The amazingly agile Margay (Leopardus wiedii) occupies the dense forests of Latin America. Due to their flexible joints and long tail the Margay navigates the tree tops almost like a monkey. Similar in markings to the Ocelot, the Margay was once heavily exploited for the fur trade, but more recently deforestation of its primary habitat has become the biggest threat to this cat's survival.
Key Facts about Margays
~ Aboreal cat of Latin American forests ~
~ Hind feet can rotate 180° ~
~ Slow reproductive rate ~
Margay (Leopardus wiedii) Classification
The Margay belongs to the genus Leopardus and the full taxonomy, scientific classification or higher classification of the Margay species (Leopardus wiedii) 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: Leopardus wiedii (Margay)
Margay (Leopardus wiedii) Subspecies (lower classification)
Eleven subspecies of Margays have been described in the past:
- Leopardus wiedii wiedii - south Brazil, south Colombia
- Leopardus wiedii amazonicus - Amazonas Brazil
- Leopardus wiedii boliviae - Bolivia, north Argentina
- Leopardus wiedii pirrensis - Panama
- Leopardus wiedii vigens - lower Amazon Brazil, Guianas
- Leopardus wiedii glauculus - Mexico
- Leopardus wiedii nicaraguae - Nicaragua
- Leopardus wiedii oaxacensis - Oaxaca mountains Mexico
- Leopardus wiedii salvinia - Guatemala, Belize
- Leopardus wiedii yucatanicus - Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
- Leopardus wiedii cooperi - Texas USA, north-east Mexico
However the current Felidae taxonomy revision based on recent genetic studies proposes three subspecies pending further research:
- Leopardus wiedii wiedii - South America south of the Amazon
- Leopardus wiedii vigens - South America north of the Amazon
- Leopardus wiedii glauculus - Central America
Margay Conservation & Research
The global conservation status for the Margay is Near Threatened (NT) and populations are declining.
The following organizations are dedicated to research and conservation of the smaller cats of Latin America:
Please support these organizations with their important work. No matter how small or large your donation, every bit helps!
Margay Facts and Information
The following websites have well researched and authoritative information on Margays:
- Margay Fact Sheet - International Soc. for Endangered Cats (ISEC)
- Margay Images and Video Clips in the Wild - ARKive
Books on Neotropical Cats
Currently there is no publication in print dedicated to just the cats of Central and South America.
A book entitled Neotropical Cats by TG de Oliviera was published in 1994 however is no longer in print, and may be available in libraries or in used book stores.
The latest information on these cats can be found in books covering all wild cats such as those shown below.