Leopardus guttulus

Leopardus guttulus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Felidae
Genus: Leopardus
Species: L. guttulus
Binomial name
Leopardus guttulus
(Hensel, 1872)

Leopardus guttulus, the southern tigrina, is a species of wild cat in the subfamily Felinae. It is found in southern and southeastern Brazil, and was recognized to be a distinct species in 2013; it was formerly considered to belong to the species L. tigrinus (oncilla).[1][2] At the margins of its range, the southern tigrina interbreeds with Geoffroy’s cats, L. geoffroyi, but it does not appear to interbreed with the population of oncilla in northeastern Brazil, which in contrast has a history of interbreeding with L. colocolo.[1][2] The small neotropical cat has a yellowish-ocre coat patterned with open black rossettes. Physically, the southern tigrina can be distinguished from the oncilla by its slightly darker background coloring, larger rosette pattern, and slightly shorter tail. However, it is extremely difficult to distinguish between the two species by appearance alone, since more genetic variation tends to occur within each species than between the two species.[1] Believed to be endemic, or unique to a defined geographical location, the southern tigrina is a threatened species because its habitat, the Atlantic Forest, is quickly disappearing.[3][4] Currently, a push is on to better understand the biodiversity, ecology, evolution, and genetics of the southern tigrina to orchestrate a more effective conservation strategy for the species. In addition, further research is being conducted throughout South America to better understand the special differences between oncillas and southern tigrinas.


The Atlantic Forest habitat is located on the eastern coast of South America, extending along the Atlantic coast of Brazil from Rio Grande do Norte to Rio Grande do Sul, and continuing inland as far as Paraguay and the Misiones Province of Argentina.[5] The southern tigrina is believed to be endemic to southern and southeastern Brazil.[1]


In ecology, speciation, or the evolution of new species, is an ongoing natural process. A demographic expansion following the last glacial maximum (20,000 years ago) is believed to have led to the allopatric speciation of southern tigrinas.[1] Because of habitat differentiation, interbreeding does not occur between oncillas and southern tigrinas. In contrast, hybridization and introgression occurs between southern tigrinas and Geoffroy’s cats at their contact zone in southern Brazil. Many southern tigrinas and Geoffrey’s cats are believed to be partial hybrids of one another, because of the high level of interbreeding that is occurring.[6]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Trigo, Tatiane C.; Schneider, Alexsandra; de Oliveira, Tadeu G.; Lehugeur, Livia M.; Silveira, Leandro; Freitas, Thales R.O.; Eizirik, Eduardo (November 2013). "Molecular Data Reveal Complex Hybridization and a Cryptic Species of Neotropical Wild Cat". Current Biology. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2013.10.046. Cite uses deprecated parameter |coauthors= (help)
  2. 1 2 Arnold, Carrie. "A New Species of Wild Cat Found Prowling Brazilian Forests and Grasslands". National Geographic. Retrieved 30 November 2013.
  3. Prostak, Sergio. "Leopardus guttulus: New Species of Wild Cat from Brazil." Sci-News.com. Sci-News.com, 28 Nov. 2013. Web. 20 Feb. 2014. <http://www.sci-news.com/biology/science-leopardus-guttulus-new-species-wild-cat-brazil-01579.html>.
  4. South American Atlantic Forest.Fragmented Forests. Fragmented Forests, n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2014. <http://www.fragmentedforests.org/forest-facts/south-american-atlantic-forest.
  5. Atlantic Forest. Conservation International. Conservation International, n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2014. <http://www.conservation.org/where/PRIORITY_AREAS/HOTSPOTS/SOUTH_AMERICA/ATLANTIC-FOREST/Pages/default.aspx>.
  6. Bora, Kukil. "New Species of Wild Cat Discovered in Brazilian Forests." International Business Times. IBT Media, 28 Nov. 2013. Web. 20 Feb. 2014. <http://www.ibtimes.com/new-species-wild-cat-discovered-brazilian-forests-1489088>.

External links

This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/26/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.