It was recorded by Lynam et al. (2005) in Htuang Pru Reserve Forest and Hukaung Valley Wildlife Sanctuary in Myanmar, and Taphyra National Park in Thailand. In Thailand, the species has been found in several protected areas, and there is a southern record from Bam Nang Nom (Ra Nong Province). This species is a lowland species, with almost all field records from below 300 m (Lyman et al. 2005). In fact, Lyman et al. (2005) report that they "are not aware of any site in non-Sundaic Southeast Asia lying predominantly under 300 m, supporting 500+ sq. km of (semi-) evergree forest, and having received heavy camera trapping or spotlighting effort, that has not recorded the species." A freshly-killed (by hunters) specimen was reported from Ban Thalang (Thalang village; formerly Ban Namtheun; 1751'N, 10503'E, ca. 520 m) on the Nakai Plateau of central Lao PDR PDR, significantly higher in altitude than other recent records of this species, and this level area also hold population of plains birds at anomalously high altitude (Khounboline 2005). The species is potentially more widespread in Myanmar, as there have been few surveys below 300 m using appropriate techniques (Than Zaw et al. in press). There are only five confirmed records from Viet Nam, with the furthest north being Phong Nha NP (Roberton et al. In prep). If the species was once present further north in Viet Nam, it is doubtful that any significant populations could still survive (Timmins and Roberton pers. comm.2006). The lack of records in Viet Nam seems to reflect a genuine scarcity in the species and not a lack of appropriate surveys. There are no recent records from China, with the last record from 1998 (Wang Ying-xiang pers. comm.2006).
The species is potentially more widespread in Lao PDR, as there have been few surveys below 300 m using appropriate techniques (Duckworth pers comm. 2006). The records from Xe Pian National Protected area suggest that its reasonably common in level lowland forest (Austin 1999). It is probably rare on the Nakai Plateau of central Lao PDR PDR (Khounboline 2005).
In Cambodia, there are three records from camera traps in the southwest. The species has been commonly photo-trapped in several sites in northern and eastern Cambodia (CI, WCS, WWF, unpublished per J. Walstone pers. comm.). Albeit considered widely distributed geographically in Peninsular Malaysia, it was considered rare (Medway 1977). There are no recent records from the area. The species is likely to be very localized on Peninsular Malaysia, as there has been appropriate surveys at low altitudes without results (Azlan pers comm. 2006).
Habitat and Ecology
In China, the species is found below 800 m, although the exact habitat is unknown. In Myanmar, there are records from evergreen forest, including forest-grassland edges at 300 m, and there is no information on whether the species is found in some of the dry lowland forests in Myanmar which are the more prevelant habitat within the species' known elevational range (Than Zaw et al. in press). In Lao PDR, the species occurs in lowland evergreen/semi-evergreen forest (including degraded areas) with one in open dry dipterocarp forest, all below 300 m altitude (Duckworth et al, 1999), with one outlier at 520 m (Khounboline 2005). In Thailand, it is found in deciduous forest and dry evergreen forest (Kanchanasaka pers. comm.2006). Within northern and eastern Cambodia, the species is found in mosaic deciduous forest, along with semi-evergreen patches and riverine gallery forest (WCS, WWF, CI pers. comm.2006).
Lyman et al (2005) report three records of this species from evergreen forest, the predominant habitat of other recent records, though some have come from deciduous dipterocarp forest (Duckworth, 1994; Austin, 1999). The species is not dependent on primary forest, and can probably persist in degraded forest that has forest structure (Duckworth, 1994). New information from Cambodia and elsewhere suggests that it can live in fragmented areas, but that it might only persist in large forest blocks (Timmins and Duckworth pers. comm.), as was previously suggested by Lynam et al (2005).
This species can potentially be misidentified as either Viverra zibetha or Viverra tangalunga and it is important that wherever possible records are verified through photographs (J.W. Duckworth pers. comm.2006).
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
- 1996Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
Little over a decade later, a global review of all species of Viverridae found that there was very little known about this species, and traced no records from protected areas, and urged for surveys to assess its current status (Schreiber et al 1989). This disparity is probably due to heavy logging of lowland forest in the interim, and indicates an actual decline and fragmentation in population (Lynam et al, 2005). There are few recent records from Viet Nam (R. J. Timmins in litt, 2004). It has been found at several sites in Cambodia (J. L. Walston in litt, 2004).
Pocock described the large-spotted civet as varying in colour from silvery-grey to golden-buff or tawny with a black to brown pattern and large or comparatively small spots, which are separated or sometimes fusing into blotches or into vertical stripes behind the shoulders. White bands on the tail are mostly restricted to the sides and lower surface but very seldom form complete rings. Adults measure 30–30.5 in (76–77 cm) in head and body with a 13–15.5 in (33–39 cm) long tail. Its weight ranges from 14.5–18.5 lb (6.6–8.4 kg).
Distribution and habitat
Large-spotted civets are found in Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and China. In China, the last sighting occurred in 1998. They inhabit evergreen, deciduous, and dry dipterocarp forests below altitudes of 300 m (980 ft). In Thailand, they occur in several protected areas as far south as the Ranong Province.
Ecology and behaviour
The large-spotted civet is threatened due to habitat degradation, habitat loss, and hunting with snares and dogs. The population is thought to steadily decline throughout the range countries, and in China and Vietnam in particular may have been reduced significantly. In Chinese and Vietnamese markets, it is in demand as food.
- Duckworth, J. W., Timmins, R. J., Olsson, A., Roberton, S., Kanchanasaka, B., Than Zaw, Jennings, A. and Veron, G. (2008). "Viverra megaspila". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature.
- Pocock, R. I. (1939). The fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Mammalia. – Volume 1. Taylor and Francis, London.
- Lynam, A. J., Maung, M., Po, S. H. T. and Duckworth, J. W. (2005). Recent records of Large-spotted Civet Viverra megaspila from Thailand and Myanmar. Small Carnivore Conservation 32: 8–11.
- Carruthers, L. "Large-Spotted Civet". The Animal Files. Retrieved 8 March 2014.
- Bell, D., Roberton, S. and Hunter, P. R. (2004). Animal origins of SARS coronavirus: possible links with the international trade in small carnivores. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B, Biological Sciences 359: 1107–1114.
- Ellerman, J. R. and Morrison-Scott, T. C. S. (1966). Checklist of Palaearctic and Indian Mammals 1758 to 1946. Second edition. British Museum of Natural History, London.
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