Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Carnivora Viverridae

Scientific Name: Arctogalidia trivirgata
Species Authority: (Gray, 1832)
Common Name(s):
English Small-toothed Palm Civet, Three-striped Palm Civet
Taxonomic Notes: Van Bemmel (1952) recognized seven subspecies in three major groups, but Corbet and Hill (1992) grouped them into three subspecies: A. t. leucotis from mainland areas north of the Isthmus of Kra; A. t. trivirgata from Malaya, Sumatra, and Borneo; and A. t. trilineata from Java. The Javan subspecies, A. t. trilineata, has been evaluated separately on the IUCN Red List in the past. A taxonomic revision is needed. Schreiber et al. (1989) point out that the Javan form of A. trivirgata is clearly distinct from the ones on Borneo and Sumatra, which could indicate that the Javan taxon may be a distinct species.

Van Bemmel (1952) made very clear that the populations of Sundaic and northern Southeast Asia differ consistently and strongly in morphology; Duckworth (1997a) showed that they also differed in calls. The differences discussed by Van Bemmel were 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 they should be considered as two separate species. (W. Duckworth in litt. 2006)

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Duckworth, J.W., Timmins, R.J., Roberton, S., Long, B. & Azlan, A.
Reviewer(s): Duckworth, J.W. (Small Carnivore Red List Authority) & Schipper, J. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
This species is listed as Least Concern in view of its relatively wide distribution, occurrence in numerous protected areas, and because it is unlikely to be declining at nearly the rate required to qualify for listing in a threatened category. Further taxonomic research is needed to clarify subspecies status. As a primarily arboreal animal the species is rarely recorded except on specialised nocturnal surveys; the paucity of recent records from parts of the species range thus reflect insufficient survey effort rather than rarity of the species. Such surveys show, however, that the species is widespread in closed canopy tall evergreen and semi-evergreen forest through the species range. The species is not restricted to lowlands, and thus rates of forest loss alone are insufficient to trigger a higher Red Listing (with a 3 generation time considered to be below 15 years). The species nocturnal and arboreal nature, put it at considerably lower risk to hunting, especially by ground snaring, than similar sized small carnivores and ground living mammals in general. Although hunting rates of small carnivores, primarily through snaring operations are extremely high in parts of its range (i.e. Lao and Viet Nam), there is no evidence to suggest that the species is declining at a sufficient rate to justify a higher threat category. No other threats have been identified that could be leading to a significant decline in the species.
Previously published Red List assessments:
1996 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The small-toothed palm civet range covers parts of the Sundaic region and northern Southeast Asia. It is currently known to occur in Cambodia (Walston and Duckworth 2003), Lao PDR (Duckworth 1997b; Johnson pers. comm.), Borneo (Malaysia) (Duckworth 1997a, Wells et al. 2005, Belden et al. 2007), Thailand (Rabinowitz 1991, Conforti 1996, Duckworth and Nettelbeck in press), Viet Nam (Borissenko et al. 2004, Long and Minh Hoang 2006), Indonesia (Java: Suyanto 2003; Sumatra: Holden 2006; Kalimantan), and Peninsular Malaysia (Ratnam et al. 1995).

This species was recorded from Kadan Kyun Island off the coast of Myanmar in the early part of the twentieth century (Meiri 2005), no surveys using methodology suitable for this species have been conducted in other areas in Myanmar, where it was historically recorded quite widely (Than Zaw et al. in press); a record of a released animal in the outskirts of Yangon (Su 2005) suggests populations are still extant in the country. Given the extent of remaining suitable habitat, it is likely that Myanmar supports large populations.

It was first recorded in Cambodia from Keo Seima Biodiversity Conservation Area (150 masl) in 2003, confirming previously inferred extension of the species range into this country. Duckworth (1997b) reports that this species is widespread in south and central Lao PDR; there has been no suitable survey carried out in the country north of approximately 19°N. In Thailand there are many records in protected areas (Duckworth and Nettelbeck in press). The current status of this species in China is unclear, as no proper spotlighting surveys have been conducted and nothing can be inferred on its status (W. Duckworth in litt. 2006).

There is a record of a skin collected from Darjeeling, India by Dr. Steward in 1856, although there seem to have been no recent confirmed records from this region. Pocock (1939) gave several records for India. The type locality of A. t. millsi is Mokokchung in the Naga hills (26°20′N, 94°32′E). This species has been reported by Suyanto (2003) from Gunung Halimun, West Java, and there are records from the 1930s from Gunung Gede National Park and Ujung Kulon National Park in Java (see Schreiber et al. 1989). However, it is unknown whether these populations are still extant (Meijaard pers. comm.). It is also presumed to occur still in Indonesian Borneo and Brunei. Current status in Bangladesh is unclear but suitable habitat remains in the northern and eastern hill tracts. Reliance on recent records to define its current distribution will produce an underestimate because the species is readily overlooked by conventional survey techniques (Duckworth and Nettelbeck in press).
Countries occurrence:
Bangladesh; Brunei Darussalam; Cambodia; China; India; Indonesia (Jawa, Kalimantan, Sumatera); Lao People's Democratic Republic; Malaysia (Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah, Sarawak); Myanmar; Singapore; Thailand; Viet Nam
Upper elevation limit (metres):1200
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Very few surveys using appropriate methdology have been carried out through much of its range, thus the small-toothed palm civet population trend is unclear. Past authors have noted this as a rare species, however, as pointed out by several authors, the paucity of record reflects the arboreal, nocturnal habits of this species (Pocock 1939; van Bemmel 1952; Duckworth 1997a; Duckworth and Nettelbeck in press). Therefore, the species is not found by any conventional survey method other than spot-lighting, and the latter is rarely carried out in most places. In one exception with extensive spotlighting in Lao PDR, the species was found, often commonly, in most semi-evergreen and evergreen forests surveyed in the southern two–thirds of the country in the 1990s (Duckworth 1997b).

The great paucity of camera-trap photographs reflects the rarity of the species coming to ground, as has been shown by its Neotropical ecological analogue, the Kinkajou (Schipper 2007). Hence, several well camera-trapped areas have failed to record the species (Seima Biodviersity Conservation Area, Cambodia, Walston and Duckworth 2003; Cat Tien, Viet Nam, Borissenko et al. 2004; Khao Yai NP, Thailand, Duckworth and Nettelbeck in press; Sarawak Planted Forests Concession, Borneo, Belden et al. 2007); yet when even quite modest levels of spot-lighting have taken place in these areas, the species has been found, sometimes even exceptionally commonly (e.g. ten animals in the first three hours at Sarawak Planted Forests Concession; Belden et al. 2007). It is a reasonable inference, therefore, that the species is not just locally common, but widely numerous.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The small-toothed palm civet is nocturnal and strongly arboreal (Pocock 1939; van Bemmel 1952; Duckworth 1997a; Duckworth and Nettelbeck in press). Although consumption of a wide range of animals has been recorded, this species is primarily frugivorous (Harrison 1962; Payne 1995; Duckworth and Nettelbeck in press). It likely breeds throughout the year, and there may be two litters per year, with two to three young in each litter (Lekagul and McNeely 1977). The lifespan of this species is 10 to 12 years (Lekagul and McNeely 1977).

In Cambodia, Lao PDR and Thailand, the small-toothed palm civet is found in evergreen and semi-evergreen forest, including degraded areas provided some contiguity of canopy remains; elevation range extends up to at least 1200 m (Duckworth et al. 1999; Duckworth and Nettelbeck in press). In the Sundaic part of its range, it inhabits evergreen rainforest and possibly others forest types (Payne et al. 1985; Duckworth 1995; Payne 1995; Wells et al. 2005; Holden 2006; Belden et al. in 2007). It was recorded from lowland, mature semi-evergreen forest surrounded by disturbed secondary growth in Viet Nam in 2003 (Borissenko et al. 2004). All Bornean civets (except Diplogale hosei) have been recorded in disturbed forest areas, though abundance declines in this habitat (Heydon and Bulloh 1996).

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is hunted (Walston and Duckworth 2003) and there has been an increased demand for civet meat in Chinese and Vietnamese markets (Bell et al. 2004, Lynam et al. 2005).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Habitat loss and degradation are a major threat to the small-toothed palm civet (Schreiber et al. 1989). Deforestation has led to the decline of this species in Thailand (Lekagul and McNeely 1977), and in Borneo, the overall density of civets (including the small-tooth palm civet) in logged forests was found to be significantly lower than in primary forests (Heydon and Bulloh 1996). Nevertheless, forest loss in northern Southeast Asia is not enough to drive declines even at rates sufficient for NT status, and its wide altitudinal range in the Sundaic region (to 1500 m; Payne et al. 1985) means that while lowland populations have been and are continuing to decline, those occupying the higher altitudinal range are not declining as rapidly. This species is hunted (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).

Given that this species is arboreal and nocturnal in nature, it is one of the least affected by current high levels of hunting in Southeast Asia. In Cambodia, Lao PDR and Viet Nam, government gun confiscation programs enacted during the 1990s were thought to result in a decrease in hunting by locals; however, the removal of guns has resulted in an upsurge in snaring and other trapping practices. As a result, there has been increased trapping of small carnivores overall, particularly nocturnal species and those that reside on the ground. As the small-toothed palm civet is arboreal, snares and other ground-level traps do not pose a major threat in this region (Walston and Duckworth 2003). Active night hunting appears to be the only effective means of hunting this civet and, as this is labour-intensive, is rarely undertaken for arboreal mammals in most of this species' range (Walston and Duckworth 2003). In Lao PDR, Viet Nam and Myanmar, spotlight hunting does occur, but again the impact on this species is minimal as hunters focus on taking higher market value ungulates and concentrate for these almost exclusively at ground level (Walston and Duckworth 2003).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This 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). In Thailand this species is protected, while it is not in Viet Nam or Cambodia (GMA Small Carnivore Workshop 2006). The subspecies A. t. trilineata from Java has been classified as ‘Endangered’ by the IUCN (IUCN Red List, 1994) and as ‘Threatened’ in the IUCN Action Plan for the Conservation of Mustelids and Viverrids (Schreiber et al., 1989).

Given the patchiness of suitable surveys for this species, it is important to note that many large protected areas have been established in northern Southeast Asian evergreen and semi-evergreen forest and presumably support the species. Some protected areas where the species occurs are listed as follows. Extensive conservation measures with reasonably effective law enforcement in Cat Tien National Park in Viet Nam have ensured that there has been no logging for the past two decades and little or no hunting pressure (Borissenko et al. 2004). The small-toothed palm civet has been confirmed in a total of six protected areas in Viet Nam (Roberton in prep), and many protected areas in Lao PDR (Duckworth 1997b). This species was recorded from Tawau Hills National Park in Borneo in 2003-04 (Wells et al. 2005), from Temengor Forest Reserve in Malaysia by Ratnam et al. (1995), and from Keo Seima Biodiversity Conservation Area in Cambodia in 2003 (Walston and Duckworth, 2003).

Further studies would allow a better understanding of habitat requirements and ecology.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.6. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland
suitability: Suitable  
4. Grassland -> 4.1. Grassland - Tundra
suitability: Marginal  
4. Grassland -> 4.2. Grassland - Subarctic
suitability: Unknown  
1. Land/water protection -> 1.1. Site/area protection
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management
5. Law & policy -> 5.4. Compliance and enforcement -> 5.4.1. International level
5. Law & policy -> 5.4. Compliance and enforcement -> 5.4.2. National level
5. Law & policy -> 5.4. Compliance and enforcement -> 5.4.3. Sub-national level

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
1. Residential & commercial development -> 1.1. Housing & urban areas
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.2. Small-holder farming
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.3. Agro-industry farming
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.1. Intentional use (species is the target)
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.2. Unintentional effects (species is not the target)
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
1. Research -> 1.6. Actions
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

♦  Food - human
 Local : ✓   National : ✓  International : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

Belden, G., Stuebing, R. and Nyegang, M. 2007. Small carnivores in mixed-use forest in Bintulu Division, Sarawak, Malaysia. Small Carnivore Conservation 36: 35-37.

Bell, D., Roberton, S. and Hunter, P.R. 2004. Animal origins of SARS coronavirus: possible links with the international trade in small carnivores. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B, Biological Sciences 359: 1107–1114.

Borissenko, A.V., Ivanova, N. . and Polet, G. 2004. First recent record of the Small-toothed Palm Civet Arctogalidia trivirgata from Vietnam. Small Carnivore Conservation 30: 5–6.

Colon, C.P. 2002. Ranging behaviour and activity of the Malay civet (Viverra tangalunga) in a logged and an unlogged forest in Danum Valley, East Malaysia. Journal of Zoology (London) 257: 473–485.

Conforti, K. 1996. The status and distribution of small carnivores in Huai Kha Khaeng/ Thung Yai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuaries. Thesis, University of Minnesota.

Corbet, G.B. and Hill, J.E. 1992. Mammals of the Indo-Malayan Region: a Systematic Review. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.

Duckworth, J.W. 1995. Mammal records from Similajau National Park. Sarawak Museum Journal 48: 157–161.

Duckworth, J.W. 1997. Small carnivores in Laos: a status review with notes on ecology, behaviour and conservation. Small Carnivore Conservation 16: 1–21.

Duckworth, J.W. and Nettelbeck, A.R. 2008. Observations of Small-toothed Palm Civets Arctogalidia trivirgata in Khao Yai National Park, Thailand, with notes on feeding technique. Natural History Bulletin of the Siam Society 55(1): 187–192.

Holden, J. 2006. Small carnivores in central Sumatra. Small Carnivore Conservation 34/35: 35-38.

Rabinowitz, A.R. 1991. Behavior and movements of sympatric civets species in Huai-Kha-Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary, Thailand. Journal of Zoology (London) 223(2): 281–298.

Schipper. J. 2007. Camera-trap avoidance by Kinkajous Potos flavus: rethinking the “non-invasive” paradigm. Small Carnivore Conservation 36: 38-41.

Schreiber, A., Wirth, R., Riffel, M. and Van Rompaey, H. 1989. Weasels, civets, mongooses, and their relatives. An Action Plan for the conservation of mustelids and viverrids. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.

Su Su. 2005. Small carnivores and their threats in Hlawga Wildlife Park, Myanmar. Small Carnivore Conservation 33: 6-13.

Suyanto, A. 2003. Mammals of Gunung Halimun National Park, West Java. Puslit-Biologi-LIPI, Bogor, Indonesia.

Than Zaw, Saw Htun, Saw Htoo Tha Po, Myint Maung, Lynam, A.J., Kyaw Thinn Latt and Duckworth, J.W. 2008. Status and distribution of small carnivores in Myanmar. Small Carnivore Conservation 38: 2–28.

Walston, J.L. and Duckworth, J.W. 2003. The first record of Small-toothed Palm Civet Arctogalidia trivirgata from Cambodia, with notes on surveying the species. Small Carnivore Conservation 28: 12–13.

Citation: Duckworth, J.W., Timmins, R.J., Roberton, S., Long, B. & Azlan, A. 2008. Arctogalidia trivirgata. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T41691A10517467. . Downloaded on 08 October 2015.
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