Map_thumbnail_large_font

Leopardus tigrinus ssp. oncilla

Status_ne_offStatus_dd_offStatus_lc_offStatus_nt_offStatus_vu_offStatus_en_onStatus_cr_offStatus_ew_offStatus_ex_off

Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA CARNIVORA FELIDAE

Scientific Name: Leopardus tigrinus ssp. oncilla
Species Authority: (Thomas, 1903)
Parent Species:
Common Name(s):
English Central American Oncilla, Central American Little Spotted Cat
Spanish Oncilla, Tigrillo
Taxonomic Notes: Based on analysis of mitochondrial DNA, Johnson et al. (1999) found strongly supported divergence between little spotted cats from Costa Rica and southern Brazil, comparable to differences between different Neotropical species. The Little Spotted Cat appears to have a disjunct distribution, with the Central American subpopulation well separate from the South American subpopulation, although this may be due to a lack of records (Nowell and Jackson 1996). Gardner (1971) noted the morphological similarities between Costa Rican museum specimens and those from Colombia. All the South American samples used by Johnson et al. (1999) came from south of the Amazon. Further samples are needed from northern South America to determine whether this taxon ranges outside Central America, and whether it should be considered a distinct species rather than a subspecies.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered C2a(i) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): de Oliveira, T., Schipper, J. & Gonzalez-Maya, J.F.
Reviewer(s): Nowell, K., Breitenmoser-Wursten, C., Breitenmoser, U. (Cat Red List Authority) & Schipper, J. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Justification:
L.t. oncilla appears to have a very restricted range in the montane cloud forests of Costa Rica and northern Panama, with the extent of occurrence shown on the map roughly calculated as 16,000 km² (J. Schipper pers. comm. 2008). The area of occupancy is likely much smaller. Costa Rica's 5,000 km² La Amistad NP may represent the best area for conservation of this taxon, with the range to the north probably severely fragmented. However, in four years of camera-trapping in and around La Amistad NP (which obtained many photo captures of other felids), there was only one photograph taken of oncilla in the region (Chirripo NP at 3,300 m in 2007) (J. Schipper pers. comm. 2008; Gonzalez-Maya, 2008). Records and observations of this taxon relative to sympatric small felids have historically been scarce (Nowell and Jackson 1996). The Central American oncilla appears to occur at low densities, as it does in parts of South America, possibly due to interspecific competition with the ocelot (Oliveira et al. in press). Average densities calculated from camera trap encounters in Brazil range from 1-5 adults per 100 km² where ocelots are present (Oliveira et al. in submission). If these densities are representative of the Central American little spotted cat, then its effective population size is projected to be fewer than 2,500 mature individuals, with no subpopulation larger than 250 mature individuals, with a declining trend due to habitat loss and fragmentation. More research in Costa Rica and Panama is needed to obtain better data on abundance and improve the precision of assessment of degree of threat. More taxonomic research is also required to determine whether this taxa should be recognized at the species, rather than subspecies level, and whether its range includes southern Panama and northern South America (Johnson et al. 1999).

Geographic Range [top]

Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Systems: Terrestrial

Citation: de Oliveira, T., Schipper, J. & Gonzalez-Maya, J.F. 2008. Leopardus tigrinus ssp. oncilla. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 19 December 2014.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided