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Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Cladus: Craniata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Cladus: Reptiliomorpha
Cladus: Amniota
Cladus: Synapsida
Cladus: Eupelycosauria
Cladus: Sphenacodontia
Cladus: Sphenacodontoidea
Cladus: Theriodontia
Subordo: Cynodontia
Cladus: Mammaliaformes
Classis: Mammalia
Subclassis: Trechnotheria
Infraclassis: Zatheria
Supercohort: Theria
Cohort: Eutheria
Cohort: Placentalia
Cladus: Boreoeutheria
Superordo: Laurasiatheria
Cladus: Ferae
Ordo: Carnivora
Subordo: Feliformia

Familia: Viverridae
Subfamiliae: Hemigalinae - Paradoxurinae - Viverrinae


Viverridae Gray, 1821

Vernacular names
Dansk: Desmerdyr
Deutsch: Schleichkatzen
English: Civets, Genets, & Linsangs
Français: Viverridé
Hrvatski: Cibetke
日本語: ジャコウネコ科
Nederlands: Civetkatachtigen
‪Norsk (bokmål)‬: Snikekatter
Polski: Łaszowate
Português: Civeta
Svenska: Sibetdjur (Viverrider) tr=Misk kedisigiller
Українська: Виверові


Viverridae in Mammal Species of the World.
Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference, 2 Volume Set edited by Don E. Wilson, DeeAnn M. Reeder.
London Med. Repos. 1821: 301.
Wilson, D.E. & Reeder, D.M. (eds.) 2005. Mammal Species of the World: a taxonomic and geographic reference. 3rd edition. The Johns Hopkins University Press: Baltimore. 2 volumes. 2142 pp. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. Reference page.

Vernacular names
беларуская: Віверавыя
dansk: Desmerdyr
Deutsch: Schleichkatzen
English: Viverrids
français: Viverridé
עברית: גחניים
hrvatski: Cibetke
italiano: Viverridi
日本語: ジャコウネコ科
Nederlands: Civetkatachtigen
norsk: Snikekatter
polski: Łaszowate
português: Viverrídeos
svenska: Sibetdjur (Viverrider)
ไทย: ชะมด, อีเห็น
Türkçe: Misk kedisigiller
українська: Виверові
Tiếng Việt: Họ Cầy

Viverridae is a family of small to medium-sized mammals, the viverrids (/vaɪˈvɛrɪdz/), comprising 14 genera, which are subdivided into 33 species. This family was named and first described by John Edward Gray in 1821.[3] Viverrids occur all over Africa, southern Europe, and South and Southeast Asia, across the Wallace Line. Their occurrence in Sulawesi and in some of the adjoining islands shows them to be ancient inhabitants of the Old World tropics.[4]

Binturong (Arctictis binturong) on display at the Museum of Osteology

Viverrids have four or five toes on each foot and half-retractile claws. They have six incisors in each jaw and molars with two tubercular grinders behind in the upper jaw, and one in the lower jaw. The tongue is rough with sharp prickles. A pouch or gland occurs beneath the anus, but there is no cecum.[3]

Viverrids are the most primitive of all the families of feliform Carnivora and clearly less specialized than the Felidae. In external characteristics, they are distinguished from the Felidae by the longer muzzle and tuft of facial vibrissae between the lower jaw bones, and by the shorter limbs and the five-toed hind foot with the first digit present. The skull differs by the position of the postpalatine foramina on the maxilla, almost always well in advance of the maxillopalatine suture, and usually about the level of the second premolar; and by the distinct external division of the auditory bulla into its two elements either by a definite groove or, when rarely this is obliterated, by the depression of the tympanic bone in front of the swollen entotympanic. The typical dental formula is:, but the number may be reduced, although never to the same extent as in the Felidae.[4]

Their flesh-shearing carnassial teeth are relatively undeveloped compared to those of other feliform carnivores.[5] Most viverrid species have a penis bone (a baculum).[6]
Living species

In 1821, Gray defined this family as consisting of the genera Viverra, Genetta, Herpestes, and Suricata.[3] Reginald Innes Pocock later redefined the family as containing a great number of highly diversified genera, and being susceptible of division into several subfamilies, based mainly on the structure of the feet and of some highly specialized scent glands, derived from the skin, which are present in most of the species and are situated in the region of the external generative organs. He subordinated the subfamilies Hemigalinae, Paradoxurinae, Prionodontinae, and Viverrinae to the Viverridae.[4]

In 1833, Edward Turner Bennett described the Malagasy fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox) and subordinated the Cryptoprocta to the Viverridae.[7] A molecular and morphological analysis based on DNA/DNA hybridization experiments suggests that Cryptoprocta does not belong within Viverridae, but is a member of the Eupleridae.[8]

The African palm civet (Nandinia binotata) resembles the civets of the Viverridae, but is genetically distinct and belongs in its own monotypic family, the Nandiniidae. There is little dispute that the Poiana species are viverrids.[2]

DNA analysis based on 29 Carnivora species, comprising 13 Viverrinae species and three species representing Paradoxurus, Paguma and Hemigalinae, confirmed Pocock's assumption that the African linsang Poiana represents the sister group of the genus Genetta. The placement of Prionodon as the sister group of the family Felidae is strongly supported, and it was proposed that the Asiatic linsangs be placed in the monogeneric family Prionodontidae.[9]
Family Viverridae[1][2][10]

Subfamily Genus Species Image of type species
Viverrinae Viverra Linnaeus, 1758[11]
  • Large Indian civet (V. zibetha) Linnaeus, 1758[11]
  • Malayan civet (V. tangalunga) Gray, 1832[12]
  • Malabar large-spotted civet (V. civettina) Blyth, 1862[13]
  • Large-spotted civet (V. megaspila) Blyth, 1862[13]
Large Indian Civet, Viverra zibetha in Kaeng Krachan national park.jpg
Viverricula Hodgson, 1838[14] Small Indian civet (V. indica) (Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 1803)[15] Small Indian Civet, Silchar, Assam, India.jpg
Civettictis Pocock, 1915[16] African civet (C. civetta) (Schreber, 1776)[17] Civettictis civetta 11.jpg
Hemigalinae Gray, 1864[18]
Hemigalus Jourdan, 1837[19] Banded palm civet (H. derbyanus) Jourdan, 1837[19] Banded palm civet 10.jpg
Cynogale Gray, 1836[20] Otter civet (C. bennettii) Gray, 1836[20] Mampalon.jpg
Diplogale Thomas, 1912[21] Hose's palm civet (D. hosei) (Thomas, 1892)[22] HemigaleHoseiSmit.jpg
Macrogalidia Schwarz, 1910[23] Sulawesi palm civet (M. musschenbroekii) (Schlegel, 1877)[24] Macrogalidia musschenbroekii.jpg
Chrotogale Thomas, 1912[21] Owston's palm civet (C. owstoni) Thomas, 1912[21] Chrotogale owstoni PWP.jpg
Paradoxurinae Gray, 1864[18] Paradoxurus Cuvier, 1822[25]
  • Asian palm civet (P. hermaphroditus) (Pallas, 1777)[26]
  • Golden palm civet (P. zeylonensis) (Pallas, 1778)[27]
  • Brown palm civet (P. jerdoni) Blanford, 1885[28]
Asian or Common Palm Civet Paradoxurus hermaphroditus Chambal by Dr. Raju Kasambe (6).JPG
Arctictis Temminck, 1824[29] Binturong (A. binturong) (Raffles, 1822)[30] Binturong in Overloon.jpg
Paguma Gray, 1831[31] Masked palm civet (P. larvata) (Smith, 1827)[32] Palm civet on tree (detail).jpg
Arctogalidia Merriam, 1897[33] Small-toothed palm civet (A. trivirgata) (Gray, 1832)[34] Small-toothed Palm Civet (Arctogalidia trivirgata stigmatica) (8076736823) (cut).jpg
Genettinae Genetta Cuvier, 1816[35]
  • Common genet (G. genetta) (Linnaeus, 1758)[36]
  • Cape genet (G. tigrina) (Schreber, 1778)[37]
  • South African small-spotted genet (G. felina) (Thunberg, 1811)[38]
  • Rusty-spotted genet (G. maculata) (Gray, 1828)[39]
  • Pardine genet (G. pardina) Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 1832[40]
  • Abyssinian genet (G. abyssinica) (Rüppell, 1835)[41]
  • King genet (G. poensis) Waterhouse, 1838[42]
  • Servaline genet (G. servalina) Pucheran, 1855
  • Angolan genet (G. angolensis) Bocage, 1882
  • Giant forest genet (G. victoriae) Thomas, 1901[43]
  • Hausa genet (G. thierryi) Matschie, 1902[44]
  • Letaba genet (G. letabae) Thomas and Schwann, 1906[45]
  • Johnston's genet (G. johnstoni) (Pocock, 1908)
  • Aquatic genet (G. piscivora) (Allen, 1919)[46]
  • Crested servaline genet (G. cristata) Hayman, 1940
  • Schouteden’s genet (G. schoutedeni) Crawford-Cabral, 1970
  • Bourlon's genet (G. bourloni) Gaubert, 2003[47]
Genetta genetta felina (Wroclaw zoo).JPG
Poiana Gray, 1864[18] Em - Poiana richardsonii 2.jpg


The phylogenetic relationships of Viverridae are shown in the following cladogram:[1][10]


Golden palm civet P. zeylonensis

Jerdon's palm civet P. jerdoni

Asian palm civet P. hermaphroditus


Sulawesi palm civet M. musschenbroekii


Masked palm civet P. larvata


Binturong A. binturong


Small-toothed palm civet A. trivirgata


Otter civet C. bennettii


Owston's palm civet C. owstoni


Hose's palm civet D. hosei


Banded palm civet H. derbyanus


Malabar large-spotted civet V. civettina

Large-spotted civet V. megaspila

Large Indian civet V. zibetha

Malayan civet V. tangalunga Malay Civet (Viverra tangalunga) white background.jpg


African civet C. civetta Viverra civetta - 1700-1880 - Print - Iconographia Zoologica - Special Collections University of Amsterdam -(white background).jpg


Small Indian civet V. indica

 sensu stricto 

West African oyan P. leightoni

Central African oyan P. richardsonii


Abyssinian genet G. abyssinica

Haussa genet G. thierryi

Giant forest genet G. victoriae

Johnston's genet G. johnstoni

Aquatic genet G. piscivora

Servaline genet G. servalina

Crested servaline genet G. cristata

South African small-spotted genet G. felina

Common genet G. genetta

Cape genet G. tigrina

G. letabae

Schouteden’s genet G. schoutedeni

Rusty-spotted genet G. maculata

Angolan genet G. angolensis

Pardine genet G. pardina

Bourlon's genet G. bourloni

King genet G. poensis

Extinct species

Subfamily Genus Species
Viverrinae Viverra Linnaeus, 1758 Leakey's civet (V. leakeyi) Leakey, 1982
Semigenetta Helbing 1927
  • S. cadeoti Roman and Viret 1934
  • S. elegans Dehm, 1950
  • S. grandis Crusafont & Golpe, 1981
  • S. laugnacensis De Bonis, 1973
  • S. ripolli Petter, 1976
  • S. sansaniensis Lartet, 1851
Paradoxurinae Kichechia Savage, 1965[50]
  • K. zamanae[50]
  • K. savagei[51]
Tugenictis Morales & Pickford, 2005[52][53] T. ngororaensis[52] Morales & Pickford, 2005
Kanuites Dehghani & Werdelin, 2008[54] K. lewisae[54] Dehghani & Werdelin, 2008
Siamictis Grohé et al., 2020[55] S. carbonensis[55] Grohé et al., 2020

See also

List of viverrids


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Wozencraft, W. C. (2005). "Family Viverridae". In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 548–559. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
Gray, J. E. (1821). "On the natural arrangement of vertebrose animals". London Medical Repository. 15 (1): 296–310.
Pocock, R. I. (1939). "Family Viverridae". The Fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Mammalia. – Volume 1. London: Taylor and Francis. pp. 330–332.
Wozencraft, W. C. (1984). Macdonald, D. (ed.). The Encyclopedia of Mammals. New York: Facts on File. pp. 134–135. ISBN 0-87196-871-1.
Ewer, R. F. (1998). The Carnivores. Cornell University Press. ISBN 0-8014-8493-6.
Bennett, E. T. (1833). "Notice of a new genus of Viverridous Mammalia from Madagascar". Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London. 1833: 46.
Veron, G.; Catzeflis, F. M. (1993). "Phylogenetic relationships of the endemic Malagasy carnivore Cryptoprocta ferox (Aeluroideae): DNA/DNA hybridization experiments". Journal of Mammalian Evolution. 1 (3): 169–185. doi:10.1007/bf01024706. S2CID 21555307.
Gaubert, P.; Veron, G. (2003). "Exhaustive sample set among Viverridae reveals the sister-group of felids: the linsangs as a case of extreme morphological convergence within Feliformia". Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 270 (1532): 2523–2530. doi:10.1098/rspb.2003.2521. PMC 1691530. PMID 14667345.
Nyakatura, K. & Bininda-Emonds, O. R. P. (2012). "Updating the evolutionary history of Carnivora (Mammalia): a new species-level supertree complete with divergence time estimates". BMC Biology. 10: 12. doi:10.1186/1741-7007-10-12. PMC 3307490. PMID 22369503.
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