Cryptoprocta spelea


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Cryptoprocta spelea
Species Authority: Grandidier, 1902
Common Name(s):
English Giant Fosa, Giant Fossa
Taxonomic Notes: Grandidier (1902) described a large form of Cryptoprocta ferox from subfossil material dating from the presumed Holocene in Madagascar that he referred to the variety spelea. Subsequently, there has been varying opinion on the validity of this taxon. Goodman et al. (2004) examined and analysed 159 subfossil and 32 modern osteological specimens of Cryptoprocta and concluded that this was a valid species that existed on Madagascar in the recent geological past.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Extinct ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Hoffmann, M.
Reviewer(s): Hawkins, A.F.A. & Duckworth, J.W. (Small Carnivore Red List Authority)
Listed as Extinct as there is no evidence to suggest that this large species of Cryptoprocta currently survives on Madagascar. It is currently known only from subfossil remains and is believed to have survived at least into the recent geological past.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: On the basis of current subfossil evidence, Cryptoprocta spelea occurred at a variety of sites from Lakaton’ny Akanga in the far north near Antsiranana, along the western portion of Madagascar, south to numerous sites at the southern end of the island; it is also recorded on the central highlands at Antsirabe (Goodman et al. 2004).
Regionally extinct:
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Extinct.

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Given the size of Cryptoprocta spelea, its massive jaws, and large carnassial teeth, it must have been a formidable predator and certainly capable of taking larger prey than the extant C. ferox. Evidence suggests that the two forms of Cryptoprocta might have been separated well enough in size to be able to coexist (Goodman et al. 2004).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The reasons for the disappearance of this species on Madagascar are unknown.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: No conservation actions are needed.

Bibliography [top]

Acharjyo, L.N. and Mishra. C.G. 1983. A note on the longevity of two species of Indian otters in captivity. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 80(3): 636.

Adrian, M.I. and Delibes, M. 1987. Food habits of the otter (Lutra lutra) in two habitats of the Donana National Park, SW Spain. Journal of Zoology (London) 212: 399-406.

Citation: Hoffmann, M. 2008. Cryptoprocta spelea. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 04 September 2015.
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