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Spotting

Description:

Small cat regularly caught in the camera traps at Santa Lucia, Pichincha, Ecuador. Markings are similar to ocelot or margay but the size is more representative of an oncilla. Could it be a hybrid? Regularly seen...

Habitat:

Santa Lucia Cloud Forest Reserve.

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22 Comments

SantaLuciaReserve
SantaLuciaReserve 9 years ago

Got a jaguarundi on the cameras. With the Puma and these 'oncila' we've got three cats at the reserve. Jaguarundi pictures are on the way.

SantaLuciaReserve
SantaLuciaReserve 9 years ago

It would be good. It's something our resident field biologist is looking into at the moment...funding permitting. Wild hybrids would make a wonderful study.

BrandonBlount
BrandonBlount 9 years ago

I would have to agree with the Oncila conclusion. They are a bit smaller, but that maybe a genetic trait found locally in and around the reserve. The ears, and markings along with the size comparison to the others seems to give them away.

Here is a link I found, not a ton of information however the picture gives a clear example. http://www.agarman.dial.pipex.com/tigcat... :-D I would be interested to see if there has been any research on hybrids in the wild... I have been looking and do not see anything posted. Would make another neat side bar at some point if it could be proven.

SantaLuciaReserve
SantaLuciaReserve 9 years ago

Ha! Yes, you're probably right! These are just a selection though. We get shots every week, these were just the first ones on file, but yes, you rumbled us; the date-stamps kind of give the game away...

Ashish Nimkar
Ashish Nimkar 9 years ago

Need to edit to spotting date as September 16th..right... when you took first pictures...!!

SantaLuciaReserve
SantaLuciaReserve 9 years ago

Well, Matt's looking into it and sharing the photos with a couple of reserves nearby. We'll get back to you...

Hema
Hema 9 years ago

True. The above are mostly examples of hybrids born in captivity.

SantaLuciaReserve
SantaLuciaReserve 9 years ago

Emma! Very interesting to read that link. It's unlikely, but possible. Good to know.

SantaLuciaReserve
SantaLuciaReserve 9 years ago

A Marlot? That very interesting and would explain why we've been having trouble. We're hoping to extend our current camera trapping to include more arboreal cameras. If we could catch one up a tree...

SantaLuciaReserve
SantaLuciaReserve 9 years ago

These cats are a bit smaller than an ocelot. But we're not ruling anything out! It's a nice mystery. Thanks for the help though-we really do follow it up!

Hema
Hema 9 years ago

http://www.messybeast.com/genetics/hyb-o...
Here is another link about hybrids between the 3 cats.
Hybrids have such a variation that they cannot be distuinguished from visible patterns .
But looking at the image in this link , My best guess is that this is a "Marlot"

SantaLuciaReserve
SantaLuciaReserve 9 years ago

Good Stuff Emma. We'll definately take a look at that. So a hybrid IS a possibilty....

Sergio Monteiro
Sergio Monteiro 9 years ago

I just discovered that I made a big mistake: What we call in Brazil Jaguatirica is, actually, the ocelote. Oncilla is called, here, gato-do-mato (wildcat). This is amaller the ocelote, and has a defferent patern colour. So I change my guess to ocelote, but I am still puzzled by their apparent youngness.

Hema
Hema 9 years ago

The Marlot is a hybrid between a male Margay and female ocelot (Leopardus pardalis). In May 1977, the Long Island Ocelot Club (LIOC) announced the birth of a marlot bred by Barbara Brocks using captive-bred parents. There was no description of the marlot, but the parent species both have a rosetted or marbled pattern on a sandy background.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Felid_hybri...
This link has various combinations and Hybrids.
Hope this helps.
Great spotting!

Sergio Monteiro
Sergio Monteiro 9 years ago

The following are the currently recognized subspecies:

Leopardus tigrinus tigrinus, eastern Venezuela, Guyana, northeastern Brazil

Leopardus tigrinus guttulus, central and southern Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, northern Argentina

Leopardus tigrinus oncilla, Central America

Leopardus tigrinus pardinoides, western Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador

(From Wikipedia)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oncilla

SantaLuciaReserve
SantaLuciaReserve 9 years ago

I've just put a shot of one during the day. Not a great shot but might be helpful?

SantaLuciaReserve
SantaLuciaReserve 9 years ago

We've got pictures of them all year round, always the same size, always with the same markings. I'll pop another couple of shots up...

SantaLuciaReserve
SantaLuciaReserve 9 years ago

Hey there asergio . It's a nice idea, but we keep caputring shots of them all over the reserve, so unless they're all juveniles then they must be something else? The marking always look similar.

Sergio Monteiro
Sergio Monteiro 9 years ago

I think it is a juvenile oncilla (Jaguatirica, in Brazil). Not very young, but still not fully developed.

SantaLuciaReserve
SantaLuciaReserve 9 years ago

Anyone got any other suggestions about our cats?

SantaLuciaReserve
SantaLuciaReserve 9 years ago

Thanks Peter. It's definitely going to be an effort to absolutely identify these cats. We're hoping to eventually be able to identify individuals. We sometimes catch two together if that muddies the water at all...

peter
peter 9 years ago

Ocelots and Oncillas mostly pursue prey on the ground, whereas the Margay may spend most of its life in the trees. The Oncilla is the smallest of the three wildcats and the Margay is the most similar to the Ocelot in appearance. The markings of Margays and Ocelots are very alike whereas the Oncilla has different patterning.

They are definitely similar in behavior in that they are mostly solitary, nocturnal wildcats that have a carnivorous diet. You're right that they are similar in appearance, in fact the Margay is sometimes called a Tree Ocelot. It can be a fun challenge telling them apart.

SantaLuciaReserve
Spotted by
SantaLuciaReserve

Parroquia Nanegal, Pichincha, Ecuador

Spotted on Oct 14, 2011
Submitted on Oct 14, 2011

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