Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cryptic new species of wild cat identified in Brazil

Date:
November 27, 2013
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
Biologists have identified a cryptic new species of wild cat living in Brazil. The discovery is a reminder of just how little scientists still know about the natural world, even when it comes to such charismatic creatures. The findings also have important conservation implications for the cats, the researchers say.

Researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on November 27 have identified a cryptic new species of wild cat living in Brazil. The discovery is a reminder of just how little scientists still know about the natural world, even when it comes to such charismatic creatures. The findings also have important conservation implications for the cats, the researchers say.

Scientists had thought that there was a single species of housecat-sized Brazilian tigrina. However, the molecular data now show that tigrina populations in northeastern versus southern Brazil are completely separate, with no evidence of interbreeding between them. As such, they are best described as two distinct species.

"Our study highlights the need for urgent attention focused on the Brazilian northeastern tigrinas, which are virtually unknown with respect to most aspects of their biology," says Eduardo Eizirik of Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil, noting that much more is known about the cats living in the southern part of the country.

The new study by Eizirik, Tatiane Trigo of Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, and their colleagues further revealed a complicated set of relationships between the tigrinas and two other species of Neotropical cats. That evolutionary history includes ancient hybridization and movement of genes between the pampas cat and the northeastern tigrinas (Leopardus tigrinus). In contrast, southern tigrinas (newly recognized as Leopardus guttulus) continue to hybridize with Geoffroy's cats, leading to extreme levels of interbreeding between the species along their contact zone. Those patterns add to evidence that hybridization can and does occur between distinct animal species.

As for the two tigrina species, the researchers suggest that they may be suited to different habitats, with the northeastern cats living primarily in savannahs, as well as dry shrub lands and forests, and the southern species living in denser and wetter Atlantic forests.

"Such distinct habitat associations provide a hint to potentially adaptive differences between these newly recognized species and may have been involved in their initial evolutionary divergence," Trigo says. Moreover, Eizirik adds, "all four species are threatened, and we need to understand as much as possible regarding their genetics, ecology, and evolution to be able to design adequate conservation strategies on their behalf."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cell Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Tatiane C. Trigo, Alexsandra Schneider, Tadeu G. de Oliveira, Livia M. Lehugeur, Leandro Silveira, Thales R.O. Freitas, Eduardo Eizirik. Molecular Data Reveal Complex Hybridization and a Cryptic Species of Neotropical Wild Cat. Current Biology, 2013; DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2013.10.046

Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "Cryptic new species of wild cat identified in Brazil." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131127122411.htm>.
Cell Press. (2013, November 27). Cryptic new species of wild cat identified in Brazil. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131127122411.htm
Cell Press. "Cryptic new species of wild cat identified in Brazil." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131127122411.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — A new study published by the World Wide Fund for Nature found that more than half of the world's wildlife population has declined since 1970. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dolphins Might Use Earth's Magnetic Field As A GPS

Dolphins Might Use Earth's Magnetic Field As A GPS

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — A study released Monday suggests dolphins might be able to sense the Earth's magnetic field and possibly use it as a means of navigation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How To Battle Stink Bug Season

How To Battle Stink Bug Season

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — Homeowners in 33 states grapple with stink bugs moving indoors at this time of year. Here are a few tips to avoid stink bug infestations. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
California University Designs Sustainable Winery

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) — Amid California's worst drought in decades, scientists at UC Davis design a sustainable winery that includes a water recycling system. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins