Journal of Threatened Taxa | | 26 September 2021 | 13(11): 19649–19651


ISSN 0974-7907 (Online) | ISSN 0974-7893 (Print)

#6802 | Received 13 October 2020 | Final received 30 August 2021 | Finally accepted 06 September 2021



First record of Spotted Linsang Prionodon pardicolor (Mammalia: Carnivora: Prionodontidae) with photographic evidence in Meghalaya, India


Papori Khatonier 1 & Adrian Wansaindor Lyngdoh 2


1 Loris in the Abode of Clouds Project, House no. 98, Milantirtha, Rupai Siding, DoomDooma, Tinsukia District, Assam 786153, India.

2 Loris in the Abode of Clouds project, House no. 15, Lumkshaid West, Shillong, East Khasi Hills District, Meghalaya 793002, India.

1 (corresponding author), 2




Editor: Anwaruddin Choudhury, The Rhino Foundation for Nature in North East India, Guwahati, India.   Date of publication: 26 September 2021 (online & print)


Citation: Khatonier, P. & A.W. Lyngdoh (2021). First record of Spotted Linsang Prionodon pardicolor (Mammalia: Carnivora: Prionodontidae) with photographic evidence in Meghalaya, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 13(11): 19649–19651.


Copyright: © Khatonier & Lyngdoh 2021. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.  JoTT allows unrestricted use, reproduction, and distribution of this article in any medium by providing adequate credit to the author(s) and the source of publication.


Funding: EDGE of Existence programme, Conservation and Policy, Zoological Society of London; National Geographic Society (PhotoArk programme).


Competing interests: The authors declare no competing interests.


Acknowledgements: We would like to extend our sincere thanks to the EDGE of Existence programme, Conservation and Policy, Zoological Society of London, London, NW1 4RY, United Kingdom and National Geographic Society (PhotoArk) for funding the project on Bengal Slow Loris in Meghalaya, India, during which the Spotted Linsang was encountered while carrying out the study. At the Department of Environment and Forest, Government of Meghalaya we thank the PCCF and DFO (Khasi Hills Division) for providing the necessary permissions and support. We also thank Shri. P. Doonai (assistant conservator of forest, Khasi Hills Division, Department of Forest, Meghalaya) and Shri. Wanphai Lyngdoh (beat officer, Nongpoh Range, Department of Forest, Meghalaya) for providing information and photograph about the Spotted Linsang. We express our thanks to Shri. Goson Sangma for accompanying us to the forest as well as providing information about the Spotted Linsang. We are also grateful to Dr. H.N. Kumara and Dr. Jyoti Das for their comments and suggestions on the manuscript.




Abbreviations: CITES—Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Appendix I, II and III) | IUCN—International Union for Conservation of Nature | RF—Reserved Forest | WS—Wildlife Sanctuary.



The Spotted Linsang Prionodon pardicolor is distributed from central Nepal, Bhutan, northeastern India, and southern China to the northern Sundaic region (Van Rompaey 1995; Jennings & Veron 2015; Duckworth et al. 2016). It is listed under Appendix I of CITES and as ‘Least Concern’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (Duckworth et al. 2016). In India, it is accorded the highest protection under Schedule I of the Indian Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.

Previously placed in the civet family (Viverridae), the Spotted Linsang is now under a new monogeneric family, Prionodontidae – a sister group of the family Felidae, from which it is estimated to have diverged about 33 million years ago (Gaubert & Veron 2003). Its size ranges between 31–45 cm and weight between 0.55–1.2 kg (Hunter 2020). It is characterized by a pointed muzzle, an elongated neck and head, a slender body, short limbs, and a tail that is as long as its head and body, between 30–40 cm. It also exhibits cat-like characteristics such as retractile claws. It has a fulvous coat, with large black spots on its dorsal side that extend from the shoulder to its posterior and decrease in size as they approach the ventral side. The long cylindrical tail is also covered by eight to ten broad dark rings, separated by paler rings (Hodgson 1847; Blanford 1888–91; Van Rompaey 1995).

In India, the current distribution of the Spotted Linsang is limited to the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Sikkim, and northern Bengal (Duckworth et al. 2016). But few authors have also mentioned that there is a high probability of its distribution in Meghalaya (Choudhury 2013; Jennings & Veron 2014). ----In this paper, we report the first record of Spotted Linsang in the state of Meghalaya with photographic evidence, which extends the known distribution range of this species.

On 29 October 2019, at around 0400h, a Spotted Linsang (Image 1) was found by a hospital staff worker, Wanphai Lyngdoh straying inside the compound of Nongpoh Civil Hospital, Nongpoh Town, Ri-Bhoi district, Meghalaya, India (485m; 25.9110N, 91.8780E) (Figure 1a). It was rescued by the forest department later in the day and released back to Lailad Salt Lick area of Nongkhyllem Wildlife Sanctuary (located approx. 6 km from Nongpoh town; 250m; 26.0370N, 91.8670E) at 1700h.  Again, on 4 November 2019, one more individual was rescued from Nongpoh Civil hospital compound around 1630h. It was released on the very same day in Nongkhyllem WS (Lailad Salt Lick area).

Furthermore, in the same area, one resident of Pahamsyiem village near Nongpoh town reported sighting of the Spotted Linsang on a number of occasions, around five years ago, in ‘Lum Knia’ hill. When shown the photo of the Spotted Linsang, Leopard Cat and Small Indian Civet, from “Mammals of India” (by Grewal & Chakravarty 2017), he insisted that it was the Spotted Linsang that he had sighted (Goson Sangma, pers. comm.).

This area which includes the wildlife sanctuary, Umsaw Reserved Forest, Nongkhyllem RF and patches of unclassed (community owned) forests are mostly characterized by tropical Moist Deciduous forest, with patches of tropical Semi-evergreen forest along rivers. There are also large bamboo patches in old Jhum areas and scattered grasses in depressions and plantations dominated by Shorea robusta and Tectona grandis (Choudhury 1998).

Another encounter in the state was in 1997, in Ri-Bhoi district, when a forest official sighted one Spotted Linsang near the Hydropower Dam of Umiam Lake (25.6600N, 91.9010E) crossing the National Highway 40 at dusk (P. Doonai, pers. comm. 2020) (Figure 1b).  The highway intersects a patch of unclassed forests, which is contiguous with the Riat Khwan RF. The area experiences a subtropical climate. The vegetation of the Riat Khwan RF and the adjoining forests is mostly subtropical broadleaf hill forests, with the presence of Khasi Pine Pinus kesiya towards higher elevation (Lahkar 2002).

This current record of the Spotted Linsang is in a habitat similar to the habitat types where the species had previously been recorded (Pham-Chong-Ahn 1980; Sunquist 1982; Choudhury 2002; Borah 2010; Ghose et al. 2012; Naniwadekar et al. 2013).

Among the handful of records of the Spotted Linsang in India, it was never reported before from the state of Meghalaya (Lyngdoh et al. 2019). The only mention about the species in Meghalaya was from an unpublished social survey report in south Garo Hills where the respondent stated that the animal had caused damage to domestic livestock (Samrakshan Trust 2008).

The Spotted Linsang is mainly threatened by habitat loss caused by deforestation and conversion to agriculture, such as Jhum and terrace farming (Choudhury 2002; Jennings & Veron 2015).


For figure & image - - click here





Blanford, W.T. (1888–91). Fauna of British India including Ceylon and Burma. Mammalia. Taylor and Francis, London, UK, 617 pp.

Choudhury, A.U. (1998). Conservation Fund in Action: Bird survey of Nongkyllem Wildlife Sanctuary, Meghalaya, India. Oriental Bird Club Bulletin 27: 11. 

Choudhury, A.U. (2002). Some recent records of the Spotted Linsang Prionodon pardicolor from India. Small Carnivore Conservation 27: 12.

Duckworth, J.W., M. Lau, A. Choudhury, W. Chutipong, R.J. Timmins, D.H.A Willcox, B. Chan, B. Long & S. Roberton (2016). Prionodon pardicolor. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T41706A45219917. Downloaded on 01 July 2020.

Gaubert, P. & G. Veron (2003). Exhaustive sample set among Viverridae reveals the sister-group of felids: the linsangs as a case of extreme morphological convergence within Feliformia. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Biological Sciences 270: 2523–2530.

Ghose, P.S., B.K. Sharma, L.T. Theengh, P. Shrestha & T. Pintso (2012). Records of Spotted Linsang Prionodon pardicolor from Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary, Sikkim, India. Small Carnivore Conservation 47: 67–68.

Grewal, B. & R. Chakravaty (2017). A Naturalist’s Guide to the Mammals of India. Prakash Books India Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi, India, 176pp.

Hodgson, B.H. (1847). Observations on the Manners and Structure of Prionodon pardicolor. Calcutta Journal of Natural History 8: 40–45.

Hunter, L. (2020). Field Guide to Carnivores of the World. Bloomsbury Publishing, New Delhi, India, 255pp.

Jennings, A.P. & G. Veron (2015). Predicted distributions, niche comparisons, and conservation status of the Spotted Linsang (Prionodon pardicolor) and Banded Linsang (Prionodon linsang). Mammal Research 60: 107–116.

Lahkar, K. (2002). Birds of Upper Shillong, Narpuh, Umiam and Mawphlang. Unpublished Report to the Bombay Natural History Society, Mumbai, 41 pp.

Lyngdoh, A.W., H.N. Kumara, P.V. Karunakaran & S. Babu (2019). A review on status of mammals in Meghalaya, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 11(15): 14955–14970.

Pham-Chong-Ahn (1980). Morphology and ecology of Viverridae in Vietnam. Zoologicheskii Zhurnal 59(6): 905–914.

Samrakshan Trust (2008). Wildlife Distribution and Hunting South Garo Hills. Unpublished report to the Rufford Small Grants Foundation, 29pp.

Sunquist, M.E. (1982). Incidental observations of the spotted linsang (Prionodon pardicolor). Journal of Bombay Natural History Society 79: 185–186.

van Rompaey, H. (1995). The Spotted Linsang, Prionodon pardicolor. Small Carnivore Conservation 13: 10–13.