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Olinguito: A New Carnivore, Hidden in Trees

Top 10 New Species of 2014

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    Olinguito at Tandayapa Bird Lodge, Ecuador
    Photo by Mark Gurney / CC BY 3.0

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    Olinguito at Tandayapa Bird Lodge, Ecuador
    Photo by Mark Gurney / CC BY 3.0

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    Olinguito at Tandayapa Bird Lodge, Ecuador
    Photo by Mark Gurney / CC BY 3.0

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Olinguito: A New Carnivore, Hidden in Trees

Top 10 New Species of 2014

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About the Olinguito

Name: Bassaricyon neblina

Kingdom: Animalia

Family: Procyonidae

How it made the Top 10: The appealing olinguito, resembling a cross between a slinky cat and a wide-eyed teddy bear, lives secretively in cloud forests of the Andes mountains in Colombia and Ecuador. It is an arboreal carnivore that belongs to the family Procyonidae, which includes the familiar raccoon. The olinguito is smaller, though, typically topping out at about two kilograms (approximately 4.5 pounds). It is the first new carnivorous mammal described in the Western Hemisphere in 35 years. Its apparent dependence on cloud forest habitat means deforestation is a threat.

Etymology: The specific epithet neblina, which is Spanish for fog or mist, a noun in apposition, references the cloud forest habitat of the olinguito.

Type material: Holotype at the American Museum of Natural History, New York

Type locality: Las Máquinas, Pichincha Province, Ecuador

Reference: Helgen KM, Pinto CM, Kays R, Helgen LE, Tsuchiya MTN, Quinn A, Wilson DE, Maldonado JE. 2013. Taxonomic revision of the olingos (Bassaricyon), with description of a new species, the Olinguito. ZooKeys 324: 1–83.

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