Ring-tailed Mongoose appearance, Marojejy
This one suddenly appeared out of nowhere as we were observing a group of white-fronted lemurs crossing camp 2 in Marojejy, Madagascar. These mongooses are a relatively common sight near human camps, yet still hard to photograph due to their speed and nervousness.
This species, like most Madagascar carnivores, has an interesting biological history. Some belief this species as well as the famous Fossa originate from a single species that made its way from mainland Africa to Madagascar many millions of years ago. A small event, leading to some unique species over a longer time.
Madagascar's carnivores not being dangerous to humans makes it a very attractive destination for exploration on foot, which is virtually impossible in much of Africa.
For the interested, here's the big cousin, the Fossa:
The ring-tailed mongoose is a euplerid that lives on the island of Madagascar. There is actually much disagreement about the placement of Madagascar's carnivores including the ring-tailed mongoose, within the phylogenetic tree. Recent molecular work by Anne Yoder et al. reported in the journal "Nature" suggests that the Malagasy Carnivora evolved from a single herpestid ancestor.
The ring-tailed mongoose is relatively small but is the largest member of the subfamily Galidiinae. It is.. more