Southern tiger cat

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Southern tiger cat
Southern tiger cat (Leopardus guttulus), specimen in the Museo Civico di Storia Naturale Giacomo Doria, labeled as Leopardus tigrinus, but from Argentina and therefore Leopardus guttulus.

Southern tiger cat ( Leopardus guttulus ), specimen in the Museo Civico di Storia Naturale Giacomo Doria , labeled as Leopardus tigrinus , but from Argentina and therefore Leopardus guttulus .

Order : Predators (Carnivora)
Subordination : Feline (Feliformia)
Family : Cats (Felidae)
Subfamily : Small cats (Felinae)
Genre : Leopard cats ( leopardus )
Type : Southern tiger cat
Scientific name
Leopardus guttulus
( Hensel , 1872)

The southern tiger cat ( Leopardus guttulus ), also known as the southern ocelot cat , is a cryptic species from the genus of the leopard cats ( Leopardus ). The species was only recognized as independent in 2013, after a group of scientists investigating the natural hybrid formation of the tiger cat ( Leopardus tigrinus ), small spotted cat ( Leopardus geoffroyi ) and Pantanal pampas cat ( Leopardus braccatus ) discovered that the tiger cat consists of two populations, which do not reproduce among themselves. The new species was set up for the southern population.


In comparison with the light brown basic color of the northern tiger cat, the fur of the southern tiger cat should be a little darker and more yellow-brown, the spots are usually somewhat larger. Melanism is common in both types. The southern tiger cat is also a bit stockier, has a thicker tail and smaller, rounder ears. The back of the ears is black in both species with a dark spot in the middle. The southern tiger cat's tail has 7 to 13 irregular, thin, dark rings and a black tip. In the northern tiger cat it is less noticeably curled. However, since both species are variable in their coat color, they cannot be visually differentiated with certainty. In both cases, the tail length is about 60% of the head-trunk length .


The distribution area of ​​the southern tiger cat

Both species also inhabit different ecosystems. The southern tiger cat occurs from the Brazilian Atlantic rainforest to the Pantanal , there, however, only in drier regions, while the northern tiger cat occurs in the cerrado , the semi-arid savannas of central Brazil, and in the caatinga , the dry shrub forests in northeastern Brazil. At the border of the cerrado and the coastal rainforest, both cat species occur together. The southern tiger cat hybridizes with the small spotted cat, the northern tiger cat with the pampas cat.


The southern tiger cat primarily feeds on small vertebrates such as mice, shrews , birds and lizards. Every now and then the species also kills larger prey such as small monkeys, agoutis or ducks.


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