Arctogalidia trivirgata 

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Carnivora Viverridae

Scientific Name: Arctogalidia trivirgata (Gray, 1832)
Common Name(s):
English Small-toothed Palm Civet, Three-striped Palm Civet
Paradoxurus trivirgatus Gray, 1832
Taxonomic Notes: Based on morphology (primarily external) Van Bemmel (1952) recognised seven subspecies in three major groups: A. t. leucotis and allies from mainland areas north of the Isthmus of Kra; A. t. trivirgata and allies from the Thai-Malay peninsula, Sumatra and Borneo; and A. t. trilineata from Java. Corbet and Hill (1992) maintained this three-way division, apparently considering each to comprise only one subspecies. Duckworth (1997b) pointed out that Bornean and Indochinese animals also differed consistently in calls. Schreiber et al. (1989) pointed out that the Javan form of A. trivirgata is both clearly distinct from others, and probably threatened; there are few localities with recent records (e.g. Eaton et al. 2010). This emphasises the importance of a modern comprehensive taxonomic revision. Van Bemmel's (1952) conclusion, that the genus should be treated monospecifically, was made in an era when related forms were generally considered conspecific unless they overlapped geographically and ecologically. Currently, such overlap is no longer considered necessary, and there is little question that this genus contains multiple species (J.W. Duckworth in litt. 2006).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2015-03-03
Assessor(s): Willcox, D.H.A., Duckworth, J.W., Timmins, R.J., Chutipong, W., Choudhury, A., Roberton, S., Long, B., Hearn, A. & Ross, J.
Reviewer(s): Schipper, J.
Contributor(s): Azlan, M.J.
Small-toothed Palm Civet is listed as Least Concern in view of its wide geographic distribution and altitudinal range, inferred large populations, occurrence in numerous protected areas, behavioural traits (it is nocturnal and arboreal) that insulate it from the high levels of general mammal hunting in much of its range, and the number of records from degraded, fragmented and heavily hunted areas. In sum, it is unlikely to be declining at anywhere near the rate required to qualify for listing even as Near Threatened.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Small-toothed Palm Civet occurs in South-east Asia (both Sundaic and Indochinese parts), adjacent southern China, North-east India and possibly Bangladesh. There are recent records from most geopolitical units in this range: North-east India (e.g. Naniwadekar et al. 2013, Kakati and Srikant 2014, Murali et al. 2014, Raman & Zakhuma 2014), Thailand (e.g. Duckworth and Nettelbeck 2008, Chutipong et al. 2014a), Lao PDR (e.g. Duckworth 1997b), Viet Nam (e.g. Borissenko et al. 2004, Long and Minh 2006, Willcox et al. 2012), Cambodia (e.g. Walston and Duckworth 2003, Iseborn et al. 2012, Gray et al. 2014), Peninsular Malaysia (Ratnam et al. 1995, Eaton et al. 2010, Low 2011), Singapore (e.g. Chua et al. 2012), Sumatra (e.g. Holden 2006), Borneo (e.g. Duckworth 1997a, Wells et al. 2005, Belden et al. 2007, Wahyudi and Stuebing 2014), and Java (e.g. Suyanto 2003, Eaton et al. 2010, Moore 2011, Moore and Wihermanto 2014). There are possibly no recent records from China or Myanmar. There has been very little relevant recent survey in the latter (Than Zaw et al. 2008), but there is a recent record of an apparently released animal in the outskirts of Yangon (Su Su 2005). The occurrence in Bangladesh is plausible but apparently unconfirmed; a specimen collected in Sylhet has a locality insufficiently precise to determine whether it is in today's Bangladesh or India (Murali et al. 2014); suitable habitat remains in the northern and eastern hill tracts. Reliance on recent records to define this genus's current distribution risks underestimation because it is readily overlooked by conventional survey techniques (Duckworth and Nettelbeck 2008, Willcox et al. 2012). 

The altitudinal distribution is not well known. There are records from sea-level (e.g. Similajau National Park, Sarawak, Malaysia; Duckworth 1997a) but the upper limit is less clear, reflecting the rarity of spotlighting in rugged highland terrain. Across its range, there may be few records above about 1,500 m altitude (from Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia; Medway 1977). However, it is quite plausible that it occurs regularly well above this, given the paucity of suitable survey at high altitudes. There are recent records from 2,000 and 2,100 m a.s.l. on Gunung Tujuh in Kerinci Seblat National Park, Sumatra, Indonesia (J. Holden pers. comm. 2015).
Countries occurrence:
Brunei Darussalam; Cambodia; India; Indonesia (Jawa, Kalimantan, Sumatera); Lao People's Democratic Republic; Malaysia (Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah, Sarawak); Myanmar; Singapore; Thailand; Viet Nam
Possibly extinct:
Additional data:
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):No
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):NoExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Continuing decline in number of locations:Yes
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Upper elevation limit (metres):2100
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Few mammal surveys within the range of Small-toothed Palm Civet use methodology likely to find the species reliably, let alone assess population levels and trends (e.g., Willcox et al. 2012). Some past statements that this as a rare species stem from the typical paucity of records (compared with other palm civets) reflecting the arboreal, nocturnal habits of this species (Pocock 1939, van Bemmel 1952, Duckworth 1997a, Duckworth and Nettelbeck 2008). The species is not found reliably by any conventional survey method other than spotlighting, which latter is rarely carried out in most regions, especially since the advent of widespread camera-trapping. In extensive spotlighting in Lao PDR, the species was found, often commonly, in most semi-evergreen and evergreen forests surveyed in the country in the 1990s (Duckworth 1997b). There are recent records from many sites in Viet Nam, mostly found by incidental spotlighting outside formal survey and including records in several heavily encroached, highly hunted areas (Willcox et al. 2012). Although conventionally considered rare in India, a rash of very recent spotlighting records (and one by camera-trap) suggest it is simply much overlooked: notably only one of these recent records comes from formal mammal survey, the others coming from activities such as recreational bird-watching and research into flying squirrels (Naniwadekar et al. 2013, Kakati and Srikant 2014, Murali et al. 2014, Raman and Zakhuma 2014). The great paucity of camera-trap photographs reflects the rarity of the species coming to ground. Hence, many well camera-trapped areas have failed to record the species (Willcox et al. 2012 and references therein); yet when even quite modest levels of spotlighting have taken place in these areas, the species has been found, sometimes even exceptionally commonly. As examples: ten animals were found in the first three hours at Sarawak Planted Forests Concession (Belden et al. 2007); intensive camera-trapping in Thung Yai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary – West, Thailand, using camera-traps placed conventionally on ground with a few on leaning logs crossing small streams failed to detect this species in more than 10,000 trap-nights spread across three years; yet in only 43 hours of spotlighting, Small-toothed Palm Civet was encountered 14 times (sometimes as duos) (Chutipong et al. 2014b); and in one survey area in East Kalimantan, Borneo, extensive ground-level camera-trapping never found the species, but when the units were deployed arboreally, it was photographed commonly (Wahyudi and Stuebing 2014). It is a reasonable inference, therefore, that the species is not just locally common, but widely numerous. By contrast, in Java, however, there do seem to be only few records (excluding those from a couple of sites with regular sightings) for the level of spotlighting deployed (Rode-Margono et al. 2014) and in Singapore the species is certainly rare, reflecting the very small remaining area of mature native forest (Chua et al. 2012).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Throughout its range, Small-toothed Palm Civet seems to have been recorded almost solely in evergreen biomes, with most records from evergreen and semi-evergreen forest, including degraded areas provided some contiguity of canopy remains (e.g. Payne et al. 1985, Duckworth 1997a, Duckworth et al. 1999, Walston and Duckworth 2003, Borissenko et al. 2004, Wells et al. 2005, Holden 2006, Long and Minh 2006, Belden et al. 2007, Duckworth and Nettelbeck 2008, Eaton et al. 2010, Low 2011, Moore 2011, Chua et al. 2012, Willcox et al. 2012, Naniwadekar et al. 2013, Kakati and Srikant 2014, Murali et al. 2014, Raman & Zakhuma 2014, Chutipong et al. 2014a). Woodland dominated by non-native planted trees is used, at least in Java (Moore and Wihermanto 2014) and it has been spotlit near an active Melaleuca plantation in U Minh, Viet Nam, in a fruiting tree (Willcox et al. 2012). There are a handful of records from mostly deciduous landscapes, but even there the exact location of most of them is within or right beside evergreen forest, such as a sighting in riverine forest bordering deciduous dipterocarp forest in Western Siem Pang district, Stung Treng province, Cambodia (D.H.A. Wilcox in litt. to Gray et al. 2014) and multiple records in Thung Yai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary - West, Thailand at ‘Sesawo’, in evergreen riverine strips bordered by extensive deciduous forests (W. Chutipong pers. comm. 2014). The only known record from within deciduous forest may be a duo observed on three consecutive nights in a fruiting Elaeocarpus amid mixed deciduous forest, some 400 m from the nearest significant patch of evergreen forest (Chutipong et al. 2014a, W. Chutipong pers. comm. 2014).

Small-toothed Palm Civet is nocturnal and strongly arboreal (Pocock 1939, van Bemmel 1952, Duckworth 1997a, Duckworth and Nettelbeck 2008, Willcox et al. 2012) but will descend to baited traps at ground level (Chutipong et al. 2014a) and is, exceptionally, camera-trapped there (Kakati and Srikant 2014). Although consumption of a wide range of animals has been recorded, this species is primarily frugivorous (Harrison 1962, Payne 1995, Duckworth and Nettelbeck 2008). It perhaps breeds throughout the year, and there may be two litters per year, with two to three young in each litter (Lekagul and McNeely 1977). Its lifespan (in captivity) is 10 to 12 years (Lekagul and McNeely 1977).
Generation Length (years):5
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is hunted (e.g., Walston and Duckworth 2003) and there has been an increased demand for civet meat in Chinese and Viet Namese markets (Bell et al. 2004, Lynam et al. 2005). There is no evidence of a specific demand for this species over other civets. It is also occasionally kept as a pet (e.g., Eaton et al. 2010), although in the main region where civets are popular and increasing pets, trade in this species is low (Nijman et al. 2014).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Forest loss, degradation and fragmentation are all potential threats to Small-toothed Palm Civet. There is no evidence that it can survive in areas without tree cover, and, as yet, no evidence for population persistence in landscape remote from native forest. The heavy widespread ongoing deforestation in South-east Asia in the last half-century will thus have greatly reduced the area available to the species, and in areas retaining high levels of forest conversion (e.g. Sumatra) declines are doubtless ongoing. Much forest has also been degraded and fragmented: the available evidence suggests this will have had relatively little effect (e.g., Viet Nam: Willcox et al. 2012; Singapore: Chua et al. 2012; Java: Moore and Wihermanto 2014). Although there is as yet no confirmation of large numbers in higher montane areas (over 1,500 m) there is still a sizeable altitudinal band holding the species above the zone of heaviest forest clearance, the lowlands. Hunting is another potential threat but in reality seems to have little effect on the species's populations within remaining habitat. Especially in Indochina, where general mammal hunting levels are extremely high, most active hunting is with dogs and projectiles by day, and most passive trapping (snares etc.) is at ground level. The species's nocturnal, arboreal, habits therefore insulate it from the sort of heavy pressures facing ground-dwelling and/or diurnal species (Willcox et al. 2012). Active night hunting appears to be the only effective means of hunting this civet and, because this is labour-intensive, is relatively rarely undertaken for arboreal mammals in most of this species's range (e.g. Walston and Duckworth 2003). In Lao PDR, Viet Nam and Myanmar, spotlight hunting does occur, but again the impact on this species is minimal because hunters focus on taking higher market value species (in terms of yield per unit effort) such as ungulates and frogs, and concentrate for these almost exclusively at ground level (e.g. Walston and Duckworth 2003).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Small-toothed Palm Civet is Totally Protected in Peninsular Malaysia, but only Protected in Sabah and Sarawak under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 (WPA 1972). It is not protected in Thailand (Chutipong et al. 2014a), Viet Nam or Cambodia (GMA Small Carnivore Workshop 2006). The species has been recorded from many protected areas in some countries of its range. Although it is not confirmed in many protected areas in some countries, notably Myanmar, this is more likely to reflect the patchiness of surveys using methods likely to find this species; many large protected areas in northern South-east Asian evergreen and semi-evergreen forest so far without records presumably support the species. Outside Java there are no obvious conservation needs. Given repeated suggestions of the taxonomic distinctiveness of the genus in Java and its rarity there, the highest priority conservation needs are to clarify the genus's taxonomy and to survey specifically for it in Java so that, if it truly is rare rather than merely under-recorded, areas for its conservation can be identified and managed.

Citation: Willcox, D.H.A., Duckworth, J.W., Timmins, R.J., Chutipong, W., Choudhury, A., Roberton, S., Long, B., Hearn, A. & Ross, J. 2016. Arctogalidia trivirgata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T41691A45217378. . Downloaded on 21 September 2018.
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