Banded Linsang (Prionodon linsang)



HB: 350-450; T: 310-420; HF: 50-70; E: 25-30; W: 6-7kg.

Has a very long, slim body and tail and very short legs so that when it moves on a branch, it looks more like  snake than a mammal. It differs from the Spotted Linsang P. particolor in having the spots on the back merge together to form five irregular bands across the back; along the sides of the neck and body the spots merge together to form 2 irregular lines. The tail has seven complete black and white rings. There is no mane or erectile crest, and the scent glands are lacking or underdeveloped. The claws are completely sheathed and retractile as the cats, indicating strongly carnivorous habits. As in other Viverrinae, the skill is long and low, but the skull is rather delicate than in Viverra and Viverricula with the sagittal crest low and incomplete.  The post orbital area is slightly constricted. As in other Feloidea the auditory bulla comprises of two bones; in P. linsang the tympanic bone is relatively small, the entotympanic rather large9tympanic bone larger is P. pardicolor.

Range Description:

The species is found in Peninsular Malaysia (Ratnam et al., 1995; Azlan, 2003; Kawanishi and Sunquist, 2004; Laidlaw pers. comm.), southern Myanmar (Than Zaw et al, in press), Borneo (Wells et al., 2005) and Sumatra (Holden, 2006), Southern Thailand, peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, Java, and Borneo, as well as on Bangka and Belitung Islands (Van Rompaey 1993). On Java, it has been suggested to be probably restricted to the mountains in the west (e.g. Mt. Halimun, see Suyanto, 2003), but there are two historical specimens from the Ijang plateau in East Java (held in Museum für Naturkunde, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin), and, given very low levels in recent decades of small carnivore survey in Java (see, e.g., Riffel 1991), the species could still occur on other mountains in Java. On Borneo and Sumatra, it is probably widespread, although it is unclear whether the species occurs in Central Kalimantan swamps (not reported from Sebangau or Tanjung Puting). It was found up to 1100 m on Java by Bartels (1941) . This species was recorded up to 1800 m in Mount Kinabulu National Park in Borneo Payne et al. (1998). It was recorded by Azlan (2003) in Jerangau Forest Reserve (04 55.5 N, 103 05.7 E) in Peninsular Malaysia in 2000-01. In Sumatra, it has been found up to 2,400 m (Holden 2006) in Kerinci Seblat NP.

The most northerly record is at 15° 20'N (Steinmetz and Simcharoen 2006). The record at 17° 54'N (Humphrey and Bain 1990) in Northern-Central Thailand is probably erroneous (Steinmetz and Simcharoen 2006). On the basis of portrayal in picture-guides alone, this species can be readily confused with spotted linsang.
Countries: Native:
Brunei Darussalam; Indonesia (Jawa, Kalimantan, Sumatera); Malaysia (Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah, Sarawak); Myanmar; Thailand


 The population status is poorly known, but various authors have considered this species uncommon or rare (Chasen, 1940; Ellerman and Morrison-Scott, 1961; Davis, 1962; Lim, 1973; Lekagul and McNeely, 1977; Van Rompaey 1993).

In Myanmar, it is known from only two individuals recorded in 1878 by Blanford (Van Rompaey pers. comm.), also from 5 recent records in southern Myanmar (Than Zaw et al. in press); the records included presence at all surveyed sites within its historical range. It is considered rare and localized in Thailand (Chasen, 1940; Ellerman and Morrison-Scott, 1961; Davis, 1962; Lim, 1973; Lekagul and McNeely 1977, Steinmetz and Simcharoen 2006). In Peninsular Malaysia it is widespread at all elevations but is nowhere common (Medway, 1969), two years of camera trapping revealed only a single photo in Taman Negara National Park (Kawanishi and Sunquist 2004), partly because it is small and semi-arboreal, making it difficult to capture on camera. Morphs may be confused with other species (Azlan 2006). On Java, this species is considered rare (or difficult to observe) by Bartels (1941). On Borneo, it is also infrequently recorded (Medway, 1965; Payne et al, 1985). In Sumatra (Holden 2006), it was photo trapped infrequently, but this is not indicative of rarity. In summary, throughout its range, it is widespread, but due to its small size and semi arboreal nature, it has been infrequently recorded, and thus its population status is difficult to assess.
Population Trend: Decreasing

 Habitat and Ecology:

Little is known about the ecology of this species. It has been recorded in primary and secondary forest and occasionally in human inhabited areas (Van Rompaey, 1993; Ratnam et al., 1995; Azlan, 2003; Kawanishi and Sunquist, 2004; Wells et al., 2005). It has been found up to 2,400 m (Bartels, 1941; Payne et al., 1998;. Holden, 2006).

It is nocturnal and generally arboreal, though it does come to the ground in search of food; its diet consists of birds, tree rats, snakes, and any other small animal it can catch (Lekagul and McNeely 1977; Van Rompaey pers. comm.). An analysis of stomach contents by Lim (1973) indicates that this species hunts mostly in disturbed forests and forest edge habitats (Lekagul and McNeely 1977). According to Lim (1973) it may respond favourably to secondary growth and ecotonal habitats. It is found in primary and secondary forest, plus fringe and occasionally human inhabited areas (Van Rompaey pers. comm.). It breeds in February and August, with litters of two young (Nowak, 1999). It has lived up to ten years and eight months in captivity (Jones, 1982). This species was recorded from primary lowland rainforest in Mount Kinabulu National Park by Wells et al (2005). It was recorded in disturbed habitat in Malaysia by Ratnam et al (1995).

In northeastern Peninsular Malaysia and in Sarawak, it is found in secondary forest, including forest adjacent to palm plantations (Azlan pers. comm.).
Systems: Terrestrial

 Major Threat(s):

Habitat loss and degradation were assessed as a threat to this species (Schreiber et al., 1989), and deforestation has been said to be a threat to this species in Thailand (Van Rompaey 1993), however, little is known on its tolerance to disturbance. In Borneo, the overall density of civets (including the banded linsang) in logged forests was found to be significantly lower than in primary forests (Heydon and Bulloh, 1996). Various observers have found the species in edge and degraded habitats, both historically and recently, with Lim (1973) even speculating that it benefits from secondary growth and ecotonal areas. This makes it difficult to infer a population trend based around the recent and ongoing rapid forest degradation over much of its range. Old-growth forest has been cleared very rapidly throughout the lowland Sundaic region in the last 20 years (e.g. Birdlife International, 2001; Holmes, 2000; Jepson et al. 2001; McMorrow and Talip, 2001; Lambert and Collar, 2002; Curran et al. 2004; Fuller, 2004; Eames et al. 2005, Aratrakorn et al. 2006; Kinnaird et al. 2003) but this has primarily been in the lower altitudes; this species' wide altitudinal range means that significant proportion of the population is outside these areas of very rapid clearance. Also in Thailand, live animals have been traded in the past, as seven were reported by CITES in 1980 (from Thailand to USA) (Van Rompaey 1993), in the last decade, however, there has been no commercial trade reported through CITES.

 Conservation Actions:

It is listed on CITES Appendix II. In Thailand, the Wild Animals Preservation Protection Act (WAPPA, 1992) protects this species from hunting and regulates trade (Van Rompaey, 1993). In Peninsular Malaysia and in Sabah it receives full protection, but in Sarawak it is only partially protected (Aslan pers. comm.). It is a totally protected species in Myanmar (WPA 1994). This species has been recorded in some protected areas (Ratnam et al., 1995; Azlan, 2003; Wells et al., 2005; Azlan and Engkamat, 2006). Field surveys, ecological studies and monitoring of threats are needed. This species was recorded from Mount Kinabulu National Park in Borneo in 2003-04 (Wells et al. 2005). It was also recorded from Temengor Forest Reserve in Malaysia by Ratnam et al. (1995). This species has also been recorded in Lambir Hill National Park in Sarawak (Azlan and Engkaamat, 2006). It was recorded from Jerangau Forest Reserve in Peninsular Malaysia in 2000-01 (Azlan, 2003).