Species Hierarchy
Common name: SERVAL
Scentific name: FELIS CAPENSIS

Species Info:

This lifeform is found widely in Africa. This lifeform is scarce.

Serval (Felis capensis = Leptailurus serval) is found throughout most of Africa except for the arid regions. The Serval lives primarily on rodents and birds. It can be a pale color with dark spots and blotches, or relatively dark colored. The Serval always weighs less than 40 pounds.

Felis genus (cat genus) contains about  28 different species of cats.  Members of this genus cannot roar,  and generally can purr.  Several of the Felis species have been placed in separate genera such as Lynx, Caracal, and  Leopardis to match conventions used in most of the popular field guides.

Cat family, Felidae, is found worldwide except for Australia. There are thirty-eight (or 39 if the feral domesticated cat is included) extant (non-extinct) cat species found in the wild. Many of them are on the verge of extinction. Some biologists use the genus "Felis" for all of the species; others separate the members of this family into several different genera.

Following is a list of some of the Felidae:

      SPECIES                               LOCATION

  Acinonyx jubatus (Cheetah)             India to South Africa
  Caracal caracal (Desert Lynx)          Africa to India
  Felis chau (Jungle Cat)                NE Africa to India
  Felis concolor (M.Lion, Cougar)        N. America to Argentina
  Felis manul (Pallas Cat)               Tibet to Iran    
  Felis margarita (African Desert Cat)   North Africa and Arabia
  Felis nigripes (Black Footed)          South Africa
  Felis pardalis (Ocelot)                Mexico and south
  Felis silvestris (Wild Cat)            Eurasia and Africa
  Felis  yagouraroundi (Jaguarundi Cat)  Mexico to Argentina
  Ictailurus planiceps (Flat Head Cat)   Malaya, Sumatra, Borneo
  Leptailurus serval (Serval)            Africa
  Leopardis tigrinus (Ocelot Cat)        South America
  Leopardis wiedi (Margay)               Mexico to Argentina
  Lynchailurus colocola (Pampas Cat)     South America
  Lynx canadensis (Lynx)                 Mostly Canada & some USA
  Lynx lynx (Lynx)                       Eurasia
  Lynx rufus (Bobcat)                    United States and Mexico
  Neofelis nebulosa (Clouded Leopard)    Southeast Asia
  Panthera onca (Jaguar)                 Mexico and South America
  Panthera leo (Lion)                    India and Africa
  Panthera pardis (Leopard)              Africa to Malaysia
  Panthera tigris (Tiger)                North of Japan to Iran
  Pardofelis marmorata (Marbled Cat)     Burma to Sumatra
  Prionailurus bengalensis (Leopard Cat) Pakistan, India, Philip.
  Prionailurus euptilurus (Forest Cat)   Siberia, Manchuria
  Profelis aurata (Tiger Cat)            Central Africa
  Profelis temmincki (Indian Golden)     Asia
  Unica unica (Snow Leopard)Central      Asia
  Panthera atrox (California Lion)       Extinct
  Smilodon species (Saber-tooth Tiger)   North & South America,
Saber-toothed Tigers (Genus Smilodon), extinct for only a few thousand years, were found in North and South America and were somewhat larger than today's lions and tigers and had short legs and gigantic canine teeth. (Genus Hoplophoneus was probably the ancestor of Smilodon.)

Cat Family (Felidae) contains many species of meat-eaters from the common domesticated cat to the lion and the tiger. This family has been divided into two parts to ease study of the group. The first group is the wild or native cats, and the second group is the domesticated forms.

Carnivores (Order Carnivora) are found naturally worldwide, except for Australia which has an introduced wild dog. Carnivores are characterized by their habits of feeding on other animals. They usually can run quickly and capture their food with the help of their claws and jaws. Typical carnivores are dogs, cats, and bears.

Mammals (Class Mammalia), together with the birds, are among the youngest of the classes of animals. In species count, mammals number about fifty-one hundred, trailing reptiles (approximately fifty-five hundred), fish (approximately eighteen thousand), and birds (approximately eighty-six hundred).

There are three sub-types of mammals:

   monotremes, the most primitive:
      Develop in reptilian-like eggs and suckle milk emerging
      (i.e., spiny anteater, duckbilled platypus)

      Newborn emerges very underdeveloped and continue to
      mature in a pouch on its mother's abdomen (i.e., opossums,
      koala, kangaroo)

      Embryo develops within the uterus of the female and is
      dependent on a placenta for nutrition and waste removal
      (i.e., humans, lions, monkeys)  

About sixty-five million years ago, the Tertiary era produced thirty-five orders of mammals. Of this number, eighteen have survived to represent Earth's most diversified as well as its most highly developed classification of animals.

Extinction of mammals is fast becoming a serious issue. Duff and Lawson present a list of forty-one extinct species that reached extinction prior to 1800. These forty-one species are not acknowledged in the counts of the various families. Duff and Lawson also present a list of forty-six species including three gazelles, one zebra, one seal, one deer, and one wolf that have probably gone extinct since 1800. These forty-six species are included in the family counts. Science is adding about forty to fifty new species a year to the list. Many of these are the result of divisions of prior species; some are recent discoveries.

Mammals owe their survival to adaptive capabilities that include the ability to exploit whatever sources of food are available to them, as well as their ability to adjust to various climes. Food specialization influenced evolution to such a great extent that the teeth structure can and has been used to provide extensive information on the food needs and various lifestyles of extinct species.

Despite the vast diversity among mammals in terms of size, habitats and adaptations, they share without exception many characteristics such as:  

    a. body hair
    b. mammary glands
    c. certain skull characteristics
    d. four limbs that permit speed
    e. parallel not perpendicular limbs
    f. compartmentalized internal organs
    g. a four-chambered heart and pulmonary circulation

Backboned Animals (Phylum Chordata) are the most advanced group of animals on earth. These animals are characterized by having a spinal cord or backbone. Most members have a clearly defined brain that controls the organism through a spinal cord. Fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals are in this phylum.

Currently, some taxonomists believe that the fish should be divided into two groups (sharks and regular fishes) and that there are some other primitive groups in the phylum such as hagfish or lampreys.

Animal Kingdom contains numerous organisms that feed on other animals or plants. Included in the animal kingdom are the lower marine invertebrates such as sponges and corals, the jointed legged animals such as insects and spiders, and the backboned animals such as fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals.


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