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There are two species in the family Prionodontidae, the Banded Linsang (Prionodon linsang) and the Spotted Linsang (P. pardicolor). At one time the linsangs were believed to belong to the cat family, Felidae, based on their dentition and other morphological features, such as the presence of deeply grooved pads and fully retractile (sheathed) claws. The linsangs have also been treated as a subfamily (Prionodontinae) within the family Viverridae, at least in part due to their similarity to the African viverrids known as oyans (Poiana leightoni and P. richardsonii), which share the linsangs' hypercarnivorous diet, substantial arboreality, spotted coat pattern, and association with tropical forests. Recent molecular phylogenetic studies, however, support the treatment of the linsangs as a distinct family that is the sister group to the extant felids (Gaubert and Veron 2003; Gaubert 2009; Eizirik et al. 2010).

Linsangs are found in moist and evergreen forest across much of Southeast Asia, including montane forests up to 2700 meters. They can also be found in patchworks of natural forest and cultivated areas. Their diet is known to include rodents, frogs, lizards, snakes, small birds, cockroaches, and even carrion. At least in captivity, they reportedly reject fruit.  Maximum longevity in captivity is nearly 11 years. They are secretive, largely nocturnal, and at least somewhat arboreal and thus do not frequently encounter humans, although they are sometimes hunted for their fur and are threatened by deforestation. Both linsang species appear to be widely distributed but generally uncommon.

(Gaubert 2009 and references therein)


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