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The giant otter or giant river otter[3] (Pteronura brasiliensis) is a South American carnivorous mammal. It is the longest member of the Mustelidae, or weasel family, a globally successful group of predators, reaching up to 1.7 metres (5.6 ft). Atypical of mustelids, the giant otter is a social species, with family groups typically supporting three to eight members. The groups are centered on a dominant breeding pair and are extremely cohesive and cooperative. Although generally peaceful, the species is territorial, and aggression has been observed between groups. The giant otter is diurnal, being active exclusively during daylight hours. It is the noisiest otter species, and distinct vocalisations have been documented that indicate alarm, aggression and reassurance. The giant otter ranges across north-central South America; it lives mostly in and along the Amazon River
Amazon River
and in the Pantanal. Its distribution has been greatly reduced and is now discontinuous. Decades of poaching for its velvety pelt, peaking in the 1950s and 1960s, considerably diminished population numbers. The species was listed as endangered in 1999 and wild population estimates are typically below 5,000. The Guianas
The Guianas
are one of the last real strongholds for the species, which also enjoys modest numbers — and significant protection — in the Peruvian Amazonian basin. It is one of the most endangered mammal species in the neotropics. Habitat degradation and loss is the greatest current threat. The giant otter is also rare in captivity; in 2003, only 60 animals were being held.[4] The giant otter shows a variety of adaptations suitable to an amphibious lifestyle, including exceptionally dense fur, a wing-like tail, and webbed feet. The species prefers freshwater rivers and streams, which are usually seasonally flooded, and may also take to freshwater lakes and springs. It constructs extensive campsites close to feeding areas, clearing large amounts of vegetation. The giant otter subsists almost exclusively on a diet of fish, particularly characins and catfish, but may also eat crabs, turtles, snakes and small caiman.[5] It has no serious natural predators other than humans, although it must compete with other species, including the neotropical otter and caiman species, for food resources.

Contents

1 Naming 2 Taxonomy and evolution 3 Biology and behaviour

3.1 Physical characteristics 3.2 Vocalisations 3.3 Social structure 3.4 Reproduction and life cycle 3.5 Hunting and diet

4 Ecology

4.1 Habitat 4.2 Predation and competition

5 Conservation status

5.1 Threats 5.2 Distribution and population

6 Interactions with indigenous peoples 7 Notes 8 References 9 External links

Naming[edit] The giant otter has a handful of other names. In Brazil
Brazil
it is known as ariranha, from the Tupí word ari'raña, meaning water jaguar (Portuguese: onça d'água).[6] In Spanish, river wolf (Spanish: lobo de río) and water dog (Spanish: perro de agua) are used occasionally, though the latter also refers to several different animals) and may have been more common in the reports of explorers in the 19th and early 20th centuries.[7] All three names are in use in South America, with a number of regional variations. "Giant otter" translates literally as nutria gigante and lontra gigante in Spanish and Portuguese, respectively. Among the Achuar people, they are known as wankanim,[8] and among the Sanumá as hadami.[9][10] The genus name, Pteronura, is derived from the Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
words pteron/πτερον (feather or wing) and ura/ουρά (tail),[11] a reference to its distinctive, wing-like tail.[12] Taxonomy and evolution[edit]

Giant otter
Giant otter
head from the Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi
Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi
research institute

The otters form the Lutrinae
Lutrinae
subfamily within the mustelids and the giant otter is the only member of the genus Pteronura. Two subspecies are currently recognized by the canonical Mammal
Mammal
Species of the World, P. b. brasiliensis and P. b. paraguensis. Incorrect descriptions of the species have led to multiple synonyms (the latter subspecies is often P. b. paranensis in the literature).[1] P. b. brasiliensis is distributed across the north of the giant otter range, including the Orinoco, Amazon, and Guianas river systems; to the south, P. b. paraguensis has been suggested in Paraguay, Uruguay, southern Brazil, and northern Argentina,[13] although it may be extinct in the last three of these four. The World Conservation Union
World Conservation Union
(IUCN) considers the species' presence in Argentina
Argentina
and Uruguay
Uruguay
uncertain.[2] In the former, investigation has shown thinly distributed population remnants.[14] P. b. paraguensis is supposedly smaller and more gregarious, with different dentition and skull morphology. Carter and Rosas, however, rejected the subspecific division in 1997, noting the classification had only been validated once, in 1968, and the P. b. paraguensis type specimen was very similar to P. b. brasiliensis.[15] Biologist Nicole Duplaix calls the division of "doubtful value".[16] An extinct genus, Satherium, is believed to be ancestral to the present species, having migrated to the New World during the Pliocene or early Pleistocene.[12] The giant otter shares the South American continent with three of the four members of the New World Lontra
Lontra
genus of otters: the neotropical river otter, the southern river otter, and the marine otter.[17] (The North American river otter
North American river otter
(Lontra canadensis) is the fourth Lontra
Lontra
member.) The giant otter seems to have evolved independently of Lontra
Lontra
in South America, despite the overlap. The smooth-coated otter ( Lutrogale
Lutrogale
perspicillata) of Asia may be its closest extant relative; similar behaviour, vocalizations, and skull morphology have been noted.[12] Both species also show strong pair bonding and paternal engagement in rearing cubs.[18] Phylogenetic
Phylogenetic
analysis by Koepfli and Wayne in 1998 found the giant otter has the highest divergence sequences within the otter subfamily, forming a distinct clade that split away 10 to 14 million years ago. They noted that the species may be the basal divergence among the otters or fall outside of them altogether, having split even before other mustelids, such as the ermine, polecat, and mink.[12] Later gene sequencing research on the mustelids, from 2005, places the divergence of the giant otter somewhat later, between five and 11 million years ago; the corresponding phylogenetic tree locates the Lontra
Lontra
divergence first among otter genera, and Pteronura second, although divergence ranges overlap.[19] Biology and behaviour[edit] The giant otter is large, gregarious, and diurnal. Early travellers' reports describe noisy groups surrounding explorers' boats, but little scientific information was available on the species until Duplaix's groundbreaking work in the late 1970s.[20] Concern over this endangered species has since generated a body of research. Physical characteristics[edit]

A wild giant otter "periscoping" in Cantão State Park
Cantão State Park
in Brazil, showing its identifying throat marks

Skull seen from the side. Short-snouted as usual in mustelids, it has a pronounced sagittal crest, allowing for a very powerful bite in this species

The giant otter is clearly distinguished from other otters by morphological and behavioural characteristics. It has the greatest body length of any species in the mustelid family, although the sea otter may be heavier. Males are between 1.5 and 1.7 m (4.9 and 5.6 ft) in length from head to tail and females between 1 and 1.5 m (3.3 and 4.9 ft). The animal's well-muscled tail can add a further 70 cm (28 in) to the total body length.[21][22] Early reports of skins and living animals suggested exceptionally large males of up to 2.4 m (7.9 ft); intensive hunting likely reduced the occurrence of such massive specimens. Weights are between 26 and 32 kg (57 and 71 lb) for males and 22 and 26 kg (49 and 57 lb) for females.[23] The giant otter has the shortest fur of all otter species; it is typically chocolate brown, but may be reddish or fawn, and appears nearly black when wet.[24] The fur is extremely dense, so much so that water cannot penetrate to the skin.[25] Guard hairs trap water and keep the inner fur dry; the guard hairs are approximately 8 millimetres (one-third of an inch) in length, about twice as long as the fur of the inner coat.[26] Its velvety feel makes the animal highly sought after by fur traders and has contributed to its decline.[27] Unique markings of white or cream fur color the throat and under the chin, allow individuals to be identified from birth.[24] Giant otters use these marks to recognize one another, and upon meeting other otters, they engage in a behavior known as "periscoping", displaying their throats and upper chests to each other. Giant otter
Giant otter
muzzles are short and sloping and give the head a ball-shaped appearance.[16] The ears are small and rounded.[25] The nose (or rhinarium) is completely covered in fur, with only the two slit-like nostrils visible. The giant otter's highly sensitive whiskers (vibrissae) allow the animal to track changes in water pressure and currents, which aids in detecting prey.[28] The legs are short and stubby and end in large webbed feet tipped with sharp claws. Well suited for an aquatic life, it can close its ears and nose while underwater.[29] At the time of Carter and Rosas' writing, vision had not been directly studied, but field observations show the animal primarily hunts by sight; above water, it is able to recognize observers at great distances. The fact that it is exclusively active during the day further suggests its eyesight should be strong, to aid in hunting and predator avoidance. In other otter species, vision is generally normal or slightly myopic, both on land and in water. The giant otter's hearing is acute and its sense of smell is excellent.[24][30] Vocalisations[edit] The giant otter is an especially noisy animal, with a complex repertoire of vocalizations. All otters produce vocalizations, but by frequency and volume, the giant otter may be the most vocal.[31] Duplaix identified nine distinct sounds, with further subdivisions possible, depending on context. Quick hah barks or explosive snorts suggest immediate interest and possible danger. A wavering scream may be used in bluff charges against intruders, while a low growl is used for aggressive warning. Hums and coos are more reassuring within the group. Whistles may be used as advance warning of nonhostile intent between groups, although evidence is limited. Newborn pups squeak to elicit attention, while older young whine and wail when they begin to participate in group activities.[32] An analysis published in 2014 cataloged 22 distinct types of vocalization in adults and 11 in neonates.[33] Each family of otters was shown to have its own unique audio signature.[34] Social structure[edit] The giant otter is a highly social animal and lives in extended family groups. Group sizes are anywhere from two to 20 members, but likely average between three and eight.[13] (Larger figures may reflect two or three family groups temporarily feeding together.)[35] The groups are strongly cohesive: the otters sleep, play, travel, and feed together.

Giant otters leave a pool together at the Philadelphia Zoo. The species is extremely social, a rarity among mustelids, and family groups are cohesive.

Group members share roles, structured around the dominant breeding pair. The species is territorial, with groups marking their ranges with latrines, gland secretions, and vocalizations.[36] At least one case of a change in alpha relationship has been reported, with a new male taking over the role; the mechanics of the transition were not determined.[37] Duplaix suggests a division between "residents", who are established within groups and territories, and nomadic and solitary "transients"; the categories do not seem rigid, and both may be a normal part of the giant otter life cycle.[38] One tentative theory for the development of sociality in mustelids is that locally abundant, but unpredictably dispersed, prey causes groups to form.[39] Aggression within the species ("intraspecific" conflict) has been documented. Defence against intruding animals appears to be cooperative: while adult males typically lead in aggressive encounters, cases of alpha females guarding groups have been reported.[37] One fight was directly observed in the Brazilian Pantanal
Pantanal
in which three animals violently engaged a single individual near a range boundary.[36] In another instance in Brazil, a carcass was found with clear indications of violent assault by other otters, including bites to the snout and genitals, an attack pattern similar to that exhibited by captive animals.[40] While not rare among large predators in general, intraspecific aggression is uncommon among otter species; Ribas and Mourão suggest a correlation to the animal's sociability, which is also rare among other otters.[36] A capacity for aggressive behavior should not be overstated with the giant otter. Researchers emphasize that even between groups, conflict avoidance is generally adopted.[41][42] Within groups, the animals are extremely peaceful and cooperative. Group hierarchies are not rigid and the animals easily share roles.[43] Reproduction and life cycle[edit]

A giant otter den dug on a lake shore at Cantão State Park
Cantão State Park
— the newly dug white sand is a sign of recent activity at this den.

Giant otters build dens, which are holes dug into riverbanks, usually with multiple entrances and multiple chambers inside. They give birth within these dens during the dry season. In Cantão
Cantão
State Park, otters dig their reproductive dens on the shores of oxbow lakes starting around July, when waters are already quite low. They give birth between August and September, and the young pups emerge for the first time in October and November, which are the months of lowest water and fish concentrations in the dwindling lakes and channels are at their peak. This makes it easier for the adults to catch enough fish for the growing young, and for the pups to learn how to catch fish. The entire group, including nonreproductive adults, which are usually older siblings to that year's pups, collaborates to catch enough fish for the young.[44] Details of giant otter reproduction and life cycle are scarce, and captive animals have provided much of the information. Females appear to give birth year round, although in the wild, births may peak during the dry season. The estrous cycle is 21 days, with females receptive to sexual advances between three and 10 days.[45] Study of captive specimens has found only males initiate copulation.[4] At Tierpark Hagenbeck in Germany, long-term pair bonding and individualized mate selection were seen, with copulation most frequently taking place in water.[46] Females have a gestation period of 65 to 70 days, giving birth to one to five pups, with an average of two.[45][46] Research over five years on a breeding pair at the Cali Zoo
Cali Zoo
in Colombia
Colombia
found the average interval between litters was six to seven months, but as short as 77 days when the previous litter did not survive.[4] Other sources have found greater intervals, with as long as 21 to 33 months suggested for otters in the wild.[45]

Captive giant otters have contributed greatly to scientific knowledge of the species by providing readily available subjects for research on the species' reproduction and life cycle.

Mothers give birth to furred and blind cubs in an underground den near the river shore and fishing sites.[47] Males actively participate in rearing cubs and family cohesion is strong;[48] older, juvenile siblings also participate in rearing, although in the weeks immediately after birth, they may temporarily leave the group.[45] Pups open their eyes in their fourth week, begin walking in their fifth, and are able to swim confidently between 12 and 14 weeks old.[4] They are weaned by nine months and begin hunting successfully soon after.[45] The animal reaches sexual maturity at about two years of age and both male and female pups leave the group permanently after two to three years.[45][46] They then search for new territory to begin a family of their own.[49] The giant otter is very sensitive to human activity when rearing its young. No institution, for example, has successfully raised giant otter cubs unless parents were provided sufficient privacy measures; the stress caused by human visual and acoustic interference can lead to neglect, abuse and infanticide, as well as decreased lactation. In the wild, it has been suggested, although not systematically confirmed, that tourists cause similar stresses: disrupted lactation and denning, reduced hunting, and habitat abandonment are all risks.[49] This sensitivity is matched by a strong protectiveness towards the young. All group members may aggressively charge intruders, including boats with humans in them.[50] The longest documented giant otter lifespan in the wild is eight years. In captivity, this may increase to 17, with an unconfirmed record of 19. The animal is susceptible to a variety of diseases, including canine parvovirus. Parasites, such as the larvae of flies and a variety of intestinal worms, also afflict the giant otter.[49] Other causes of death include accidents, gastroenteritis, infanticide, and epileptic seizures.[45] Hunting and diet[edit]

A captive giant otter, when feeding, grasps prey in its forepaws and begins eating immediately, at the head.

The giant otter is an apex predator, and its population status reflects the overall health of riverine ecosystems.[51] It feeds mainly on fish, including cichlids, characins (such as piranha), and catfish. One full-year study of giant otter scats in Amazonian Brazil found fish present in all fecal samples. Fish from the order Perciformes, particularly cichlids, were seen in 97% of scats, and Characiformes, such as characins, in 86%. Fish remains were of medium-sized species that seem to prefer relatively shallow water, to the advantage of the probably visually oriented giant otter. Prey species found were also sedentary, generally swimming only short distances, which may aid the giant otter in predation. Hunting in shallow water has also been found to be more rewarding, with water depth less than 0.6 metres (2.0 ft) having the highest success rate.[52] The giant otter seems to be opportunistic, taking whatever species are most locally abundant.[53] If fish are unavailable, it will also take crabs, snakes, and even small caimans and anacondas.[54] The species can hunt singly, in pairs, and in groups, relying on sharp eyesight to locate prey.[55] In some cases, supposed cooperative hunting may be incidental, a result of group members fishing individually in close proximity; truly coordinated hunting may only occur where the prey cannot be taken by a single giant otter, such as with small anacondas and juvenile black caiman.[42] The giant otter seems to prefer prey fish that are generally immobile on river bottoms in clear water. Prey chase is rapid and tumultuous, with lunges and twists through the shallows and few missed targets. The otter can attack from both above and below, swiveling at the last instant to clamp the prey in its jaws. Giant otters catch their own food and consume it immediately; they grasp the fish firmly between the forepaws and begin eating noisily at the head.[55] Carter and Rosas have found captive adult animals consume around 10% of their body weight daily—about 3 kilograms (7 lb), in keeping with findings in the wild.[56] Ecology[edit] Habitat[edit] The species is amphibious, although primarily terrestrial.[57] It occurs in freshwater rivers and streams, which generally flood seasonally. Other water habitats include freshwater springs and permanent freshwater lakes.[2] Four specific vegetation types occur on one important creek in Suriname: riverbank high forest, floodable mixed marsh and high swamp forest, floodable low marsh forest, and grass islands and floating meadows within open areas of the creek itself.[57] Duplaix identified two critical factors in habitat selection: food abundance, which appears to positively correlate to shallow water, and low sloping banks with good cover and easy access to preferred water types. The giant otter seems to choose clear, black waters with rocky or sandy bottoms over silty, saline, and white waters.[58]

A group of four giant otters emerging from the water to patrol a campsite on the riverbank at Cantão
Cantão
State Park

Giant otters use areas beside rivers for building dens, campsites, and latrines.[59] They clear significant amounts of vegetation while building their campsites. One report suggests maximum areas 28 m (92 ft) long and 15 m (49 ft) wide, well-marked by scent glands, urine, and feces to signal territory.[17] Carter and Rosas found average areas a third this size. Giant otters adopt communal latrines beside campsites, and dig dens with a handful of entrances, typically under root systems or fallen trees. One report found between three and eight campsites, clustered around feeding areas. In seasonally flooded areas, the giant otter may abandon campsites during the wet season, dispersing to flooded forests in search of prey.[60] Giant otters may adopt preferred locations perennially, often on high ground. These can become quite extensive, including "backdoor" exits into forests and swamps, away from the water.[57] Otters do not visit or mark every site daily, but usually patrol all of them, often by a pair of otters in the morning.[61] Research generally takes place in the dry season and an understanding of the species' overall habitat use remains partial. An analysis of dry season range size for three otter groups in Ecuador
Ecuador
found areas between 0.45 and 2.79 square kilometres (0.17 and 1.08 sq mi). Utreras[59] presumed habitat requirements and availability would differ dramatically in the rainy season: estimating range sizes of 1.98 to as much as 19.55 square kilometres (0.76 to 7.55 sq miles) for the groups. Other researchers suggest approximately 7 square kilometres (2.7 sq mi) and note a strong inverse correlation between sociality and home range size; the highly social giant otter has smaller home range sizes than would be expected for a species of its mass.[39] Population densities varied with a high of 1.2/km2 (3.1/sq mi) reported in Suriname
Suriname
and with a low of 0.154/km2 (0.40/sq mi) found in Guyana.[13] Predation and competition[edit]

Characins such as piranha species are prey for the giant otter, but these aggressive fish may also pose a danger. Duplaix speculated that piranhas may attack giant otters.

Adult giant otters living in family groups have no known serious natural predators, however there are some accounts of black caimans in Peru
Peru
and yacare caimans in the Pantanal
Pantanal
preying on giant otters.[56] In addition, solitary animals and young may be vulnerable to attacks by the jaguar, cougar, and anaconda, but this is based on historical reports, not direct observation.[62] Pups are more vulnerable, and may be taken by caiman and other large predators,[49] although adults are constantly mindful of stray young, and will harass and fight off possible predators. When in the water, the giant otter faces danger from animals not strictly preying upon it: the electric eel and stingray are potentially deadly if stumbled upon, and piranha may be capable of at least taking bites out of a giant otter, as evidenced by scarring on individuals.[63] Even if without direct predation, the giant otter must still compete with other predators for food resources. Duplaix documented interaction with the neotropical otter.[64] While the two species are sympatric (with overlapping ranges) during certain seasons, there appeared to be no serious conflict. The smaller neotropical otter is far more shy, less noisy, and less social; at about a third the weight of the giant otter, it is more vulnerable to predation, hence, a lack of conspicuousness is to its advantage. The neotropical otter is active during twilight and darkness, reducing the likelihood of conflict with the diurnal giant otter.[65] Its smaller prey, different denning habits, and different preferred water types also reduce interaction.[56] Other species that prey upon similar food resources include the caimans and large fish that are themselves piscivores. Gymnotids, such as the electric eel, and the large silurid catfish are among aquatic competitors. Two river dolphins, the tucuxi and boto, might potentially compete with the giant otter, but different spatial use and dietary preferences suggest minimal overlap.[56] Furthermore, Defler observed associations between giant otters and the Amazon river dolphins, and suggested that dolphins may benefit by fish fleeing from the otters.[56] The spectacled caiman is another potential competitor, but Duplaix found no conflict with the species in Suriname. Conservation status[edit] The IUCN listed the giant otter as "endangered" in 1999; it had been considered "vulnerable" under all previous listings from 1982 when sufficient data had first become available. It is regulated internationally under Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered
Endangered
Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES): all trade in specimens and parts is illegal.[66] Threats[edit] The animal faces a variety of critical threats. Poaching
Poaching
has long been a problem. Statistics show between 1959 and 1969 Amazonian Brazil alone accounted for 1,000 to 3,000 pelts annually. The species was so thoroughly decimated, the number dropped to just 12 in 1971. The implementation of CITES
CITES
in 1973 finally brought about significant hunting reductions,[13] although demand did not disappear entirely: in the 1980s, pelt prices were as high as US$250 on the European market. The threat has been exacerbated by the otters' relative fearlessness and tendency to approach human beings. They are extremely easy to hunt, being active through the day and highly inquisitive.[67] The animal's relatively late sexual maturity and complex social life makes hunting especially disastrous.[13] More recently, habitat destruction and degradation have become the principal dangers, and a further reduction of 50% is expected in giant otter numbers within the 20 years after 2004 (about the span of three generations of giant otters).[2] Typically, loggers first move into rainforest, clearing the vegetation along riverbanks. Farmers follow, creating depleted soil and disrupted habitats. As human activity expands, giant otter home ranges become increasingly isolated. Subadults leaving in search of new territory find it impossible to set up family groups.[68] Specific threats from human industry include unsustainable mahogany logging in parts of the giant otter range,[67] and concentrations of mercury in its diet of fish, a byproduct of gold mining.[69][70] Water pollution from mining, fossil fuel extraction, and agriculture is a serious danger; concentrations of pesticides and other chemicals are magnified at each step in the food chain, and can poison top predators such as the giant otter. Other threats to the giant otter include conflict with fishermen, who often view the species as a nuisance (see below). Ecotourism
Ecotourism
also presents challenges: while it raises money and awareness for the animals, by its nature it also increases human effect on the species, both through associated development and direct disturbances in the field.[68] A number of restrictions on land use and human intrusion are required to properly maintain wild populations. Schenck et al., who undertook extensive fieldwork in Peru
Peru
in the 1990s, suggest specific "no-go" zones where the species is most frequently observed, offset by observation towers and platforms to allow viewing. Limits on the number of tourists at any one time, fishing prohibitions, and a minimum safe distance of 50 metres (164 ft) are proposed to offer further protection.[71] Distribution and population[edit] The giant otter has lost as much as 80% of its South American range.[67] While still present in a number of north-central countries, giant otter populations are under considerable stress. The IUCN lists Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela as current range countries.[2] Given local extinctions, the species' range has become discontinuous.[13] Total population numbers are difficult to estimate. An IUCN study in 2006 suggested 1,000 to 5,000 otters remain.[2] Populations in Bolivia were once widespread but the country became a "black spot" on distribution maps after poaching between the 1940s and 1970s; a relatively healthy, but still small, population of 350 was estimated in the country in 2002.[35] The species has likely been extirpated from southern Brazil, but in the west of the country, decreased hunting pressure in the critical Pantanal
Pantanal
has led to very successful recolonization; an estimate suggests 1,000 or more animals in the region.[67][72]

The Guianas
The Guianas
are the last real stronghold of the giant otter. Suriname retains extensive forest cover and many protected areas; it is pictured above. Guyana
Guyana
is immediately to the west and French Guiana
French Guiana
is immediately to the east.

In 2006, most of this species lived in the Brazilian Amazon and its bordering areas.[2] A significant population lives in the wetlands of the central Araguaia River, and in particular within Cantão
Cantão
State Park, which, with its 843 oxbow lakes and extensive flooded forests and marshlands, is one of the best habitat patches for this species in Brazil.[44] Suriname
Suriname
still has significant forest cover and an extensive system of protected areas, much of which protects the giant otter.[73] Duplaix returned to the country in 2000 and found the giant otter still present on the Kaburi Creek, a "jewel" of biodiversity, although increased human presence and land use suggests, sooner or later, the species may not be able to find suitable habitat for campsites.[74] In a report for World Wildlife Fund
World Wildlife Fund
in 2002, Duplaix was emphatic about the importance of Suriname
Suriname
and the other Guianas:[57]

“ The three Guianas remain the last stronghold of giant otters in South America, with pristine giant otter habitat on some rivers and good giant otter densities overall—still, but for how long? The survival of the giant otter populations in the Guianas is essential to the survival of this endangered species in South America. ”

Other countries have taken a lead in designating protected areas in South America. In 2004, Peru
Peru
created one of the largest conservation areas in the world, Alto Purús National Park, with an area similar in size to Belgium. The park harbors many endangered plants and animals, including the giant otter, and holds the world record for mammal diversity.[75][76] Bolivia
Bolivia
designated wetlands larger than the size of Switzerland as a freshwater protected area in 2001; these are also home to the giant otter.[77] Interactions with indigenous peoples[edit] Throughout its range, the giant otter interacts with indigenous groups, who often practice traditional hunting and fishing. A study of five indigenous communities in Colombia
Colombia
suggests native attitudes toward the animal are a threat: the otters are often viewed as a nuisance that interferes with fishing, and are sometimes killed. Even when told of the importance of the species to ecosystems and the danger of extinction, interviewees showed little interest in continuing to coexist with the species. Schoolchildren, however, had a more positive impression of the animal.[78] In Suriname, the giant otter is not a traditional prey species for human hunters, which affords some protection.[74] (One researcher has suggested the giant otter is hunted only in desperation due to its horrible taste.)[68] The animal sometimes drowns in nets set across rivers and machete attacks by fishermen have been noted, according to Duplaix, but "tolerance is the rule" in Suriname.[63] One difference in behavior was seen in the country in 2002: the normally inquisitive giant otters showed "active avoidance behavior with visible panic" when boats appeared. Logging, hunting, and pup seizure may have led groups to be far more wary of human activity.[57] Local people sometimes take pups for the exotic pet trade or as pets for themselves, but the animal rapidly grows to become unmanageable.[68] Duplaix relates the story of an Arawak Indian who took two pups from their parents. While revealing of the affection held for the animals, the seizure was a profound blow to the breeding pair, which went on to lose their territory to competitors.[63] The species has also appeared in the folklore of the region. It plays an important role in the mythology of the Achuar people, where giant otters are seen as a form of the tsunki, or water spirits: they are a sort of "water people" who feed on fish. They appear in a fish poisoning legend where they assist a man who has wasted his sexual energy, creating the anacondas of the world from his distressed and extended genitals.[8] The Bororó people
Bororó people
have a legend on the origin of tobacco smoking: those who used the leaf improperly by swallowing it were punished by being transformed into giant otters; the Bororo also associate the giant otter with fish and with fire.[79] A Ticuna legend has it that the giant otter exchanged places with the jaguar: the story says jaguar formerly lived in the water and the giant otter came to the land only to eat.[80] The indigenous Kichwa
Kichwa
peoples from Amazonian Peru
Peru
believed in a world of water where Yaku runa reigned as mother of the water and was charged with caring for fish and animals. Giant otters served as Yaku runa's canoes.[81] A Maxacali creation story suggests that the practice of otter fishing may have been prevalent in the past.[82] Notes[edit]

^ a b Wozencraft, W.C. (2005). "Order Carnivora". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M. Mammal
Mammal
Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 605. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.  ^ a b c d e f g Duplaix, N.; Waldemarin, H.F.; Groenedijk, J.; Munis, M.; Valesco, M. & Botello, J.C. (2008). "Pteronura brasiliensis". IUCN Red List
IUCN Red List
of Threatened Species. Version 2008. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 6 March 2009.  Database entry includes justification for why this species is endangered ^ "Giant river otter". National Geographic Society. Retrieved 6 August 2016.  ^ a b c d Londono, G. Corredor; Munoz, N. Tigreros (2006). "Reproduction, behaviour and biology of the Giant river otter (Pteronura brasiliensis) at Cali Zoo". International Zoo Yearbook. 40: 360–371. doi:10.1111/j.1748-1090.2006.00360.x.  ^ Groenendijk, J., Hajek, F. & Schenck, C. 2004. Pteronura brasiliensis. In: IUCN 2006. 2006 IUCN Red List
IUCN Red List
of Threatened Species. (http://www.iucnredlist.org/search/details.php/18711/all) ^ Ferreira, A. B. H. (1986). Novo Dicionário da Língua Portuguesa (2nd ed.). Nova Fronteira. p. 163.  ^ See e.g., Duplaix 1980, p. 547 ^ a b Descola, Philippe (1994). In the Society of Nature: A Native Ecology in Amazonia. Cambridge University Press. pp. 280–282. ISBN 0-521-41103-3.  ^ Ramos, Alcida Rita (1995). Sanuma Memories: Yanomami Ethnography in Times of Crisis. University of Wisconsin Press. p. 219. ISBN 0-299-14654-5.  ^ Antropológica. Sociedad de Ciencias Naturales La Salle (Fundación La Salle de Ciencias Naturales). 55–58: 107. 1981–1982. CS1 maint: Untitled periodical (link) ^ Liddell, Henry George & Robert Scott (1980). A Greek-English Lexicon (Abridged Edition). United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-910207-4.  ^ a b c d Koepfli, K.-P; Wayne, R.K. (December 1998). "Phylogenetic relationships of otters (Carnivora: Mustelidae) based on mitochondrial cytochrome b sequences". Journal of Zoology. 246 (4): 401–416. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7998.1998.tb00172.x.  ^ a b c d e f "Pteronura brasiliensis (giant otter)". Carnivores. Food and agricultural organization of the United Nations. Archived from the original on 27 November 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-07.  ^ Chehebar, C. (February 1991). "Searching for the Giant Otter
Otter
in Northeastern Argentina". IUCN Otter
Otter
Specialist Group. 6 (1): 17–18. Retrieved 2007-11-06.  ^ Carter & Rosas 1998, p. 4 ^ a b Duplaix 1980, p. 511 ^ a b Foster-Turley, Pat; Macdonald, Sheila; Mason, Chris, eds. (1990). "Otters: An Action Plan for their Conservation". IUCN/SSC Otter
Otter
Specialist Group. International Conservation Union: Sections 2 and 12. Archived from the original on 5 January 2008. Retrieved 2007-11-21.  ^ Duplaix 1980, p. 614 ^ Marmi, Josep; Lopez-Giraldez, Juan F.; Domingo-Roura, Xavier (November 2004). "Phylogeny, evolutionary history and taxonomy of the Mustelidae
Mustelidae
based on sequences of the cytochrome b gene and a complex repetitive flanking region". Zoologica Scripta. 33 (6): 481–499. doi:10.1111/j.0300-3256.2004.00165.x.  ^ Duplaix 1980, p. 497 ^ "Giant Otter
Otter
(Pteronura brasiliensis)". The Nature Conservancy. Retrieved 2008-01-25.  ^ Boitani, Luigi, Simon & Schuster's Guide to Mammals. Simon & Schuster/Touchstone Books (1984), ISBN 978-0-671-42805-1 ^ Duplaix 1980 ^ a b c Carter & Rosas 1998, p. 2 ^ a b "Giant Otter". Meet Our Animals. Philadelphia Zoo. Archived from the original on 11 April 2013. Retrieved 2007-11-06.  ^ "Otters: Physical characteristics". Anheuser-Busch Adventure Parks. Retrieved 2007-11-06.  ^ "Giant Otter
Otter
Facts". Meet Our Animals. Earth's Endangered
Endangered
Creatures. Retrieved 2007-11-07.  ^ "Giant Otter". World Wildlife Fund. Archived from the original on 24 October 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-19.  ^ "Giant Otter, the "Water Dog"". Iwokrama International Centre for Rainforest Conservation and Development. Archived from the original on 2007-10-17. Retrieved 2007-11-07.  ^ Duplaix 1980, p. 533 ^ "Otters: A SeaWorld Education Department Publication" (PDF). Seaworld. 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-23.  ^ Duplaix 1980, pp. 552–561 ^ Mumm, C. A. S.; Knörnschild, M. (2014-11-12). "The Vocal Repertoire of Adult and Neonate Giant Otters (Pteronura brasiliensis)". PLoS One. 9 (11): e112562. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0112562. PMC 4229255 . PMID 25391142.  ^ Mumm, C. A.; Knörnschild, M. (2017). "Territorial choruses of giant otter groups (Pteronura brasiliensis) encode information on group identity". PLoS One. 12 (10): e0185733. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0185733.  ^ a b van Damme, Paul; Wallace, Rob; et al. (October 2002). "Distribution and Population Status of the Giant Otter
Otter
Pteronura brasiliensis in Bolivia". IUCN Otter
Otter
Specialist Group. 19 (2): 87–96. Retrieved 2007-11-05.  ^ a b c Ribas, Carolina; Mourão, Guilherme (January 2005). "Intraspecific Agonism between Giant Otter
Otter
Groups". IUCN Otter Specialist Group Bulletin. 21 (2): 89–93. Retrieved 2007-11-07.  ^ a b Evangelista, Emanuela (July 2004). "Change Of Partners In A Giant Otter
Otter
Alpha Couple". IUCN Otter
Otter
Specialist Group Bulletin. 21 (1): 47–51. Retrieved 2007-11-07.  ^ Duplaix 1980, pp. 571–2 ^ a b Johnson, Dominic D.P.; MacDonald, David W.; Dickman, Amy J. (2000). "An analysis and review of the sociobiology of the Mustelidae" (PDF). Mammal
Mammal
review. 30 (3&4): 171–196. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2907.2000.00066.x. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 September 2006. Retrieved 2007-11-07.  See figure three for home range size estimate. ^ Rosas, F.C.W.; De Mattos, G.E. (October 2003). "Natural Deaths Of Giant Otters (Pteronura Brasiliensis) In Balbina Hydroelectric Lake, Amazonas, Brazil". IUCN Otter
Otter
Specialist Group Bulletin. 20 (2): 62–64. Retrieved 2007-11-07.  ^ Duplaix 1980, p. 563 ^ a b Carter & Rosas 1998, p. 15 ^ Schenck, C.; Staib, E. (April 1992). "Giant Otters In Peru". IUCN Otter
Otter
Specialist Group. 7: 24–26. Retrieved 2008-01-22.  ^ a b "Giant Otters in Cantão". Instituto Araguaia. Retrieved 10 Mar 2011.  ^ a b c d e f g Carter & Rosas 1998, p. 18 ^ a b c Hagenbeck, Carl; Wunnemann, Claus (1992). "Breeding the giant otter (Pteronura brasiliensis) at Carl Hagenbecks Tierpark". International Zoo Yearbook. 32: 240–245. doi:10.1111/j.1748-1090.1991.tb02392.x.  ^ Duplaix 1980, p. 567 ^ Duplaix 1980, p. 576 ^ a b c d Sykes-Gatz, Sheila (2005). International Giant Otter Studbook Husbandry and Management Information and Guidelines (Second ed.). Germany: Zoologischer Garten Dortmund. p. 13.  ^ Duplaix 1980, pp. 564–5, 570 ^ Barnett, Adrian; Shapley, Rebecca; Lehman, Shawn; et al. (October 2000). "Records of the Giant Otter, Pteronura brasiliensis, from Guyana". IUCN Otter
Otter
Specialist Group. 17 (2): 65–74.  ^ Carter & Rosas 1998, p. 16 ^ Fernando, Rosas; Zuanon, Jansen; et al. (September 1999). "Feeding Ecology of the Giant Otter, Pteronura brasiliensis". Biotropica. 31 (3): 502–506. doi:10.1111/j.1744-7429.1999.tb00393.x.  ^ "Giant Otter
Otter
(Pteronura brasiliensis)". International Otter
Otter
Survival Fund. Archived from the original on 11 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-21.  ^ a b Duplaix 1980, pp. 544–6 ^ a b c d e Carter & Rosas 1998, p. 17 ^ a b c d e Duplaix, Nicole (2002). "Guianas Rapid River Bio-assessments and Giant Otter
Otter
Conservation Project" (PDF). World Wildlife Fund.  ^ Duplaix 1980, pp. 514–5 ^ a b Utreras, V.; Suárez, E.; Zapata-Ríos, G.; et al. (July–December 2005). "Dry and Rainy Season Estimations of Giant Otter, Pteronura brasiliensis, Home-Range in the Yasuní National Park, Ecuador" (PDF). The Latin American Journal of Aquatic Mammals. 4 (2): 191–194. doi:10.5597/lajam00085. Retrieved 2007-11-07.  ^ Carter & Rosas 1998, p. 13 ^ Duplaix 1980, p. 69 ^ Duplaix 1980, pp. 523, 529 ^ a b c Duplaix 1980, pp. 529–530 ^ Lontra
Lontra
longicaudis. In Duplaix 1980 it was listed as the Guiana Otter
Otter
under the older binomial Lutra
Lutra
enudris. ^ Duplaix 1980, pp. 527–9 ^ "Appendices I, II and III". Convention on International Trade in Endangered
Endangered
Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Archived from the original on 2007-12-29. Retrieved 2008-01-22.  ^ a b c d Ridgley, Heidi (Winter 2007). "The Wolf of the River" (PDF). Defenders Magazine. Defenders of Wildlife. Retrieved 2007-11-09.  ^ a b c d Wright, Lesley. "Threats to the Giant Otter". Otterjoy.com. Retrieved 2008-01-25.  ^ Fonseca, Fabrizio R.D.; Malm, Olaf; Waldemarin, Helen F. (2005). "Mercury levels in tissues of Giant otters (Pteronura brasiliensis) from the Rio Negro, Pantanal, Brazil" (PDF). Environmental Research. 98 (3): 368–371. Bibcode:2005ER.....98..368D. doi:10.1016/j.envres.2004.11.008. PMID 15910792. Retrieved 2007-11-09.  ^ Gutleb, A.C.; Schenck, C; Staib, E (December 1997). "Giant otter (Pteronura brasiliensis) at risk? Total mercury and methylmercury levels in fish and otter scats, Peru". Ambio. 26 (8): 511–514. Archived from the original on 27 November 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-09.  ^ Schenck, Christof; Jessica, Groenendijk; et al. (April 1999). "Giant Otter
Otter
Project In Peru: Field Trip And Activity Report, 1998". IUCN Otter
Otter
Specialist Group. 16 (1): 33–43. Retrieved 2008-01-22.  ^ Carter & Rosas 1998, p. 8 ^ "Natural Heritage in Suriname". Suriname
Suriname
Natcom. UNESCO. Archived from the original on 7 March 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-21.  ^ a b Duplaix, Nicole; Lingaard, Marchal; Sakimin, Claudine (2001). "A Survey of Kaburi Creek, West Suriname, and its Conservation Implications" (PDF). The Oceanic Society. Retrieved 2008-01-22.  ^ "Perú creará inmensa reserva amazónica" (in Spanish). BBC Mundo. 2005-04-01. Retrieved 2008-01-07.  ^ "The Alto Purús Conservation Project". Round River Conservation Studies. Archived from the original on 10 January 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-25.  ^ "WWF welcomes Latin America's largest freshwater protected area" (Press release). The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. 2001-09-18. Archived from the original on 22 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-27.  ^ (in Spanish) Velasco, Diana Marcela (2005). "Estudio preliminar sobre el estado de conservación de la nutria gigante (Pteronura brasiliensis) en la zona de influencia de Inírida (Bajo río Inírida) Guainía, Colombia" (PDF). Giant Otter
Otter
Research. Retrieved on 2008-01-27. ^ Lévi-Strauss, Claude (1983). The Raw and the Cooked. trans. John Weightman and Doreen Weightman. University of Chicago Press. pp. 104–108. ISBN 0-226-47487-9.  ^ Landolt, Gredna (2005). El ojo que cuenta: Mitos y costumbres de la Amazonía indígena ilustrados. International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs. p. 81. ISBN 9972-2640-0-9.  ^ (in Spanish) Ching, César (October 2006). "PER-I38: El mundo del agua temido y poco conocido". BioDiversity Reporting Award. Semanario Kanatari, Iquitos, Iquitos. Archived from the original on 2012-02-10. Retrieved 2008-01-27.  ^ Warren, Jonathan W. (26 September 2001). Racial Revolutions: Antiracism and Indian Resurgence in Brazil. Duke University Press. pp. 1–4. ISBN 0-8223-2741-4. 

References[edit]

Carter, S.K.; Rosas, F.C.W. (1998). "Biology and conservation of Giant Otter
Otter
(Pteronura brasiliensis)" (PDF). Mammal
Mammal
review. 27 (1): 1–26. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2907.1997.tb00370.x. Retrieved 2007-11-06.  Duplaix, Nicole (1980). "Observations on the ecology and behavior of the giant river otter Pteronura brasiliensis in Suriname". Revue d'Ecologie (Terre Vie). 34: 495–620. 

External links[edit]

Wikispecies
Wikispecies
has information related to Pteronura brasiliensis

Media related to Pteronura brasiliensis at Wikimedia Commons ARKive
ARKive
– images and movies of the giant otter (Pteronura brasiliensis)

Animals portal

v t e

Extant Carnivora
Carnivora
species

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

Suborder Feliformia

Nandiniidae

Nandinia

African palm civet
African palm civet
(N. binotata)

Herpestidae (Mongooses)

Atilax

Marsh mongoose
Marsh mongoose
(A. paludinosus)

Bdeogale

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

Crossarchus

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

Cynictis

Yellow mongoose
Yellow mongoose
(C. penicillata)

Dologale

Pousargues's mongoose
Pousargues's mongoose
(D. dybowskii)

Galerella

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

Helogale

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

Herpestes

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

Ichneumia

White-tailed mongoose
White-tailed mongoose
(I. albicauda)

Liberiictus

Liberian mongoose
Liberian mongoose
(L. kuhni)

Mungos

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

Paracynictis

Selous' mongoose
Selous' mongoose
(P. selousi)

Rhynchogale

Meller's mongoose
Meller's mongoose
(R. melleri)

Suricata

Meerkat
Meerkat
(S. suricatta)

Hyaenidae (Hyenas)

Crocuta

Spotted hyena
Spotted hyena
(C. crocuta)

Hyaena

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

Proteles

Aardwolf
Aardwolf
(P. cristatus)

Felidae

Large family listed below

Viverridae

Large family listed below

Eupleridae

Small family listed below

Family Felidae

Felinae

Acinonyx

Cheetah
Cheetah
(A. jubatus)

Caracal

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

Catopuma

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

Felis

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

Leopardus

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

Leptailurus

Serval
Serval
(L. serval)

Lynx

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

Otocolobus

Pallas's cat
Pallas's cat
(O. manul)

Pardofelis

Marbled cat
Marbled cat
(P. marmorata)

Prionailurus

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

Puma

Cougar
Cougar
(P. concolor)

Herpailurus

Jaguarundi
Jaguarundi
(H. yagouaroundi)

Pantherinae

Panthera

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

Neofelis

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

Family Viverridae
Viverridae
(includes Civets)

Paradoxurinae

Arctictis

Binturong
Binturong
(A. binturong)

Arctogalidia

Small-toothed palm civet
Small-toothed palm civet
(A. trivirgata)

Macrogalidia

Sulawesi palm civet
Sulawesi palm civet
(M. musschenbroekii)

Paguma

Masked palm civet
Masked palm civet
(P. larvata)

Paradoxurus

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

Hemigalinae

Chrotogale

Owston's palm civet
Owston's palm civet
(C. owstoni)

Cynogale

Otter
Otter
civet (C. bennettii)

Diplogale

Hose's palm civet
Hose's palm civet
(D. hosei)

Hemigalus

Banded palm civet
Banded palm civet
(H. derbyanus)

Prionodontinae (Asiatic linsangs)

Prionodon

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

Viverrinae

Civettictis

African civet
African civet
(C. civetta)

Genetta (Genets)

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

Poiana

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

Viverra

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

Viverricula

Small Indian civet
Small Indian civet
(V. indica)

Family Eupleridae

Euplerinae

Cryptoprocta

Fossa (C. ferox)

Eupleres

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

Fossa

Malagasy civet
Malagasy civet
(F. fossana)

Galidiinae

Galidia

Ring-tailed mongoose
Ring-tailed mongoose
(G. elegans)

Galidictis

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

Mungotictis

Narrow-striped mongoose
Narrow-striped mongoose
(M. decemlineata)

Salanoia

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

Suborder Caniformia
Caniformia
(cont. below)

Ursidae (Bears)

Ailuropoda

Giant panda
Giant panda
(A. melanoleuca)

Helarctos

Sun bear
Sun bear
(H. malayanus)

Melursus

Sloth bear
Sloth bear
(M. ursinus)

Tremarctos

Spectacled bear
Spectacled bear
(T. ornatus)

Ursus

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

Mephitidae

Conepatus (Hog-nosed skunks)

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

Mephitis

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

Mydaus

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

Spilogale (Spotted skunks)

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

Procyonidae

Bassaricyon (Olingos)

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

Bassariscus

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

Nasua (Coatis inclusive)

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

Nasuella (Coatis inclusive)

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

Potos

Kinkajou
Kinkajou
(P. flavus)

Procyon

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

Ailuridae

Ailurus

Red panda
Red panda
(A. fulgens)

Suborder Caniformia
Caniformia
(cont. above)

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

Arctocephalus

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

Callorhinus

Northern fur seal
Northern fur seal
(C. ursinus)

Eumetopias

Steller sea lion
Steller sea lion
(E. jubatus)

Neophoca

Australian sea lion
Australian sea lion
(N. cinerea)

Otaria

South American sea lion
South American sea lion
(O. flavescens)

Phocarctos

New Zealand sea lion
New Zealand sea lion
(P. hookeri)

Zalophus

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

Odobenidae ( Pinniped
Pinniped
inclusive)

Odobenus

Walrus
Walrus
(O. rosmarus)

Phocidae (Earless seals) ( Pinniped
Pinniped
inclusive)

Cystophora

Hooded seal
Hooded seal
(C. cristata)

Erignathus

Bearded seal
Bearded seal
(E. barbatus)

Halichoerus

Gray seal (H. grypus)

Histriophoca

Ribbon seal
Ribbon seal
(H. fasciata)

Hydrurga

Leopard
Leopard
seal (H. leptonyx)

Leptonychotes

Weddell seal
Weddell seal
(L. weddellii)

Lobodon

Crabeater seal
Crabeater seal
(L. carcinophagus)

Mirounga (Elephant seals)

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

Monachus

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

Ommatophoca

Ross seal
Ross seal
(O. rossi)

Pagophilus

Harp seal
Harp seal
(P. groenlandicus)

Phoca

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

Pusa

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

Canidae

Large family listed below

Mustelidae

Large family listed below

Family Canidae
Canidae
(includes dogs)

Atelocynus

Short-eared dog
Short-eared dog
(A. microtis)

Canis

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

Cerdocyon

Crab-eating fox
Crab-eating fox
(C. thous)

Chrysocyon

Maned wolf
Maned wolf
(C. brachyurus)

Cuon

Dhole
Dhole
(C. alpinus)

Lycalopex

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

Lycaon

African wild dog
African wild dog
(L. pictus)

Nyctereutes

Raccoon
Raccoon
dog (N. procyonoides)

Otocyon

Bat-eared fox
Bat-eared fox
(O. megalotis)

Speothos

Bush dog
Bush dog
(S. venaticus)

Urocyon

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

Vulpes (Foxes)

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

Family Mustelidae

Lutrinae (Otters)

Aonyx

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

Enhydra

Sea otter
Sea otter
(E. lutris)

Hydrictis

Spotted-necked otter
Spotted-necked otter
(H. maculicollis)

Lontra

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

Lutra

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

Lutrogale

Smooth-coated otter
Smooth-coated otter
(L. perspicillata)

Pteronura

Giant otter
Giant otter
(P. brasiliensis)

Mustelinae (including badgers)

Arctonyx

Hog badger
Hog badger
(A. collaris)

Eira

Tayra
Tayra
(E. barbara)

Galictis

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

Gulo

Wolverine
Wolverine
(G. gulo)

Ictonyx

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

Lyncodon

Patagonian weasel
Patagonian weasel
(L. patagonicus)

Martes (Martens)

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

Pekania

Fisher (P. pennanti)

Meles

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

Mellivora

Honey badger
Honey badger
(M. capensis)

Melogale (Ferret-badgers)

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

Mustela (Weasels and Ferrets)

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

Neovison (Minks)

American mink
American mink
(N. vison)

Poecilogale

African striped weasel
African striped weasel
(P. albinucha)

Taxidea

American badger
American badger
(T. taxus)

Vormela

Marbled polecat
Marbled polecat
(V. peregusna)

Taxon identifiers

Wd: Q83774 ADW: Pteronura_brasiliensis ARKive: pteronura-brasiliensis EoL: 328029 Fossilworks: 156976 GBIF: 2433681 iNaturalist: 41845 ITIS: 621920 IUCN: 18711 MSW: 14001131 NCBI: 9

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