Aonyx congicus


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Aonyx congicus
Species Authority: Lönnberg, 1910
Common Name(s):
English Congo Clawless Otter, Zaire Clawless Otter, Small-clawed Otter, Small-toothed Clawless Otter, Cameroon Clawless Otter
French Loutre À Joues Blanches Du Cameroun, Loutre À Joues Blanches Du Congo, Paraonyx Tacheté
Spanish Nutria Inerme De Camerún
Taxonomic Notes: This species was originally described as, and is sometimes still included as (e.g., Wozencraft 2005), a subspecies of African Clawless Otter Aonyx capensis. The correct species name is congicus (Aonyx being of Greek origin and masculine gender), although A. congica is still often incorrectly used (Jacques et al. in press).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Hoffmann, M.
Reviewer(s): Hussain, S.A. (Otter Red List Authority) and Hoffmann, M. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Although this species is poorly known, it appears to be reasonably widespread within the Congo Basin, where there are currently no known major threats, and no reason to believe the species is undergoing any significant decline that would warrant listing in a threatened category.
2004 Data Deficient
2000 Data Deficient

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The Congo Clawless Otter occurs in the rainforests of the Congo basin including Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Congo Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as southern Cameroon, southern Central African Republic, northern Angola, and extending eastward to the forests and the wetlands of Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda (Larivière 2001; Jacques et al. in press). The limits of the species’ distribution range are still unclear, partly due to the species’ possible confusion with the African Clawless Otter; there are, as yet, no confirmed records from Nigeria (Jacques et al. in press).
Angola (Angola); Cameroon; Central African Republic; Congo; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Equatorial Guinea; Gabon; Rwanda; Uganda
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This is a very poorly known species. It may be common in certain undisturbed rainforest locations, but is otherwise thought to be rare (Jacques et al. in press).
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: The Congo Clawless Otter occurs in rain forests and lowland swamps of the Congo River basin (Lariviere 2001; Jacques et al. in press). They are frequently observed in swampy forest clearings (bais), for example, at Langoué Bai in Gabon, and Mbeli Bai in Nouabalé-Ndoki N.P. in Congo Republic (Jacques et al. in press). Recorded to 2,200 m on the Kahuzi Massif (Rahm and Christiaensen 1963). The Congo Clawless Otter is the least well known of the three African otter species, and no detailed ecological study on this species has been conducted. The current state of knowledge has been summarized by Lariviere (2001) and Jacques et al. (in press).
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Although there are probably no major threats to the species, hunting for bushmeat and skins, habitat loss and degradation, and over-fishing are likely localized threats in many areas. According to Carpaneto and Germi (1989), Mbuti pygmies in northeastern DR Congo use the skins of Congo Clawless Otters to make hats.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: They are present in several protected areas across their range, including Dzanga-Sangha N.P. in Central African Republic, the Lopé reserve in Gabon, and Nouabalé-Ndoki and Odzala National Parks in Congo Republic (Jacques et al. in press). There is a need for a detailed study on the biology, ecology, and distribution of this species.
It is listed on CITES Appendix II (as Aonyx capensis).

Bibliography [top]

Carpaneto, G. M. and Germi, F. P. 1989. Mustelidae and Viverridae from north-eastern Zaire: ethnozoological research and convservation. Mustelid & Viverrid Conservation 1: 2-4.

Jacques, H., Parnell, R. and Alary, F. In press. Aonyx congicus. In: J. S. Kingdon and M. Hoffmann (eds), The Mammals of Africa, Academic Press, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Lariviere, S. 2001. Aonyx congicus. Mammalian Species 650: 1-3.

Rahm, U. and Christiaensen, A. 1963. Les mammaiferes de la region occidentale du Lac Kivu. Annales Musée Royal de l'Afrique Centrale, Sciences Zoologiques ser 8 118: 1-183.

Wozencraft, W. C. 2005. Order Carnivora. In: D. E. Wilson and D. M. Reeder (eds), Mammal Species of the World: A taxonomic and geographic reference. Third Edition, pp. 532-628. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC, USA.

Citation: Hoffmann, M. 2008. Aonyx congicus. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <>. Downloaded on 25 October 2014.
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