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Encyclopedia > African Clawless Otter
African Clawless Otter
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Mustelidae
Subfamily: Lutrinae
Genus: Aonyx
Species: A. capensis
Binomial name
Aonyx capensis
(Schinz, 1821)

The African Clawless Otter, Aonyx capensis, also known as the Cape Clawless Otter or Groot otter, is the second largest freshwater species of otter. African Clawless Otters are found near permanent bodies of water in savannah and lowland forest areas. They are characterized by partly webbed and clawless feet, from which their name is derived. The conservation status of a species is an indicator of the likelihood of that species remaining extant either in the present day or the near future. ... Least Concern (LC) is an IUCN category assigned to extant species or lower taxa which have been evaluated but do not qualify for any other category. ... Scientific classification redirects here. ... For other uses, see Animal (disambiguation). ... Typical Classes Subphylum Urochordata - Tunicates Ascidiacea Thaliacea Larvacea Subphylum Cephalochordata - Lancelets Subphylum Myxini - Hagfishes Subphylum Vertebrata - Vertebrates Petromyzontida - Lampreys Placodermi (extinct) Chondrichthyes - Cartilaginous fishes Acanthodii (extinct) Actinopterygii - Ray-finned fishes Actinistia - Coelacanths Dipnoi - Lungfishes Amphibia - Amphibians Reptilia - Reptiles Aves - Birds Mammalia - Mammals Chordates (phylum Chordata) include the vertebrates, together with... Subclasses & Infraclasses Subclass †Allotheria* Subclass Prototheria Subclass Theria Infraclass †Trituberculata Infraclass Metatheria Infraclass Eutheria For the folk-rock band see The Mammals. ... Families 17, See classification The diverse order Carnivora (IPA: or ; from Latin carō (stem carn-) flesh, + vorāre to devour) includes over 260 species of placental mammals. ... Subfamilies Lutrinae Melinae Mellivorinae Taxidiinae Mustelinae Mustelidae is a family of carnivorous mammals. ... This article is about the carnivorous mammals. ... Species Aonyx capensis Aonyx congicus Aonyx is a genus of otters, containing two species, the African Clawless Otter and the Congo Clawless Otter. ... Latin name redirects here. ... Heinrich Rudolf Schinz (1777 - 1861) was a Swiss physician and naturalist. ... This article is about the carnivorous mammals. ...

Contents

Taxonomy

Aonyx capensis is a member of the weasel family (Mustelidae) and of the Order Carnivora. The earliest known species of otter, Potamotherium valetoni, occurred in the upper Oligocene of Europe, but A. capensis is first recorded in the Pleistocene. Subfamilies Lutrinae Melinae Mellivorinae Taxidiinae Mustelinae Mustelidae is a family of carnivorous mammals. ... Families 17, See classification The diverse order Carnivora (IPA: or ; from Latin carō (stem carn-) flesh, + vorāre to devour) includes over 260 species of placental mammals. ... The Pleistocene epoch (IPA: ) on the geologic timescale is the period from 1,808,000 to 11,550 years BP. The Pleistocene epoch had been intended to cover the worlds recent period of repeated glaciations. ...


Subspecies

There are three recognized subspecies of 'Aonyx capensis:

  • Aonyx capensis capensis (Schinz, 1821)
  • Aonyx capensis hindei (Thomas, 1905)
  • Aonyx capensis meneleki (Thomas, 1903)

Description

African Clawless Otters have thick, smooth fur with an almost silky underbelly. Chestnut in color, they are characterized by white facial markings that extend downward towards their throat and chest area. Paws are partially webbed with five fingers, and no opposable thumbs. All lack claws except for digits 2, 3, and 4 of the hind feet. Their large skull is broad and flat, with relatively small orbits and a short rostrum. Molars are large and flat, used for crushing of prey.


Habitat

African clawless otters can be found anywhere from open coastal plains, to semiarid regions, to densely forested areas. Surviving mostly in southern Africa, the otters live in areas surrounding permanent bodies of water, usually surrounded by some form of foliage. Logs, branches, and loose foliage greatly appeal to the otter as this provides shelter, shade and great rolling opportunities. Slow and rather clumsy on land, they build burrows in banks near water, allowing for easier food access and a quick escape from predators. A world map showing the continent of Africa Africa is the worlds second-largest and second most-populous continent, after Asia. ...


Reproduction

Females give birth to litters containing 2-5 young around early spring. Mating takes place in short periods throughout the rainy season in December. Afterwards, both male and females go their separate ways and return to a solitary life once more. Young are raised solely by the females. Gestation lasts around 2 months (63 days). Weaning takes place between 45-60 days, with the young reaching full maturity around one year of age.


Diet

The diet of Aonyx capensis primarily includes water dwelling animals such as crabs, fish, frogs, and worms. They dive after prey to catch it, then swim to shore again where they eat. Their hands come in handy as searching devices and are great tools for digging on the muddy bottoms of ponds and rivers, picking up rocks and looking under logs. Extremely sensitive whiskers (vibrissae) are used as sensors in the water to pick up the movements of potential prey.


Behavior

Though mostly solitary animals, African clawless otters will live in neighboring territories of family groups of up to 5 individuals. Each still having their own range within that territory, they mostly keep to themselves unless seeking a mate. Territories are marked using a pair of anal glands which secrete a particular scent. Each otter is very territorial over its particular range.


Awkward on land but acrobats in the water, these animals spend their days swimming and catching food. They return to underground burrows for safety, cooling or a nice rub down using grasses and leaves. Mainly aquatic creatures, their tails are used for locomotion and propel them through the water. They are also used for balance when walking or sitting upright.


Predation

Quick in the water and burrowing on land, A. capensis doesn’t have many predators. Their greatest threat comes from the python, which will often lay in wait near or in the water. Other predators would include the crocodile and fish eagles. If threatened, a high pitched scream is emitted to warn neighboring otters and confuse a predator. Synonyms Pythonoidea - Fitzinger, 1826 Pythonoidei - Eichwald, 1831 Holodonta - Müller, 1832 Pythonina - Bonaparte, 1840 Pythophes - Fitzinger, 1843 Pythoniens - A.M.C. Duméril & Bibron, 1844 Holodontes - A.M.C. Duméril & Bibron, 1844 Pythonides - A.M.C. Duméril & Bibron, 1844 Pythones - Cope, 1861 Pythonidae - Cope, 1864 Peropodes - Meyer, 1874... For other uses, see Crocodile (disambiguation). ... Binomial name (Daudin, 1800) The African Fish Eagle (Haliaeetus vocifer[1]) or - to distinguish it from the Ichthyophaga true fish eagles, African Sea Eagle - is a large species of eagle and a bird of prey. ...


Thermoregulation

Living in Africa, circumstances can become very hot. Staying cool means spending time in the water, and also using burrows as a way to escape the highest temperatures of the day. African clawless otters use their watery surroundings as a way of cooling down. During the day, they are usually found underground in their burrows to escape the highest temperatures. To stay warm on the other hand, the otters depend solely on their thick fur. Guard hairs cover the body acting as insulate. Since the otter lacks an insulating layer of body fat, their only means of warmth is provided by their thick coats of fur.


Economic Impact

The biggest threat imposed on African clawless otters comes from humans. Aonyx will often forage in man-made fisheries causing humans to hunt them or for them to become entangled in nets. Over-fishing by humans may reduce the food supply available to otters. They are sometimes hunted for their thick soft pelts, which humans use in forms of clothing. In forested areas, logging may be a major threat since erosion leads to greatly increased turbidity in rivers which can in turn greatly reduce the populations of fish on which the otters depend. This may well be a far greater threat to otters than hunting.


Conservation

Though often hunted for their soft pelts, or killed by local competitive fishermen, these animals are now endangered.


References

  • Hussain & Reuther (2004). Aonyx capensis. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 12 Jan 2007. Database entry includes justification for why this species is least concern
  • Michael J. Somers and Jan A. J. Nel. 2004. Habitat selection by the Cape clawless otter (Aonyx Capensis) in rivers in the Western Cape Province, South Africa, African Journal of Ecology 42: pg 298-305.
  • Michael J Somers. 2000 Foraging Behavior of Cape Clawless Otters (Aonyx Capensis) in a marine habitat., Journal of Zoology, 252: pg 473-480.

The clawless water otter is now endangered, mostly because it hunted so often. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (also known as the IUCN Red List and Red Data List), created in 1963, is the worlds most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of plant and animal species and can be found here. ... The World Conservation Union or International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) is an international organization dedicated to natural resource conservation. ...


External links

Subfamilies Lutrinae Melinae Mellivorinae Taxidiinae Mustelinae Mustelidae is a family of carnivorous mammals. ... Phyla Subkingdom Parazoa Porifera (sponges) Subkingdom Agnotozoa Placozoa Orthonectida Rhombozoa Subkingdom Metazoa Radiata Cnidaria Ctenophora - Comb jellies Bilateria Protostomia Acoelomorpha Platyhelminthes - Flatworms Nemertina - Ribbon worms Gastrotricha Gnathostomulida - Jawed worms Micrognathozoa Rotifera - Rotifers Acanthocephala Priapulida Kinorhyncha Loricifera Entoprocta Nematoda - Roundworms Nematomorpha - Horsehair worms Cycliophora Mollusca - Mollusks Sipuncula - Peanut worms Annelida - Segmented... Typical Classes Subphylum Urochordata - Tunicates Ascidiacea Thaliacea Larvacea Subphylum Cephalochordata - Lancelets Subphylum Myxini - Hagfishes Subphylum Vertebrata - Vertebrates Petromyzontida - Lampreys Placodermi (extinct) Chondrichthyes - Cartilaginous fishes Acanthodii (extinct) Actinopterygii - Ray-finned fishes Actinistia - Coelacanths Dipnoi - Lungfishes Amphibia - Amphibians Reptilia - Reptiles Aves - Birds Mammalia - Mammals Chordates (phylum Chordata) include the vertebrates, together with... Orders Subclass Monotremata Monotremata Subclass Marsupialia Didelphimorphia Paucituberculata Microbiotheria Dasyuromorphia Peramelemorphia Notoryctemorphia Diprotodontia Subclass Placentalia Xenarthra Dermoptera Desmostylia Scandentia Primates Rodentia Lagomorpha Insectivora Chiroptera Pholidota Carnivora Perissodactyla Artiodactyla Cetacea Afrosoricida Macroscelidea Tubulidentata Hyracoidea Proboscidea Sirenia The mammals are the class of vertebrate animals primarily characterized by the presence of mammary... Families 17, See classification The diverse order Carnivora (IPA: or ; from Latin carō (stem carn-) flesh, + vorāre to devour) includes over 260 species of placental mammals. ... Families Canidae Felidae Herpestidae Hyaenidae Mephitidae Mustelidae Nandiniidae Odobenidae Pinnipedia Procyonidae Ursidae Viverridae The diverse order Carnivora includes over 260 placental mammals. ... This article is about the carnivorous mammals. ... Species Aonyx capensis Aonyx congicus Aonyx is a genus of otters, containing two species, the African Clawless Otter and the Congo Clawless Otter. ... Binomial name Amblonyx cinereus (Illiger, 1815) Oriental Small-clawed Otters, (aka Asian Small-Clawed Otters) are the smallest otters in the world. ... Binomial name Enhydra lutris (Linnaeus, 1758) The Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris) is a large otter native to the North Pacific, from northern Japan and Kamchatka west across the Aleutian Islands south to California. ... Binomial name Enhydra lutris (Linnaeus, 1758) The Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris) is a large otter native to the North Pacific, from northern Japan and Kamchatka west across the Aleutian Islands south to California. ... Genera Amblonyx Aonyx Enhydra Lontra Lutra Lutrogale Pteronura Otters are aquatic or marine carnivorous mammals, members of the large and diverse family Mustelidae, which also includes weasels, polecats, badgers and others. ... Binomial name Lontra canadensis (Schreber, 1777) The Northern River Otter, Lontra canadensis, is a North American member of the Mustelidae or weasel family. ... Binomial name Lontra provocax The Southern river otter (Lontra provocax) is a species of otter that lives in Chile and Argentina. ... Binomial name Lontra longicaudis (Olfers, 1818) The Neotropical River Otter (or just Neotropical Otter), Lontra longicaudis, is an otter species found in Central and South America. ... Binomial name (Molina, 1782) Marine Otters (Lontra felina) are rare and poorly-understood marine mammals of the weasel family (Family Mustelidae). ... Binomial name Lutra lutra (Linnaeus, 1758) The European Otter, Lutra lutra, is a European member of the Mustelidae or weasel family, and is typical of freshwater otters. ... Binomial name (Linnaeus, 1758) Range map (note: range also includes British Isles) The Eurasian otter, Lutra lutra, also known as the Eurasian river otter, common otter, Old World otter and European otter, is a European and Asian member of the Lutrinae or otter subfamily, and is typical of freshwater otters. ... Binomial name Lutra sumatrana The hairy-nosed otter (Lutra sumatrana) is an otter thought extinct in 1998 but more were found. ... Speckle-throated otter (hydrictis maculicollis) otherwise known as the spot-necked otter hunts in rivers and lakes and has to have clear water for visual purposes. ... Speckle-throated otter (hydrictis maculicollis) otherwise known as the spot-necked otter hunts in rivers and lakes and has to have clear water for visual purposes. ... Species † Lutrogale cretensis - Cretan Otter † Lutrogale palaeoleptonyx Lutrogale perspicillata - Smooth-coated Otter Lutrogale is a genus of otter, with only one extant species - the smooth-coated otter. ... Binomial name Lutrogale perspicillata (Geoffroy, 1826) The Smooth-coated Otter (Lutrogale perspicillata) is a species of otter, the only extant representative of the genus Lutrogale. ... Binomial name Pteronura brasiliensis (Gmelin, 1788) The Giant Otter, Pteronura brasiliensis, (also known as the river wolf) is the longest of the worlds otters, as well as one of the largest mustelids[2]. It is native to South America but is endangered and is also very rare in captivity. ... Binomial name Pteronura brasiliensis (Gmelin, 1788) The Giant Otter, Pteronura brasiliensis, (also known as the river wolf) is the longest of the worlds otters, as well as one of the largest mustelids[2]. It is native to South America but is endangered and is also very rare in captivity. ... For other uses, see Badger (disambiguation). ... Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Binomial name Linnaeus, 1758 Range map The Eurasian or European badger, Meles meles, is a mammal indigenous to most of Europe (excluding northern Scandinavia, Iceland, Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily and Cyprus) and to many parts of Asia, from about 15° to 65° North, and from about 10° West to 135° East. ... Binomial name Linnaeus, 1758 Range map The Eurasian or European badger, Meles meles, is a mammal indigenous to most of Europe (excluding northern Scandinavia, Iceland, Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily and Cyprus) and to many parts of Asia, from about 15° to 65° North, and from about 10° West to 135° East. ... Binomial name Melogale everetti (Thomas, 1895) The Everetts Ferret Badger (Melogale everetti), also known as the Kinabalu Ferret Badger, is a member of the Mustelidae family. ... Binomial name Melogale moschata The Chinese Ferret Badger Distinctive mask-like face markings distinguish the Chinese ferret badger from other oriental mustelids. ... Mydaus is a genus of Old World carnivore comprising of two species of stink badger. ... Binomial name Mydaus marchei (Huet, 1887) The Palawan stink badger is a small badger that lives on the Philippine Islands of Palawan and Busuanga. ... The Javan Stink Badger (Mydaus javanensis, also called the Teledu, Malay Stink Badger and Indonesian Stink Badger) is a member of the badger family endemic to Java. ... Binomial name Mellivora capensis (Schreber, 1776) The Ratel (Mellivora capensis), also known as the Honey Badger, is a member of the Mustelidae family. ... Binomial name Mellivora capensis (Schreber, 1776) The Ratel (Mellivora capensis), also known as the Honey Badger, is a member of the Mustelidae family. ... Binomial name Mellivora capensis (Schreber, 1776) The Ratel (Mellivora capensis), also known as the Honey Badger, is a member of the Mustelidae family. ... Binomial name Taxidea taxus (Schreber, 1777) The American Badger, Taxidea taxus, is a North American badger, somewhat similar in appearance to the European Badger. ... Binomial name Taxidea taxus (Schreber, 1777) The American Badger, Taxidea taxus, is a North American badger, somewhat similar in appearance to the European Badger. ... Mustelinae is a Subfamily of Family Mustelidae and includes wolverines, weasels, ferrets, martens, and similar carnivorous mammals of Order Carnivora. ... Binomial name Linnaeus, 1758 A Tayra at the Summit Botanical Gardens and Zoo, Panamá The Tayra (Eira barbara), also known as the Tolomuco or Perico ligero in Central America, is an omnivorous animal from the weasel family Mustelidae. ... Binomial name Linnaeus, 1758 A Tayra at the Summit Botanical Gardens and Zoo, Panamá The Tayra (Eira barbara), also known as the Tolomuco or Perico ligero in Central America, is an omnivorous animal from the weasel family Mustelidae. ... The hurón or grison (Spanish: ferret) refers to either of two related ferret-like mammals from Central and South America: Galictis vittatus. ... Binomial name Galictis cuja (Molina, 1782) The Lesser Grison (Spanish: Hurón Menor; Portuguese: Furão), Galictis cuja, is an animal belonging to the ferret family Mustelidae from South America. ... Binomial name Galictis vittata (Schreber, 1776) The Greater Grison, Galictis vittata, is an animal belonging to the ferret family Mustelidae from Central and South America, from southern Mexico to Brazil and Bolivia, living in savannas and rainforests, usually seen near rivers and streams. ... For other uses, see Wolverine (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Wolverine (disambiguation). ... Binomial name Ictonyx striatus Kaup, 1835 The Striped Polecat (Ictonyx striatus, also called the African Polecat, Zoril, Zorille or Zorilla) is a member of the weasel family which somewhat resembles a skunk. ... Binomial name Ictonyx striatus Kaup, 1835 The Striped Polecat (Ictonyx striatus, also called the African Polecat, Zoril, Zorille or Zorilla) is a member of the weasel family which somewhat resembles a skunk. ... Binomial name Lyncodon patagonicus (Blainville, 1842) The Patagonian weasel is a small mustelid that is the only member of the genus Lyncodon. ... Binomial name Lyncodon patagonicus (Blainville, 1842) The Patagonian weasel is a small mustelid that is the only member of the genus Lyncodon. ... Species Martes americana Martes flavigula Martes foina Martes gwatkinsii Martes martes Martes melampus Martes pennanti Martes zibellina For the Wiltshire village see Marten, Wiltshire. ... Binomial name Martes americana (Turton, 1806) The American Marten (Martes americana) is a North American marten sometimes also called the Pine Marten, even though it is a separate species from the European Pine Marten. ... Binomial name Martes flavigula Boddaert, 1785 Subspecies M. f. ... Binomial name Martes foina (Erxleben, 1777) The Beech Marten (Martes foina) is the most common species of marten in Central Europe. ... Nilgiri marten Martes gwatkinsii Horsfield, 1851 Distribution The Nilgiri marten is endemic to Western Ghats. ... Binomial name Martes martes (Linnaeus, 1758) This article is about the European Pine Marten. ... Binomial name (Erxleben, 1777) The fisher is a North American marten, a medium sized mustelid. ... Binomial name Martes zibellina Linnaeus, 1758 The Sable (Martes zibellina) is a small mammal, closely akin to the martens, living in southern Russia near the Ural Mountains through Siberia and Mongolia to Hokkaidō in Japan. ... For other uses, see Weasel (disambiguation). ... Binomial name Desmarest, 1818 The Tropical Weasel or Amazon Weasel (Mustela africana) is a South American weasel, which has been recorded in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. ... Binomial name Mustela altaica Pallas, 1811 The Mountain Weasel, also known as the Pale Weasel, is a species of weasel that lives in mountainous parts of Asia from Kazakhstan, Tibet and the Himalayas through to Mongolia, northeastern China, southern Siberia and Korea. ... Ermine redirects here. ... Binomial name (Lesson, 1827) The Steppe Polecat (Mustela eversmannii) is a small carnivore and is one of several species of weasel that belong to the genus Mustela. ... Species Mustela felipei Colombian Weasel (Comadreja Colombiana) is a mammal originary of south america, specially Colombia , but some specimens have been found in northern Ecuador. ... Binomial name Mustela frenata Lichtenstein, 1831 The Long-tailed Weasel (Mustela frenata) is the most widely distributed mustelid in the New World. ... Binomial name Hodgson, 1835 The Yellow-bellied Weasel (Mustela kathiah) is a species of mammal in the Mustelidae family. ... Binomial name Mustela lutreola (Linnaeus, 1761) The European Mink, Mustela lutreola, is a European member of the Mustelidae family found in some regions of Spain, France, Romania, Sweden, Poland and the greater part of Russia, though not found east of the Ural Mountains. ... The Indonesian Mountain Weasel (Mustela lutreolina) is only found on the islands of Java and Sumatra at elevations over 1,000 metres. ... Binomial name (Audubon & Bachman, 1851) The Black-footed Ferret (Mustela nigripes) is a small carnivorous North American mammal closely related to the Steppe Polecat of Russia, and a member of the diverse family Mustelidae which also includes weasels, mink, polecats, martens, otters, and badgers. ... Binomial name Linnaeus, 1766 The Least Weasel, is the smallest member of the genus Mustela, and indeed in the entire order carnivora. ... Binomial name Mustela putorius (Linnaeus, 1758) This article is about one species of mammal referred to as Polecat. For other uses, see Polecat (disambiguation). ... Binomial name Mustela sibirica Pallas, 1773 The Siberian Mountain Weasel, also known as the Siberian Weasel, Kolinsky or Himalayan Weasel, is a rust coloured relative of the weasel. ... Trinomial name Mustela strigidorsa xxxx (AuthorLastname, XXXX) The Back-striped weasel (Lat. ... Binomial name (Schreber, 1777) The American Mink is a trademark of the American Legend Cooperative The American Mink, Neovison vison, is a North American member of the Mustelidae family found in Alaska, Canada and most of the United States. ... Binomial name Vormela peregusna (Güldenstädt, 1770) The marbled polecat () is a small mammal belonging to the monotypic genus Vormela within the Mustelinae subfamily. ... Binomial name Vormela peregusna (Güldenstädt, 1770) The marbled polecat () is a small mammal belonging to the monotypic genus Vormela within the Mustelinae subfamily. ...

  Results from FactBites:
 
Otter - New World Encyclopedia (2077 words)
An otter is any member of 13 extant species of semi-aquatic and aquatic, carnivorous mammals comprising six genera within the family Mustelidae and typically characterized by webbed feet, dense fur, a long, thin weasel-like body, and a somewhat flattened head.
Sea otters are a keystone species in kelp ecosystems, keeping sea urchin populations in check, while also eating snails, squid, octopuses, and clams among others, while being consumed by predators such as killer whales.
Sea Otters are one of four groups of marine mammals, the others being cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises), sirenians (manatees and dugongs), and pinnipeds (walruses, sea lions, eared seals, fur seals, and true seals).
Resources on Congo Clawless Otter academic institutions (1465 words)
Aonyx capensis (African Clawless Otter): The Cape clawless otter is absent from the central African rain forest region of the Congo river basin (Rowe-Rowe 1995).
The Congo Clawless Otter is a [CITIES-listed EndangeredSpecies]...
African clawless otter (Aonyx capensis); Congo clawless otter (Aonyx congicus).
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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