Hose's civets (Diplogale hosei) are native to Borneo. They have primarily been observed in the northwestern hills and mountains of the island in Brunei and Malaysia, in addition to sightings 500 km to the southwest in Indonesia.
Biogeographic Regions: oriental (Native )
Other Geographic Terms: island endemic
Hose's civets are blackish-brown, with a long body and short legs. Its underparts are greyish or yellowish-white. It has long whiskers (over 15 cm long) and semi-webbed paws that have patches of short hair between the pads of their foot; both of these have been suggested as adaptations for foraging along stream and riverbanks and other moist areas. Its nose is very distinctive: the rhinarium is a contrasting color to the rest of the animal, and the protruding nostrils open at the sides of the nose. The tail is very long: while the head-body length is around 50 cm, the tail is often 30 cm or more in length. While variations in color have been noted, it is not known whether this is due to geographical or individual variations.
Range mass: 1.4 to 1.5 kg.
Range length: 76 to 89 cm.
Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry
Sexual Dimorphism: sexes alike
Hose's civets are believed to primarily inhabit montane forests between 450 and 1500 m above sea level, with an additional sighting at 287 m. They are mainly a terrestrial species that forages along mossy stream banks, although some specimens have been collected from the forest canopy. The forests they inhabit are mostly mature mixed dipterocarp, but some sightings have been in recently logged areas, possibly indicating that they have some level of resilience to human activity.
Range elevation: 287 to 1800 m.
Habitat Regions: tropical ; terrestrial
Terrestrial Biomes: rainforest
Habitat and Ecology
Due to the few recorded sightings of this species in the wild, each in different forest types and elevations, the habitat preference and ecology of this species is difficult to characterize and remains largely unknown. Although it was formerly assumed to be strictly montane (e.g. Payne et al. 1985), several recent sightings suggest this species is wide-ranging in terms of elevation (Francis 2002, Van Rompaey and Azlan 2004, Azlan pers. comm.).This species has been recorded from primary lowland rainforest, montane forests, mature mixed dipterocarp forest hilltop and montane broadleaf forest (Payne et al, 1985; Dinets, 2003; Van Rompaey and Azlan, 2004; Yasuma, 2004; Wells et al., 2005).
No definite information about the diet of Hose's civets in the wild is known. The single individual that has been held in captivity ate mostly small fish, as well as chicken and lunchmeat, but refused fruit, rice, and fish that were too large to eat in a single bite or that had large scales or spines. This, along with their likely adaptations for foraging around streams, seems to indicate that fish make up most of their diet, along with other meat. Fruit and other plant matter probably only contributes significantly to their diet when fish or other meat is unavailable. The individual in captivity ate about 100 g of food daily, leaving any excess.
Animal Foods: birds; fish; aquatic crustaceans
Primary Diet: carnivore (Eats terrestrial vertebrates, Piscivore )
Very little information exists about the ecosystem roles of Hose's civets. As it seems to live in extremely low densities, it is unlikely that it plays a major role in ecosystem dynamics, or that it is the principal predator, prey, or host of any particular species. As it doesn't seem to eat fruit, it is unlikely that it acts as a seed disperser.
redators of Hose's civets have not been identified.
Anti-predator Adaptations: cryptic
Life History and Behavior
Like other members of the civets, genets, linsangs, and relatives family, Hose's civets have glands for scent-marking; how extensively they use them, however, is unknown. Vocalizations have not been mentioned in any reported live observations.
Communication Channels: visual ; chemical
Other Communication Modes: scent marks
Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; chemical
As the only individual held in captivity was released after 2 and a half months, the lifespan of Hose's civets in captivity or the wild is not known.
The mating system of Hose's civets is not known due to the elusive nature of the species and the lack of individuals in captivity.
Nothing is known about the reproductive behavior of Hose's civets. Other members of the civets and relative family generally give birth to two litters a year; the closely related banded palm civets are believed to usually give birth to 1 to 2 young, which are born altricial and require an extensive period of time to weaning.
Breeding interval: The breeding interval for Hose's civets is unknown.
Breeding season: The breeding season for Hose's civets is unknown.
Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; viviparous
The parental investment of Hose's civets is not known. The closely related banded palm civet gives birth to altricial young that nurse for around 70 days. Even for that somewhat more understood species, little is known about male parental investment.
As they are very elusive animals, the exact status of Hose's civets is uncertain. It is likely, however, that they have been adversely impacted by human activity such as logging throughout their range. Low population densities could make them vulnerable to the region-wide habitat loss and degradation associated with logging and development. Because of this, the IUCN has listed them as Vulnerable. In Sarawak, Malaysia, they are listed as protected.
US Federal List: no special status
CITES: no special status
State of Michigan List: no special status
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
- 1994Indeterminate(Groombridge 1994)
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
Just as there are no known direct economic benefits to humans provided by Hose's civets, there are also no known adverse impacts. It is unlikely that they are an important reservoir of diseases that affect humans, due to their low density and range being limited mostly unpopulated areas.
There are no known direct economic benefits of Hose's civets, as they are almost unknown to humans and live in an unpopulated area. Other members of the civets, genets, linsangs, and relatives family are hunted or farmed for the secretions of their scent glands, which is a valuable substance in the making of perfumes; however, no record of harvesting Hose's civets for this purpose exists.
Hose's palm civet
Hose's palm civet (Diplogale hosei), also known as Hose's civet, is a civet species endemic to the island of Borneo. It is listed on the IUCN Red List as Vulnerable because of an ongoing population decline, estimated to be more than 30% over the last three generations (inferred to be 15 years) and suspected to be more than 30% in the next three generations due to declines in population inferred from habitat destruction and degradation.
What little is known of the species comes primarily from 17 museum specimens worldwide. Only in 1997, the first living specimen was obtained and released after 2 months – there remains no Hose’s civet in captivity anywhere in the world.
The upperparts (from nose to tail tip, including outer surfaces of the four limbs) are dark brown to blackish brown and the underparts (from the chin to the tip of the tail and the inner surface of all four limbs) are white or slightly brownish white. The face has dark rings around the eyes and very long, white facial whiskers (sensory hairs) and the large, wet snout (rhinarium) has a contrasting flesh colour. The two nostrils protrude widely, diverging to open on both sides. The under surfaces of the feet are pale (flesh coloured) and the footpads are brown. The feet are partly webbed, with patches of short hair between the footpads.
The Hose’s civet has a head-body length of 472–540 millimetres (18.6–21.3 in), a tail of 298–346 millimetres (11.7–13.6 in), a hind foot length of 74–81 millimetres (2.9–3.2 in) and an ear length of 36–39 millimetres (1.4–1.5 in); it is estimated to weigh about 1.4–1.5 kilograms (3.1–3.3 lb) and has 40 teeth.
Distribution and habitat
A few recent sightings exist, including a capture in Brunei (which was subsequently released) and a photo taken by a camera trap in lowland forest of Kinabalu National Park in Sabah. Another camera trap picture taken in Kalimantan may represent this species, but has been the subject of controversy.
The highest encounter rate of the species so far has been in the Sela’an-Linau Forest Management Unit (FMU), a logging concession in the Upper Baram, Sarawak, where fourteen images of the Hose's civet were obtained between 2004 and 2005 from four different sites in the concession. The previous largest series of encounters from one locality consisted of four specimens collected between 1945 and 1949 by Tom Harrisson in the nearby Kelabit Highlands, suggesting that this part of Sarawak may be the prime habitat of the species.
The few records of Hose’s civet from across its range have been mainly from montane forest sites, giving rise to the assumption that it is a montane species. However, it has been reported from an altitude of only 450m in Brunei and 600 metres (2,000 ft) in Batu Song, Sarawak; an individual was camera trapped in the lowland forest of Mount Kinabalu National Park, Sabah, also at an altitude of only 600 metres (2,000 ft), and one of the 14 images from the Sela’an-Linau FMU was from an altitude of 730 metres (2,400 ft).
Ecology and behaviour
The Hose’s civet is both crepuscular and nocturnal by nature and is thought to be of a more ground dwelling nature than other palm civets. It is thought to make dens in holes between rocks and/or tree roots.
Little is known about the diet of Hose’s civet in the wild, though it is thought to forage on small fish, shrimps, crabs, frogs and insects among mossy boulders and streams. The sole individual ever in captivity ate only meat and fish and not fruit, the preferred diet of all other civets in Borneo.
Habitat loss and degradation have been assumed to be major threats to this species. Hose’s civet may be intolerant to disturbance caused by logging, though whether it is able to persist and/or disperse through forest fragmented by slash and burn fields and logging roads is still unknown. Hunting could increasingly be a threat to the species as population numbers and trends are completely unknown. It is possible that the species could qualify for a higher threat category once more information is available on its ecology and threats. It is considered urgent to promote and conduct further research on this species.
Currently, the basic factors likely to determine the long-term future of the Hose’s civet, such as population densities, degree of dependency on old-growth forest, ranging and dispersal patterns and others, are entirely unknown, making specific conservation measures impossible. No protected area within its range is known to hold a large population, although in Brunei and Sabah, individuals have been recorded in Ulu Temburong National Park and Mount Kinabalu National Park, respectively. In Sarawak, no protected area is known to hold a population of the species. a listing which is completely inferential, based on its highly restricted range and extensive habitat loss (deforestation) and degradation within that range due to logging and conversion to non-forest land uses.
The Hose's civet is similar to the banded palm civet (Hemigalus derbyanus). Hose’s civet was first described as Hemigalus hosei in 1892 by Oldfield Thomas and it was only in 1912 that he found that the difference in shape of muzzle and teeth, as well as the obvious difference in the pattern of colouration, implied the necessity of distinguishing Diplogale from Hemigalus. Like the Hose’s civet, the banded palm civet is strictly nocturnal and more ground dwelling; the distribution of Hose’s civet, however, is much more restricted and more confined to higher altitude forest.
The large snout and long facial whiskers of Hose’s civet is similar to that of the otter civet (Cynogale bennettii). The otter civet is known to be semi-aquatic and has webbed feet; it occurs mainly in lowland rain forest.
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