Robert Siegel
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Malagasy carnivores: civets, fossa, mongooses

Order: Carnivora
Family: Eupleridae

Species on page

+ Malagasy civet (Fossa fossana)
+ Ring-tailed mongoose (Galidia elegans)
+ Fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox)
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The carnivores of Madagascar appear to be monophyletic. That is to say, they have a common genetic ancestor.
Their closest living relatives are the African mongoose.
After arriving on the island, presumably by rafting there on a floating island, they have undergone an adaptive radiation to fill a variety of niches.
In some cases, they have undergone a series of adaptive changes that cause them ro resemble unrelated carnivores.
Such cases of convergent evolution are perhaps most strikingly illustrated by the case of the fossa which looks like a mountain lion - complete wtih cat like pupils adapted to night vision.

The names of the Malagasy carnivores can be a bit confusing.
For example, the animal commonly known as "the fossa" is actually not in the genus Fossa.
However, the animal known as the Malagasy civet, which is not a civet at all (see below), is in the genus Fossa.
Similiarly, the ring-tailed mongoose, while resembling an ancestral mongoose, is not a true mongoose and is more closely related to the other Malagasy carnivores.

I have been lucky enough to photograph three of these remarkable creatures.

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Madagascar civet (Fossa fossana)

Note: Civets are a heterogeneous group of feliform (cat-like) carnivores.
They include some but not all members of the Viverridae and the Eupleridae families.
For instance, fossa, which are not considered civets, are more closely related to the Malagasy civets, than either of these group are to the African civets.

Something of interest

civet

Ranomafana
August 7, 2007

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"Is that Bob?"

civet

Ranomafana
August 7, 2007

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"Yes, I believe it is."

civet

Ranomafana
August 7, 2007

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Incisive image

civet

Ranomafana
August 7, 2007

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Mating pair

civet

Ranomafana
August 7, 2007

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Mongoose

Voila mon goose

mongoose
Ring-tailed mongoose (Galidia elegans)
Family: Eupleridae
Ranomafana
July, 2013

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Head to tail

mongoose
Ring-tailed mongoose (Galidia elegans)
Family: Eupleridae
Ranomafana
July, 2013

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"Yes, I can stick out my tongue and touch my nose."

mongoose
Ranomafana
July, 2013

When mongeese pretend they are tigers.

mongoose
Ranomafana
July, 2013

The fossa!

fossa eye
Fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox)
Family: Eupleridae
July, 2013

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Fossa

fossa

Fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox)
Tana zoo
August 18, 2007

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Fossa

fossa

Tana zoo
August 18, 2007

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Related pages:

+ African civets
+ Palm civets
+ Malagasy civets
+ Genets

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modified: June 18, 2014 (from civet.html)
created: March 5, 2013