Genetta piscivora 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Carnivora Viverridae

Scientific Name: Genetta piscivora
Species Authority: (J.A. Allen, 1919)
Common Name(s):
English Aquatic Genet
French Genette aquatique
Osbornictis piscivora J.A. Allen, 1919
Taxonomic Notes: Traditionally this species has been included in the genus Osbornictis, but it is here treated in Genetta, because Gaubert et al. (2004) demonstrated that Osbornictis and Genetta are congeneric, in agreement with Verheyen (1962) and Stains (1983). For further discussion see Wozencraft (2005) and Gaubert (2013).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2015-04-20
Assessor(s): Gaubert, P. & Do Linh San, E.
Reviewer(s): Duckworth, J.W. & Hoffmann, M.
Contributor(s): Hoffmann, M.
This poorly-known species has no reliable information on its current population status or precise limits of distribution. There have been no confirmed records for almost four decades, although search effort for this largely aquatic species has been extremely limited. Its range area is estimated at ca. 224,000 km², which suggests that its extent of occurrence (EOO) would be well above the threshold for Vulnerable under criterion B1. However, this species seems to be naturally rare and mostly confined to rainforest areas bordering small rivers. Assuming a likely low average density of one individual per 15–20 km² and a proportion of mature individuals of 67%, the total population would contain a maximum of 10,000 mature individuals (criterion C1).

It is likely that bushmeat hunting has affected this species' population over the past 12 years (three generations, assuming a generation length of four years), but it is unknown whether this could have led to a 10% decrease (criterion C1). Considering the above, Aquatic Genet is here listed as Near Threatened based on a population size estimated to number 10,000 mature individuals at best and a population decline possibly approximating 10% over the past 12 years. However, further survey work may reveal that the impact of hunting and habitat loss is such that this species is in fact Vulnerable, or conversely that its distribution range is much larger (with an expansion in Uganda and Burundi), and that the species should better be listed as Least Concern.
Previously published Red List assessments:
2008 Data Deficient (DD)
1996 Data Deficient (DD)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Aquatic Genet is endemic to The Democratic Republic of the Congo, where it is patchily distributed from the right bank of the Congo River, eastward to the Rift Valley. There are unconfirmed records from west Uganda and Burundi (Van Rompaey and Colyn 2013). The species occurs at elevations of 460–1,500 m a.s.l.
Countries occurrence:
Congo, The Democratic Republic of the
Lower elevation limit (metres): 460
Upper elevation limit (metres): 1500
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This is considered among the rarest of African carnivores, and it is known only from around 30 museum specimens. In 53 hunts in the Ituri Forest only two individuals (or 1.8% of all carnivores) were captured (Hart and Timm 1978). No dead or live specimens have been recorded or reported since the late 1970s.
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals: 10000 Continuing decline of mature individuals: Yes
Extreme fluctuations: Unknown Population severely fragmented: Unknown
Continuing decline in subpopulations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations: Unknown All individuals in one subpopulation: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: A rainforest inhabitant, most specimens of this species have been collected in forests dominated by Gilbertiodendron trees (Van Rompaey and Colyn 2013). Nearly all specimens were obtained from local hunters who caught them with snares usually put out on trails near small rivers (Van Rompaey 1988). It is piscivorous, taking fish from river banks.
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: No
Generation Length (years): 4

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is hunted and used as bushmeat.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Major threats to this species are unclear, but it is hunted as bushmeat by the Bambuti pygmies; the meat is taboo to all, except male elders (Van Rompaey and Colyn 2013). It is not clear whether there are any pressing threats to its particular habitat.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is given complete protection by the Congolese government (Ordinance No. 79-244 of 16 Oct 1979). It is present in the Okapi Faunal Reserve and it is certainly a priority for further survey work to better understand its distribution, population status and more importantly, threats.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.6. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland
suitability: Suitable  
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.1. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls)
suitability: Suitable  
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.2. Wetlands (inland) - Seasonal/Intermittent/Irregular Rivers/Streams/Creeks
suitability: Suitable  
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management

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
5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.1. Intentional use (species is the target)
♦ timing: Ongoing ♦ scope: Unknown ♦ severity: Unknown ⇒ Impact score: Unknown 
→ 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

Bibliography [top]

Gaubert, P. 2013. Genus Genetta Genets. In: J. Kingdon and M. Hoffmann (eds), The Mammals of Africa. V. Carnivores, Pangolins, Equids and Rhinoceroses, pp. 214-216. Bloomsbury, London, UK.

Gaubert, P., Fernandes, C.A., Bruford, M.W. and Veron, G. 2004. Genets (Carnivora, Viverridae) in Africa: an evolutionary synthesis based on cytochrome b sequences and morphological characters. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 81: 589-610.

Gaubert, P., Tranier, M., Veron, G., Delmas, A. S. and Colyn, M. 2004. First molecular evidence for reassessing phylogenetic affinities between genets (Genetta) and the enigmatic genet-like taxa Osbornictis, Poiana and Prionodon (Carnivora, Viverridae). Zoologica Scripta 33: 117-129.

Hart, J.A. and Timm, R.M. 1978. Observations on the Aquatic Genet in Zaire. Carnivore 1: 130-132.

IUCN. 2015. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015-4. Available at: (Accessed: 19 November 2015).

Stains, H.J. 1983. Calcanea of members of the Viverridae. Bulletin of the South California Academy of Science 82: 17-38.

Van Rompaey, H. 1988. Osbornictis piscivora. Mammalian Species 309: 1-4.

Van Rompaey, H. and Colyn, M. 2013. Genetta piscivora Aquatic Genet. In: J. Kingdon and M. Hoffmann (eds), The Mammals of Africa. V. Carnivores, Pangolins, Equids and Rhinoceroses, pp. 239-240. Bloomsbury, London, UK.

Verheyen, W. 1962. Quelques notes sur la zoogéographie et la crâniologie d'Osbornictis piscivora Allen, 1919. Revue de Zoologie et de Botanique Africaines 65: 121-128.

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: Gaubert, P. & Do Linh San, E. 2015. Genetta piscivora. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T15628A45201673. . Downloaded on 01 December 2015.
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