surveys to assess current status and conservation needs, if any, of the civet are strongly warranted. Identification of the civet by pelage features may need great care, given the similarity in markings of a group of young civets (photographed at a menagerie in Bali) to Javan Small-toothed Palm Civets which were apparently closer to Common Palm Civet Paradoxurus hermaphroditus in build and proportions
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    ABSTRACT: Eupleridae, itself endemic to Madagascar. Until recently, these animals were generally taken to be island representatives of mon- gooses (Herpestidae) and civets (Viverridae), but genetic investigation proves that they are all descended from one colonisation by a species neither a civet nor a mongoose. Many of the widely used English names for most of the species, such as ‘Malagasy Civet’ for Fossa fossana and ‘Malagasy Narrow-striped Mongoose’ for Mungotictis decemlineata, thus suggest misleading evolu- tionary relationships. Furthermore, most of the species have multiple English names in use in the main sources used by those who prefer English names to scientific names: over three dozen names for the 11 species here recognised. This inconsistency risks increasing confusion when referring to species. English names that do not suggest incorrect relationships are already available (derived from Malagasy names for these animals) and to some extent in use. Here we recommend one name for each species as unambiguous, short, and not taxonomically misleading. Several other members of the Order Carnivora elsewhere in the world where genetic investigations have dramatically revised previously accepted relationships remain known by taxonomi- cally misleading English names.


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