The recently described Sunda Leopard Cat (Prionailurus javanensis) occurs on the south-east islands of Asia. Genetic studies have shown that these Leopard Cats are distinct from the Leopard Cats on the mainland (Prionailurus bengalensis). These Leopard Cats are one of the few felids to have colonized and persisted on islands, although habitat destruction is severely threatening some of these populations.
Note: The images on this page may either be the Mainland Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) or the Sunda Leopard Cat (Prionailurus javanensis) under the revised 2017 taxonomy.
Key Facts about Leopard Cats
~ Widespread and common wild cat of Asia ~
~ Readily swims and colonized offshore islands ~
~ Mainland and island species split 2017 ~
Sunda Leopard Cat (Prionailurus javanensis) Classification
The Sunda Leopard Cat belongs to the genus Prionailurus and the full taxonomy, scientific classification or higher classification of the Sunda Leopard Cat species (Prionailurus javanensis) is as follows:
Kingdom: Animalia (animals)
Phylum: Chordata (vertebrates)
Class: Mammalia (mammals)
Order: Carnivora (carnivores)
Suborder: Feliformia (cat-like)
Family: Felidae (cats)
Subfamily: Felinae (small cats)
Species: Prionailurus javanensis (Sunda Leopard Cat)
Sunda Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) Subspecies
The global conservation status for the Leopard Cat is Least Concern (LC) and populations appear to be stable. The conservation status of the Sunda Leopard Cat is yet to be determined (2018).
Up to eleven subspecies of Leopard Cats have been described in the past with the Iriomote Leopard Cat (Japan) as a separate species Prionailurus iriomotensis.
However according to the latest Felidae taxonomic revision (2017), recent genetic studies show that the Iriomote species is in fact similar to the mainland Leopard Cat; yet there is a genetic divide between the mainland species and the island species on Java, Borneo and Sumatra - 'Sundaland'.
The revised taxonomy is proposed as follows pending further research:
Mainland Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) - larger blotches with lighter inner coloration
- Prionailurus bengalensis bengalensis - South Asia from Pakistan to China with possibly the Malay Peninsula.
- Prionailurus bengalensis euptilurus - Manchuria, Russian Far East, Taiwan, Iriomote Island, Tsushima Island.
Sunda Leopard Cat (Prionailurus javanensis) - small solid spots
- Prionailurus javanensis javanensis - Java and Bali
- Prionailurus javanensis sumatranus - Sumatra, Borneo, Philippines
Leopard Cat Facts and Information
The following websites have well researched and authoritative information on Leopard Cats (includes Mainland Leopard Cat and Sunda Leopard Cat):
- Leopard Cat Fact Sheet - International Soc. for Endangered Cats (ISEC) and Iriomote Cat
- Leopard Cat Images and Video Clips in the Wild - ARKive
- Leopard Cat Detailed Information and Leopard Cat Academic Reference List - IUCN Cat Specialist Group