Miombo Genets (Genetta angolensis) of Angola, Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe

by DerdriuMarriner

Miombo genets are not native just to Angola. They do not just have spotted bodies and striped tails. They may be all-black and roam Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia.

The term melanism acknowledges internal biochemistries which produce only black when other pigments typically are expected to contribute to ultimately dark and light colorations.
• African and Eurasian genets are examples of animals susceptible to melanism.
• For instance, miombo genets usually communicate dark-spotted lightness of body and dark and light-ringed fullness of tail.

Scientists deem as nature's warning of stench and unpalatability this unusual mix of spots and stripes on one diminutive, elongated, feline-like, graceful body.
• All miombo genets do have double-duty, dual-paired anal and perineal scent glands.
• The ever-musky body odor indeed intimidates predatory mammals, raptors, and reptiles.
• It is present in both melanistic and spotted-and-striped miombo genets.
• It is absent from prepared flesh and skinned pelts.

 

Common names are popular designations for animals and plants. For miombo genets, they bespeak origins in:

  • English, with Angolan genet and miombo genet;
  • French, with genette d’Angola and genette du miombo;
  • Portuguese, with geneta de Angola and geneta do miombo;
  • Spanish, with jineta de Angola and jineta de miombo.

They communicate three points.

  • Genet comes from the Arabic word jarnait for a domesticable, fleet, intelligent wild animal.
  • Angola includes Calcuimba -- modern-day Caconda, Huila province -- retrieval site of the first specimen-collecting by Lisbon-born explorer and naturalist José Alberto de Oliveira Anchieta (October 9, 1832 – September 14, 1897).
  • Miombo is Swahili for Brachystegia trees, Fabaceae (bean, legume, pea) family members and favorite wildlife associations for Angolan genets.

 

José Anchieta's laboratory in Caconda, northern Huíla province, southwestern Angola:

Specimen of Angolan Genet described by J.V. Barboza du Bocage was collected by José Anchieta.
Serpa Pinto, Comment j'ai traversé l'Afrique (1881), p. 97:  "l'intérieur de la demeure d'Anchieta"
Serpa Pinto, Comment j'ai traversé l'Afrique (1881), p. 97: "l'intérieur de la demeure d'Anchieta"

 

Latin, scientific, and taxonomic names are the specialist’s designations for animals and plants. Scientists consider Genetta angolensis the current binomial (“two-name”) identification for Angolan miombo genets. They defer to the first-known European description -- in 1882 – by José Vicente Barbosa du Bocage (May 2, 1823 – November 3, 1907), as:

  • Funchal, Madeira-born islander 1,200 miles (2,000 kilometers) off Morocco’s northwest African coastlines;
  • University of Coimbra-trained physician, 1839 – 1846;
  • Lisbon Polytechnic School zoology chair, 1851 – 1880, and Natural History Museum scientific director and zoology curator, 1858 - 1883;
  • Taxonomic publisher regarding 200+ amphibians, birds, fishes, mammals, and reptiles, 1854-;
  • Zoological Society of London foreign member-elect, 1863-;
  • Sciences Academy of Lisbonvice president, 1875;
  • Lisbon Geographic Society president, 1877 – 1883. 

 

portrait of José Vicente Barbosa du Bocage:

Portugal's politician and zoologist, who was born in Madeiran Archipelago (280 nautical miles [520 km] west of Morocco), described Angolan Genet.
Balthazar Osorio, Memorias do Museu Bocage (1909), frontispiece
Balthazar Osorio, Memorias do Museu Bocage (1909), frontispiece

 

Specialists still consult José Vicente’s 1862-published instructions on collecting and preparing zoological specimens. The expertise inherent in serving as pioneer taxidermist, taxonomist, and writer explains José Vicente’s skills at describing and identifying specimens for scientific peers and subsequent generations. For example, all Angolan miombo genets do not call Angola home, and not all Angola-residing genets get called Angolan miombo genets. Angolan specimens may be any of three genets:

  • Angolan miombo;
  • Common European small-spotted (Genetta genetta);
  • Rusty-spotted panther (Genetta maculata).

 

Panther Genet (Genetta maculata), also known as Rusty-Spotted Panther, which ranges across central and southern Africa, is found in all six central African countries of Angolan Genet's nativity.

Shimba Hills National Reserve, southeastern Kenya
Shimba Hills National Reserve, southeastern Kenya

 

The bio-geographies of Angolan and common European small-spotted genets overlap definitely in Angola and possibly in Tanzania and Zambia. Rusty-spotted panther genets share the Angolan miombo genet’s entire bio-geographical range in:

  • Angola;
  • Congo;
  • Malawi;
  • Mozambique;
  • Tanzania;
  • Zambia;
  • Zimbabwe.

 

Common European Small-Spotted Genet (Genetta genetta) overlaps with Angolan Genet in Angola and Tanzania.

parc animalier des Pyrénées, Argelès-Gazost, Hautes-Pyrénées, France
parc animalier des Pyrénées, Argelès-Gazost, Hautes-Pyrénées, France

 

Angolan miombo genets are recognizable by:

  • Alert, large, triangle-shaped ears;
  • Big, dark-adapted, rounded, white-ringed eyes;
  • Black-and-white upper lip;
  • Black-furred, pointed muzzle;
  • Black-striped forehead;
  • Dark grey face;
  • White chin;
  • White-ringed mouth.

The dark to red-grey, densely-furred, sinewy body has:

  • Black or grey-black soles, furry around all digital, plantar, and rear-metatarsal pads;
  • Black spinal stripe involving 2-inch-long (5.08-centimeter) hair capable of standing upright and running from skull to tail base;
  • Pale grey, usually unspotted undersides;
  • Small dark spots forming 5 side-straddling rows, with the upper 2 each creating longitudinal striping and the lower 3 scattered down through all four short limbs.

The tail is long and thick, with:

  • All-dark undersides;
  • 8+ dark rings alternating with light bands;
  • Usually pale-tipped.

 

Feliform Evolutionary Timeline:

Genetta's family, Viverridae, descends directly from Miacoidea superfamily.
SVG conversion by Phlegmatic (original raster image by Neill Ziemer)
SVG conversion by Phlegmatic (original raster image by Neill Ziemer)

 

Fossilized bones do not indicate how Angolan miombo genet coloring and patterning handle environmental factors and genetic modifications over time. They do indicate that dental and skeletal configurations generally mirror those of:

  • The oldest known genet fossils from 2,558,000 – 5,332,000 years ago;

  • The possible ancestor of all carnivores, the civet- and marten-like, plush-tailed, svelte-bodied miacids of 33,000,000 – 62,000,000 years ago.

Angolan miombo genets therefore exhibit:

  • Archable spine;

  • Delicate rib cage;

  • Dentition (arrangement, kind, and number of teeth) of 12 incisors, 4 canines, 16 premolars, and 8 molars equally distributed between the lower and upper jaws;

  • Elongated neck, skull, and tail;

  • 5 digits per paw;

  • 1 curved, retractable, sharp, short claw per digit;

  • Reversible ankles.

 

Angolan Genet, also known as Miombo Genet

Genetta angolensis
Genetta angolensis

 

The body colors and bone structures of Angolan miombo genets respectively are meant for clever camouflage and fast movements. Angolan miombo genets optimally blend form and function by:

  • Traversing spaces whose entry and exit are no wider than the size of their heads;
  • Welcoming life cycles and natural histories involving ample nocturnal exercise and healthy omnivorous diets.

They therefore display lean, sinewy bodies and muscled, slender limbs. For example, physical and sexual maturity involves as typical adult dimensions:

  • Ear lengths: 1.85 – 2.28 inches (47 – 58 millimeters);
  • Head-and-body lengths: 17.32 – 18.89 inches (44 – 48 centimeters);
  • Paw lengths: 3.15 – 3.86 inches (80 – 98 millimeters);
  • Tail lengths: 14.96 – 16.93 inches (38 – 43 centimeters);
  • Weights: 2.87 – 4.41 pounds (1.3 – 2 kilograms).

 

miombo woodland, species-rich savanna ecosystems with miombo (Swahili for Brachystegia ssp.) as predominant trees:

Associated with miombo ecosystems, Angolan Genet is also known as miombo genet.
Nkhotaka Game Reserve, central Malawi
Nkhotaka Game Reserve, central Malawi

Conclusion: Can defensive tactics such as stand-up boxing and stink-bombing preserve this ancient lineage from sustainability threats incurred by agro-industrialists, climate change, and hunters?

 

It can be challenging to camera-trap and radio-telemeter Angolan miombo genet parents and singles within:

  • Bio-geographies of 806,072.41 square miles (2,087,717.97 square kilometers);
  • Climates of May-to-October super-dry seasons and November-to-April super-wet seasons;
  • Weathers of 35.01-inch (889.31-millimeter) evapo-transpiration, 3.70-inch (94.05-millimeter) precipitation, and 70.95°F (21.64°C) temperature monthly levels.
  • Wildlife associations of Brachystegia, Cryptosepalum, and Julbernardia deciduous woodlands, dry acacia savannas, kabamba-jike (Monopetalanthus richardsiae) evergreen rainforests, and succulent-sporting rocklands.

It can be charming to observe Angolan miombo genet self-defenses of:

  • Handstand-released stink-bombing and territory-marking;
  • Stand-up boxing;
  • Super-acute hearing, reacting, seeing, smelling, tasting, and touching;
  • Well-aimed hissing and spitting.

It can be nothing but chilling to uncover sustainability threats from:

  • Fire-, spear-, trap-wielding hunters;
  • Forest-felling, land-clearing, mineral-seeking agro-industrialists;
  • Globally-warmed climate change.

 

pods and foliage of Cryptosepalum maraviense (synonym: Cryptosepalum curtisiorum): Angolan Genets frequent open plain of Cryptosepalum maraviense in Luando Strict Nature Reserve, central Angola ~

Angolan Genet floral synecology
Namituru village, Namuno district, northern Mozambique
Namituru village, Namuno district, northern Mozambique

Acknowledgment

 

My special thanks to:

  • Talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the Internet;
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University for superior on-campus and on-line resources.

 

flowers and foliage of Cryptosepalum maraviense:

Angolan Genet's floral synecology
Monte Ribáuè, northeastern Mozambique
Monte Ribáuè, northeastern Mozambique

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Veron, Geraldine. 6 September 2010. "Phylogeny of the Viverridae and 'Viverrid-like' feliforms." Pp. 64-91 in Carnivoran Evolution: New Views on Phylogeny, Form and Function, edited by Anjali Goswami and Anthony Friscia. Cambridge University Press.

Vetter, Suzanne. "Angolan Miombo Woodlands." World Wildlife Fund: Places> Ecoregions > Terrestrial Ecoregions > Tropical and Subtropical Grasslands, Savannas and Shrublands. Retrieved May 7, 2014.

  • Available at: http://worldwildlife.org/ecoregions/at0701

White, P. 2000. "Genetta angolensis (On-line)." Animal Diversity Web. University of Michigan Museum of Zoology. Retrieved May 7, 2014.

  • Available at: http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Genetta_angolensis/

Wilson, Don E.; and Cole, F. Russell. 2000. Common Names of Mammals of the World. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press.

Wilson, Don E.; and Reeder, DeeAnn M. (editors). 2005. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. 3rd ed. Baltimore MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Wrobel, Murray (Editor). 2007. Elsevier's Dictionary of Mammals: Latin English German French Italian. Oxford, U.K.: Elsevier B.V.

 

Serra da Leba, mountain range in Huíla Province, southwestern Angola: Huíla Province is famous as headquarters of Portuguese explorer-naturalist José Alberto de Oliveira Anchieta (October 9, 1832 - September 14, 1897).

Caconda, in northern Huíla Province, was type locality of specimen of Angolan Genet, collected by José d'Anchieta and sent to Portugal for description by J.V. Barbosa du Bocage.
"Stunning views when driving from Lubango to Namibe in the South of Angola at Serra da Leba."
"Stunning views when driving from Lubango to Namibe in the South of Angola at Serra da Leba."
the end which is also the beginning
the end which is also the beginning

Blotched / Cape / Large- spotted Genet (Genetta tigrina) walking on forest floor Ruaha National Park, northwestern Tanzania: photo by Michele Menegon

10x14 Photo Puzzle with 252 pieces. Packed in black cardboard box 5 5/8 x 7 5/8 x 1 1/5. Puzzle image 5x7 affixed to box top.
Photo Jigsaw Puzzle - Ardea Wildlife Pets

A View of the Lugenda Wilderness Camp in the Niassa Reserve: photo by Jad Davenport

Niassa Nature Reserve, northern Mozambique: homeland of Angolan Genet
A View of the Lugenda Wilderness Camp in the Niassa Reserve

Me and my purrfectly purrfect Maine coon kittycat, Augusta "Gusty" Sunshine

Gusty and I thank you for reading this article and hope that our product selection interests you; Gusty Gus receives favorite treats from my commissions.
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
Updated: 08/20/2014, DerdriuMarriner
 
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DerdriuMarriner on 05/12/2014

Mira, For all that we know about nature, there is so much more to discover. As you learned, there is more to zebra stripes than an interesting skin pattern. :-)

DerdriuMarriner on 05/12/2014

VioletteRose, Me, too, I agree that José Anchieta's lab in Caconda looks interesting. He certainly displayed diligence in assembling his lab.

Mira on 05/10/2014

It's so very interesting how markings on an animal's body tell us things about its behavior, as here the stripes and spots and the stench. Also how these markings are often evolutionary. I read this spring about how zebras' stripes keep tsetse flies and horseflies away. Not knowing much about nature, it was quite stunning to learn that :)

VioletteRose on 05/09/2014

Great details, the picture of the laboratory in Caconda looks interesting. Thanks for sharing!

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