|Prionodon pardicolor - Spotted Linsang|
The Asiatic linsangs are two species classified in the family Prionodontidae. There is one Southeast Asian genus, Prionodon.
The Asiatic linsang (Prionodon) and the African linsang (Poiana) formerly were placed in the subfamily Viverrinae (of Viverridae), along with several other genera, but recent research suggests that their actual relationships are different. The Asiatic linsangs Prionodon are remarkable for their morphological resemblance to cats, family Felidae. DNA analysis indicates that while the African linsangs (Poiana) are true viverrids closely related to the genets, the Asiatic linsangs (Prionodon) are not and are the closest living relatives of the Felidae family. The similarities between Asiatic linsangs and cats are due to common ancestry, while the similarities between the two genera of linsangs must be convergent.
The name linsang is from Javanese linsang or wlinsang, which used to be wrongly translated as "otter" in English dictionaries. Linsangs are nocturnal, generally solitary tree dwellers. They are carnivorous, eating squirrels and other rodents, small birds, lizards and insects. Typical size is a little over 30 cm (1 foot), with a tail that more than doubles that length. Bodies are long, with short legs, giving a low appearance. All species have yellowish bodies with black markings (stripes, blotches and spots), though the distribution and nature of the markings varies between species.
The species of Asiatic linsang are:
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