Prionailurus bengalensis ssp. iriomotensis


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Prionailurus bengalensis ssp. iriomotensis
Species Authority: Imaizumi, 1967
Parent Species:
Common Name(s):
English Iriomote Cat
French Chat D'Irimote
Spanish Gato D'Irimote
Mayailurus iriomotensis Imaizumi, 1967
Prionailurus iriomotensis (Imaizumi, 1967)
Taxonomic Notes: Originally described as a distinct species based on morphology (Imaizumi 1967), based on genetic analysis the Iriomote Cat is considered a subspecies of Leopard Cat (Masuda and Yoshida 1995, Johnson et al. 1999, Eizirik et al. submitted).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered C2a(ii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Izawa, M.
Reviewer(s): Nowell, K., Breitenmoser-Wursten, C., Breitenmoser, U. (Cat Red List Authority) & Schipper, J. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Found only on small (284 km²) Japanese island of Iriomote, which consists predominantly of low mountains (300-460 m) with sub-tropical evergreen forest, including extensive belts of mangrove along the waterways. However, studies have shown Iriomote cats to prefer lower elevations, a mosaic of wetland, streams, small hills - which are also where the human settlements are (Izawa et al. 2002). Home range sizes have ranged from 1.4-5.8 km² (Schmidt et al. 2003). The population was estimated at around 100 (99-110) individuals in 1994. While the population was considered stable since monitoring began in 1982 (Izawa et al. 2002), researchers now think the population is declining due to accelerated rates of lowland habitat loss over the past decade, and are working to estimate the level of decrease (M. Izawa pers. comm. May 2008). Listed as Endangered on Japan's 2002 national Red List (Izawa et al. 2007), concern over a decreasing population trend warrants listing of the Iriomote Cat on the IUCN Red List as Critically Endangered, as the population size is fewer than 250, is declining, and consists of a single subpopulation.
1996 Endangered
1996 Endangered

Geographic Range [top]

Japan (Nansei-shoto)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Systems: Terrestrial

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Listed on CITES Appendix II (as Prionailurus iriomotensis).

Bibliography [top]

Eizirik, E., Johnson, W.E. and O'Brien, S.J. Submitted. Molecular systematics and revised classification of the family Felidae (Mammalia, Carnivora). Journal of Mammalogy. [see]

Imaizumi, Y. 1967. A new genus and species of cat from Iriomote, Ryukyu Islands. 3(4): 74.

Izawa, M., Doi, T., Okamura, M., Nakanishi, N., Murayama, A., Hiyama, T., Oh, D., Teranishi, A. and Suzuki, A. 2007. Toward the survival of two endangered felid species of Japan. In: J. Hughes and R. Mercer (eds), Felid biology and conservation conference 17-20 September: Abstracts, pp. 120-121. WildCRU, Oxford, UK.

Izawa, M., Sakaguchi, N. and Doi, T. 2000. Recent conservation programs for the Iriomote cat Felis iriomotensis. Tropics 10(1): 79.

Johnson, W.E., Ashiki, F.S., Menotti R.M., Driscoll, C., Leh, C., Sunquist, M., Johnston, L., Bush, M., Wildt, D., Yuhki, N., O'Brien, S.J. and Wasse, S.P. 1999. Molecular genetic characterization of two insular Asian cat species, Bornean Bay cat and Iriomote cat. Evolutionary Theory and Process: Modern perspectives, Papers in Honour of Evivatar Nevo, pp. 223. Kulwer Academic Publisher.

Masuda, R. and Yoshida, M. C. 1995. Two Japanese wildcats, the Tsushima cat and the Iriomote cat, show the same mitochondrial DNA lineage as the leopard cat Felis bengalensis. Zoological Science 12: 655-659.

Nowell, K., Schipper, J. and Hoffmann, M. 2007. Re-evaluation of the Felidae of the 2008 IUCN Red List. Cat News 47: 5.

Schmidt, K., Nakanishi, N., Okamura, M., Doi, T. and Izawa, M. 2003. Movements and use of home range in the Iriomote cat (Prionailurus bengalensis irimotensis). 261: 273.

Citation: Izawa, M. 2008. Prionailurus bengalensis ssp. iriomotensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 04 September 2015.
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