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  Distribution of the African golden cat   Possible range or accidental records

Synonyms

Profelis aurata[2]

The African golden cat (Caracal aurata) is a wild cat endemic to the rainforests of West and Central Africa. It is threatened due to deforestation and bushmeat hunting and listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.[1] It is a close relative of both the caracal and the serval.[3] Previously, it was placed in the genus Profelis.[2] Its body size ranges from 61 to 101 cm (24 to 40 in) with a 16 to 46 cm (6.3 to 18.1 in) long tail.[4]

Contents

1 Taxonomy and etymology 2 Characteristics 3 Distribution and habitat 4 Ecology and behavior

4.1 Reproduction

5 Threats 6 Conservation 7 References 8 External links

Taxonomy and etymology[edit]

Pardofelis marmorata (Marbled cat)

Catopuma badia (Bay cat)

C. temminckii (Asian golden cat)

Leptailurus serval (Serval)

Caracal caracal (Caracal)

C. aurata (African golden cat)

The phylogenetic relationships of the African golden cat[5]

The African golden cat is placed in the subfamily Felinae and the family Felidae. The species was first described by Dutch zoologist Coenraad Jacob Temminck on the basis of mounted cats from western Africa available for sale at a London museum. Temminck named a reddish-brown-colored skin with faint spots Felis aurata and a greyish skin F. celidogaster that was spotted all over with dark blotches and a red tail. Subsequently, a brownish grey skin from Sierra Leone was described as F. neglecta, a chestnut skin as F. rutilus, a dark grey skin as F. chrysothrix cottoni, and a black skin from Congo-Brazzaville as F. maka.[6][7] The classification and phylogenetic relationships of the African golden cat has remained in dispute. It has historically been placed under Catopuma, Felis or Profelis.[2][8] However, studies in 2006 and 2009 have showed that the African golden cat has a particularly close relationship with the caracal (Caracal caracal). These two species, together with the serval (Leptailurus serval), form one of the eight lineages of Felidae. This lineage evolved nearly 8.5 Mya. More recently, the African golden cat has been considered a species of Caracal.[5][9] The African golden cat resembles the Asian golden cat, but are not closely related.[5] Two subspecies are identified:[2][8]

C. a. aurata Temminck, 1827 – Includes the allopatric populations. C. a. cottoni Lydekker, 1907 – Sometimes considered a semi-melanistic color morph because of the red or grey polymorphism and due to uncertainties about the type localities. Individuals resembling C. a. cottoni have been found all over the African golden cat's range in particularly humid habitats, and individuals in captivity have even been observed to change skin color between the typical red and dusky grey morphs as they shed their fur.[10]

Some works refer to C. a. celidogaster instead of C. a. cottoni, restricting the supposed C. a. aurata subspecies to the east of the Congo River, and C. a. celidogaster to the west of the Cross River, Gambia and Gabun.[10][11][12] Characteristics[edit]

African golden cat pelts

The African golden cat is about twice the size of a domestic cat. Its rounded head is very small in relation to its body size. It is a heavily built cat, with stocky, long legs, a relatively short tail, and large paws. Body length usually varies within the range 61 to 101 cm (24 to 40 in). Tail length ranges from 16 to 46 cm (6.3 to 18.1 in), and shoulder height is about 38 to 55 cm (15 to 22 in). The cat weighs around 5.5 to 16 kg (12 to 35 lb), with males being larger than females.[4][13] The African golden cat has variable fur color, ranging from chestnut or reddish-brown, greyish brown to dark slaty. Some are spotted, with the spotting ranging from faded tan to heavy black in color. In others the spotting pattern is limited to the belly and inner legs. Its undersides and areas around the eyes, cheeks, chin, and throat are lighter in color to almost white. Its tail is darker on the top and either heavily banded, lightly banded, or plain, ending in a black tip. Cats in the western parts of its range tend to have heavier spotting than those in the eastern areas. Two color morphs, a red and a grey phase, were once thought to indicate separate species, rather than variations of the same species.[14] Melanistic individuals occur, but are not common.[15] Despite the wide variation in coat color, pelts of African golden cats can be identified by the presence of a distinctive whorled ridge of fur in front of the shoulders, where the hairs change direction.[4] Overall, the African golden cat resembles the caracal, but has shorter untufted ears, a longer tail, and a shorter, more rounded face. They have small, rounded ears and eye colors that range from pale blue to brown.[16] Distribution and habitat[edit] The African golden cat inhabits tropical forests from sea level to 3,000 m (9,800 ft). It prefers dense, moist forest with heavy undergrowth, and is often found close to rivers, but it may also be found in cloud forest, bamboo forests, and high moorland habitats. The cat is found from Senegal in the west to Kenya in the east, and ranges as far north as the Central African Republic and as far south as northern Angola.[4] Ecology and behavior[edit] Due to its extremely reclusive habits, little is known about the behavior of African golden cats. They are solitary animals, and are normally crepuscular or nocturnal, although they have also been observed hunting during the day, depending on the availability of local prey.[4] African golden cats are able to climb, but hunt primarily on the ground. They mainly feed on tree hyrax, rodents, but also hunt birds, small monkeys, duikers, young of giant forest hog, and small antelope. They have also been known to take domestic poultry and livestock.[4][14] Reproduction[edit]

Skull

Knowledge of the African golden cat's reproductive habits is based on captive individuals. The female gives birth to one or two kittens after a gestation period of around 75 days. The kittens weigh 180 to 235 g (6.3 to 8.3 oz). Their eyes open within a week of birth, and they are weaned at 6–8 weeks. They grow and develop rapidly in comparison with other small cat species. One individual was reported to be scaling a 40-cm wall within 16 days of birth, reflecting a high degree of physical agility from an early age. Females reach sexual maturity at 11 months of age, and males at around 18 months. In captivity, they live up to 12 years. Their lifespan in the wild is unknown.[4] Threats[edit] The African golden cat is threatened by extensive deforestation of tropical rainforests, their conversion to oil palm plantations coupled with mining activities and road building, thus destroying its essential habitat. It is also threatened by bushmeat hunting, particularly in the Congo Basin.[1] Conservation[edit] The African golden cat is listed in CITES Appendix II.[1] Hunting African golden cats is prohibited in Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone. In Gabon, Liberia and Togo, hunting regulations are in place.[17] References[edit]

^ a b c d Bahaa-el-din, L.; Mills, D.; Hunter, L. & Henschel, P. (2015). "Caracal aurata". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2015: e.T18306A50663128. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-2.RLTS.T18306A50663128.en. Retrieved 13 January 2018.  ^ a b c d Wozencraft, W.C. (2005). "Order Carnivora". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 544. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.  ^ Johnson, W. E.; Eizirik, E.; Pecon-Slattery, J.; Murphy, W. J.; Antunes, A.; Teeling, E.; O’Brien, S. J. (2006). "The Late Miocene Radiation of Modern Felidae: A Genetic Assessment". Science. 311: 73–77. doi:10.1126/science.1122277. PMID 16400146.  ^ a b c d e f g Sunquist, M.; Sunquist, F. (2002). "Asian golden cat". Wild Cats of the World. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. pp. 246–251. ISBN 0-226-77999-8.  ^ a b c Werdelin, L.; Yamaguchi, N.; Johnson, W.E.; O'Brien, S.J. (2010). "Phylogeny and evolution of cats (Felidae)". In Macdonald, D.W.; Loveridge, A.J. Biology and Conservation of Wild Felids (PDF). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-923444-8.  ^ van Mensch, P.J.A.; van Bree, P.J.H. (1969). "On the African golden cat, Profelis aurata (Temminck, 1827)". Biologica Gabonica. V (4): 235–69.  ^ Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M., eds. (2005). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 533. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.  ^ a b Allen, G.M. (1939). "A checklist of African mammals". Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology. 83: 242.  ^ Johnson, W.E.; O'Brien, S.J. (1997). "Phylogenetic reconstruction of the Felidae using 16S rRNA and NADH-5 mitochondrial genes". Journal of Molecular Evolution. 44 Suppl. 1: S98–S116. doi:10.1007/PL00000060. PMID 9071018.  ^ a b Pocock, R.I. (1907). "Notes upon some African species of the genus Felis, based upon specimens recently exhibited in the Society Gardens". Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London. 77 (3): 656–77. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7998.1907.tb06950.x.  ^ Mensch, P. J. A. v., Bree, P. J. H. v. (1969). On the African Golden Cat, Profelis aurata (Temminck, 1827). Biologia Gabonica V(4): 235–269. ^ Butynski, T. M., Douglas-Dufresne, H., and de Jong, Y. A. (2012). Identification, distribution and conservation status of the African golden cat Caracal aurata in Kenya. Journal of East African Natural History 101(1): 3–16. ^ Burnie, D, and Wilson, D. E. (Eds.) (2005). Animal: The Definitive Visual Guide to the World's Wildlife. DK Adult, ISBN 0789477645 ^ a b Guggisberg, C. A. W. (1975). Wild Cats of the world. Taplinger Pub. Co., New York. ^ Prostak, S. (2015). "African Golden Cat: camera traps capture stunning photos of Africa's least-known felid". AwwNews.com.  ^ Macdonald, D. W. (2009). D. W. Macdonald, ed. The Princeton encyclopedia of mammals. Princeton, N. J.: Princeton University Press. p. 655. ISBN 978-0-691-14069-8.  ^ Nowell, K. and Jackson, P. (1996). Wild Cats: Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan. IUCN/SSC Cat Specialist Group, Gland, Switzerland.

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Profelis aurata.

Wikispecies has information related to Profelis aurata

Species portrait African golden cat; IUCN/SSC Cat Specialist Group Rare African golden cat sightings Elusive golden cat caught on film in Uganda (black & white) (2009) and Gabon (colour) (2011)

v t e

Extant Carnivora species

Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Mammalia Infraclass: Eutheria Superorder: Laurasiatheria

Suborder Feliformia

Nandiniidae

Nandinia

African palm civet (N. binotata)

Herpestidae (Mongooses)

Atilax

Marsh mongoose (A. paludinosus)

Bdeogale

Bushy-tailed mongoose (B. crassicauda) Jackson's mongoose (B. jacksoni) Black-footed mongoose (B. nigripes)

Crossarchus

Alexander's kusimanse (C. alexandri) Angolan kusimanse (C. ansorgei) Common kusimanse (C. obscurus) Flat-headed kusimanse (C. platycephalus)

Cynictis

Yellow mongoose (C. penicillata)

Dologale

Pousargues's mongoose (D. dybowskii)

Galerella

Angolan slender mongoose (G. flavescens) Black mongoose (G. nigrata) Somalian slender mongoose (G. ochracea) Cape gray mongoose (G. pulverulenta) Slender mongoose (G. sanguinea)

Helogale

Ethiopian dwarf mongoose (H. hirtula) Common dwarf mongoose (H. parvula)

Herpestes

Short-tailed mongoose (H. brachyurus) Indian gray mongoose (H. edwardsii) Indian brown mongoose (H. fuscus) Egyptian mongoose (H. ichneumon) Small Asian mongoose (H. javanicus) Long-nosed mongoose (H. naso) Collared mongoose (H. semitorquatus) Ruddy mongoose (H. smithii) Crab-eating mongoose (H. urva) Stripe-necked mongoose (H. vitticollis)

Ichneumia

White-tailed mongoose (I. albicauda)

Liberiictus

Liberian mongoose (L. kuhni)

Mungos

Gambian mongoose (M. gambianus) Banded mongoose (M. mungo)

Paracynictis

Selous' mongoose (P. selousi)

Rhynchogale

Meller's mongoose (R. melleri)

Suricata

Meerkat (S. suricatta)

Hyaenidae (Hyenas)

Crocuta

Spotted hyena (C. crocuta)

Hyaena

Brown hyena (H. brunnea) Striped hyena (H. hyaena)

Proteles

Aardwolf (P. cristatus)

Felidae

Large family listed below

Viverridae

Large family listed below

Eupleridae

Small family listed below

Family Felidae

Felinae

Acinonyx

Cheetah (A. jubatus)

Caracal

Caracal (C. caracal) African golden cat (C. aurata)

Catopuma

Bay cat (C. badia) Asian golden cat (C. temminckii)

Felis

European wildcat (F. silvestris) African wildcat (F. lybica) Jungle cat (F. chaus) Black-footed cat (F. nigripes) Sand cat (F. margarita) Chinese mountain cat (F. bieti) Domestic cat (F. catus)

Leopardus

Ocelot (L. pardalis) Margay (L. wiedii) Pampas cat (L. colocola) Geoffroy's cat (L. geoffroyi) Kodkod (L. guigna) Andean mountain cat (L. jacobita) Oncilla (L. tigrinus) Southern tigrina (L. guttulus)

Leptailurus

Serval (L. serval)

Lynx

Canadian lynx (L. canadensis) Eurasian lynx (L. lynx) Iberian lynx (L. pardinus) Bobcat (L. rufus)

Otocolobus

Pallas's cat (O. manul)

Pardofelis

Marbled cat (P. marmorata)

Prionailurus

Fishing cat (P. viverrinus) Leopard cat (P. bengalensis) Sundaland leopard cat (P. javanensis) Flat-headed cat (P. planiceps) Rusty-spotted cat (P. rubiginosus)

Puma

Cougar (P. concolor)

Herpailurus

Jaguarundi (H. yagouaroundi)

Pantherinae

Panthera

Lion (P. leo) Jaguar (P. onca) Leopard (P. pardus) Tiger (P. tigris) Snow leopard (P. uncia)

Neofelis

Clouded leopard (N. nebulosa) Sunda clouded leopard (N. diardi)

Family Viverridae (includes Civets)

Paradoxurinae

Arctictis

Binturong (A. binturong)

Arctogalidia

Small-toothed palm civet (A. trivirgata)

Macrogalidia

Sulawesi palm civet (M. musschenbroekii)

Paguma

Masked palm civet (P. larvata)

Paradoxurus

Golden wet-zone palm civet (P. aureus) Asian palm civet (P. hermaphroditus) Jerdon's palm civet (P. jerdoni) Golden palm civet (P. zeylonensis)

Hemigalinae

Chrotogale

Owston's palm civet (C. owstoni)

Cynogale

Otter civet (C. bennettii)

Diplogale

Hose's palm civet (D. hosei)

Hemigalus

Banded palm civet (H. derbyanus)

Prionodontinae (Asiatic linsangs)

Prionodon

Banded linsang (P. linsang) Spotted linsang (P. pardicolor)

Viverrinae

Civettictis

African civet (C. civetta)

Genetta (Genets)

Abyssinian genet (G. abyssinica) Angolan genet (G. angolensis) Bourlon's genet (G. bourloni) Crested servaline genet (G. cristata) Common genet (G. genetta) Johnston's genet (G. johnstoni) Rusty-spotted genet (G. maculata) Pardine genet (G. pardina) Aquatic genet (G. piscivora) King genet (G. poensis) Servaline genet (G. servalina) Haussa genet (G. thierryi) Cape genet (G. tigrina) Giant forest genet (G. victoriae)

Poiana

African linsang (P. richardsonii) Leighton's linsang (P. leightoni)

Viverra

Malabar large-spotted civet (V. civettina) Large-spotted civet (V. megaspila) Malayan civet (V. tangalunga) Large Indian civet (V. zibetha)

Viverricula

Small Indian civet (V. indica)

Family Eupleridae

Euplerinae

Cryptoprocta

Fossa (C. ferox)

Eupleres

Eastern falanouc (E. goudotii) Western falanouc (E. major)

Fossa

Malagasy civet (F. fossana)

Galidiinae

Galidia

Ring-tailed mongoose (G. elegans)

Galidictis

Broad-striped Malagasy mongoose (G. fasciata) Grandidier's mongoose (G. grandidieri)

Mungotictis

Narrow-striped mongoose (M. decemlineata)

Salanoia

Brown-tailed mongoose (S. concolor) Durrell's vontsira (S. durrelli)

Suborder Caniformia (cont. below)

Ursidae (Bears)

Ailuropoda

Giant panda (A. melanoleuca)

Helarctos

Sun bear (H. malayanus)

Melursus

Sloth bear (M. ursinus)

Tremarctos

Spectacled bear (T. ornatus)

Ursus

American black bear (U. americanus) Brown bear (U. arctos) Polar bear (U. maritimus) Asian black bear (U. thibetanus)

Mephitidae

Conepatus (Hog-nosed skunks)

Molina's hog-nosed skunk (C. chinga) Humboldt's hog-nosed skunk (C. humboldtii) American hog-nosed skunk (C. leuconotus) Striped hog-nosed skunk (C. semistriatus)

Mephitis

Hooded skunk (M. macroura) Striped skunk (M. mephitis)

Mydaus

Sunda stink badger (M. javanensis) Palawan stink badger (M. marchei)

Spilogale (Spotted skunks)

Southern spotted skunk (S. angustifrons) Western spotted skunk (S. gracilis) Eastern spotted skunk (S. putorius) Pygmy spotted skunk (S. pygmaea)

Procyonidae

Bassaricyon (Olingos)

Eastern lowland olingo (B. alleni) Northern olingo (B. gabbii) Western lowland olingo (B. medius) Olinguito (B. neblina)

Bassariscus

Ring-tailed cat (B. astutus) Cacomistle (B. sumichrasti)

Nasua (Coatis inclusive)

White-nosed coati (N. narica) South American coati (N. nasua)

Nasuella (Coatis inclusive)

Western mountain coati (N. olivacea) Eastern mountain coati (N. meridensis)

Potos

Kinkajou (P. flavus)

Procyon

Crab-eating raccoon (P. cancrivorus) Raccoon (P. lotor) Cozumel raccoon (P. pygmaeus)

Ailuridae

Ailurus

Red panda (A. fulgens)

Suborder Caniformia (cont. above)

Otariidae (Eared seals) (includes fur seals and sea lions) (Pinniped inclusive)

Arctocephalus

South American fur seal (A. australis) Australasian fur seal (A. forsteri) Galápagos fur seal (A. galapagoensis) Antarctic fur seal (A. gazella) Juan Fernández fur seal (A. philippii) Brown fur seal (A. pusillus) Guadalupe fur seal (A. townsendi) Subantarctic fur seal (A. tropicalis)

Callorhinus

Northern fur seal (C. ursinus)

Eumetopias

Steller sea lion (E. jubatus)

Neophoca

Australian sea lion (N. cinerea)

Otaria

South American sea lion (O. flavescens)

Phocarctos

New Zealand sea lion (P. hookeri)

Zalophus

California sea lion (Z. californianus) Galápagos sea lion (Z. wollebaeki)

Odobenidae (Pinniped inclusive)

Odobenus

Walrus (O. rosmarus)

Phocidae (Earless seals) (Pinniped inclusive)

Cystophora

Hooded seal (C. cristata)

Erignathus

Bearded seal (E. barbatus)

Halichoerus

Gray seal (H. grypus)

Histriophoca

Ribbon seal (H. fasciata)

Hydrurga

Leopard seal (H. leptonyx)

Leptonychotes

Weddell seal (L. weddellii)

Lobodon

Crabeater seal (L. carcinophagus)

Mirounga (Elephant seals)

Northern elephant seal (M. angustirostris) Southern elephant seal (M. leonina)

Monachus

Mediterranean monk seal (M. monachus) Hawaiian monk seal (M. schauinslandi)

Ommatophoca

Ross seal (O. rossi)

Pagophilus

Harp seal (P. groenlandicus)

Phoca

Spotted seal (P. largha) Harbor seal (P. vitulina)

Pusa

Caspian seal (P. caspica) Ringed seal (P. hispida) Baikal seal (P. sibirica)

Canidae

Large family listed below

Mustelidae

Large family listed below

Family Canidae (includes dogs)

Atelocynus

Short-eared dog (A. microtis)

Canis

Side-striped jackal (C. adustus) African golden wolf (C. anthus) Golden jackal (C. aureus) Coyote (C. latrans) Gray wolf (C. lupus) Black-backed jackal (C. mesomelas) Red wolf (C. rufus) Ethiopian wolf (C. simensis)

Cerdocyon

Crab-eating fox (C. thous)

Chrysocyon

Maned wolf (C. brachyurus)

Cuon

Dhole (C. alpinus)

Lycalopex

Culpeo (L. culpaeus) Darwin's fox (L. fulvipes) South American gray fox (L. griseus) Pampas fox (L. gymnocercus) Sechuran fox (L. sechurae) Hoary fox (L. vetulus)

Lycaon

African wild dog (L. pictus)

Nyctereutes

Raccoon dog (N. procyonoides)

Otocyon

Bat-eared fox (O. megalotis)

Speothos

Bush dog (S. venaticus)

Urocyon

Gray fox (U. cinereoargenteus) Island fox (U. littoralis)

Vulpes (Foxes)

Bengal fox (V. bengalensis) Blanford's fox (V. cana) Cape fox (V. chama) Corsac fox (V. corsac) Tibetan sand fox (V. ferrilata) Arctic fox (V. lagopus) Kit fox (V. macrotis) Pale fox (V. pallida) Rüppell's fox (V. rueppelli) Swift fox (V. velox) Red fox (V. vulpes) Fennec fox (V. zerda)

Family Mustelidae

Lutrinae (Otters)

Aonyx

African clawless otter (A. capensis) Oriental small-clawed otter (A. cinerea)

Enhydra

Sea otter (E. lutris)

Hydrictis

Spotted-necked otter (H. maculicollis)

Lontra

North American river otter (L. canadensis) Marine otter (L. felina) Neotropical otter (L. longicaudis) Southern river otter (L. provocax)

Lutra

Eurasian otter (L. lutra) Hairy-nosed otter (L. sumatrana)

Lutrogale

Smooth-coated otter (L. perspicillata)

Pteronura

Giant otter (P. brasiliensis)

Mustelinae (including badgers)

Arctonyx

Hog badger (A. collaris)

Eira

Tayra (E. barbara)

Galictis

Lesser grison (G. cuja) Greater grison (G. vittata)

Gulo

Wolverine (G. gulo)

Ictonyx

Saharan striped polecat (I. libyca) Striped polecat (I. striatus)

Lyncodon

Patagonian weasel (L. patagonicus)

Martes (Martens)

American marten (M. americana) Yellow-throated marten (M. flavigula) Beech marten (M. foina) Nilgiri marten (M. gwatkinsii) European pine marten (M. martes) Japanese marten (M. melampus) Sable (M. zibellina)

Pekania

Fisher (P. pennanti)

Meles

Japanese badger (M. anakuma) Asian badger (M. leucurus) European badger (M. meles)

Mellivora

Honey badger (M. capensis)

Melogale (Ferret-badgers)

Bornean ferret-badger (M. everetti) Chinese ferret-badger (M. moschata) Javan ferret-badger (M. orientalis) Burmese ferret-badger (M. personata)

Mustela (Weasels and Ferrets)

Amazon weasel (M. africana) Mountain weasel (M. altaica) Stoat (M. erminea) Steppe polecat (M. eversmannii) Colombian weasel (M. felipei) Long-tailed weasel (M. frenata) Japanese weasel (M. itatsi) Yellow-bellied weasel (M. kathiah) European mink (M. lutreola) Indonesian mountain weasel (M. lutreolina) Black-footed ferret (M. nigripes) Least weasel (M. nivalis) Malayan weasel (M. nudipes) European polecat (M. putorius) Siberian weasel (M. sibirica) Back-striped weasel (M. strigidorsa) Egyptian weasel (M. subpalmata)

Neovison (Minks)

American mink (N. vison)

Poecilogale

African striped weasel (P. albinucha)

Taxidea

American badger (T. taxus)

Vormela

Marbled polecat (V. peregusna)

Taxon identifiers

Wd: Q192231 ADW: Profelis_aurata EoL: 311555 GBIF: 5219401 ITIS: 621874 MSW: 14000200 NCBI: 61

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