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.
Leopard Cat Lineage
1. Fishing Cat (Prionailurus viverrinus)
2. Mainland Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis)
3. Sunda Leopard Cat (Prionailurus javanensis)
4. Flat-headed Cat (Prionailurus planiceps)
5. Rusty-spotted Cat (Prionailurus rubiginosus)
6. Pallas’s Cat (Otocolobus manul)
Key Facts about Leopard Cats
~ Widespread and common wild cat of Asia ~
~ Readily swims & colonized offshore islands ~
~ Adaptable and tolerant of disturbance ~
Sunda Leopard Cat (Prionailurus javanensis) Classification
The Sunda Leopard Cat belongs to the genus Prionailurus and the full taxonomy or scientific classification of the Sunda Leopard Cat species is:
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)
The scientific name for the Sunda Leopard Cat is Prionailurus javanensis which is also known as the binomial name, species name, latin name, biological name or zoological name. Some use the term 'botanical name' however that term is only applicable to the plant kingdom (botany) and not the animal kingdom (zoology).
This Sunda Leopard Cat classification chart shows where this cat fits into the Felidae family and in particular the Prionailurus genus.
Sunda Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) Subspecies
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 last Felidae taxonomic revision in 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 Conservation & Research
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 (2022).
The following organizations are dedicated to research and conservation of Leopard Cats:
Please support these organizations with their important work if you can. No matter the size of your donation, every bit helps!
Past Projects (links may no longer be active)
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 Status and Distribution Map - IUCN Red List
- Leopard Cat Detailed Information - IUCN Cat Specialist Group
- Leopard Cat Academic Reference List - IUCN Cat Specialist Group
- Leopard Cat Information - Int, Soc. for Endangered Cats (ISEC) and Iriomote Cat
- Leopard Cat Fact Sheet - Wildscreen ARKive
Sunda Leopard Cat Research
For a list of papers on Sunda Leopard Cats view articles on Prionailurus javanensis in the IUCN Cat Specialist Group database. (Scroll down once the library page is loaded to see the list.)
Consider joining the Friends of the Cat Specialist Group to access the full articles and receive their journal Cat News covering the latest wild cat research.