Procyonidae
Overview
 
Procyonidae is a New World family
Family (biology)
In biological classification, family is* a taxonomic rank. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, genus, and species, with family fitting between order and genus. As for the other well-known ranks, there is the option of an immediately lower rank, indicated by the...

 of the order
Order (biology)
In scientific classification used in biology, the order is# a taxonomic rank used in the classification of organisms. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, family, genus, and species, with order fitting in between class and family...

 Carnivora
Carnivora
The diverse order Carnivora |Latin]] carō "flesh", + vorāre "to devour") includes over 260 species of placental mammals. Its members are formally referred to as carnivorans, while the word "carnivore" can refer to any meat-eating animal...

. It includes the raccoon
Procyon (genus)
Procyon is a genus of nocturnal mammals, comprising three species commonly known as raccoons, in the family Procyonidae. The most familiar species, the common raccoon , is often known simply as "the" raccoon, as the two other raccoon species in the genus are native only to the tropics and are...

s, coati
Coati
Coatis, genera Nasua and Nasuella, also known as the Brazilian aardvark, Mexican tejón, hog-nosed coon, pizotes, crackoons and snookum bears, are members of the raccoon family . They are diurnal mammals native to South America, Central America, and south-western North America...

s, kinkajou
Kinkajou
The kinkajou , also known as the honey bear , is a rainforest mammal of the family Procyonidae related to olingos, coatis, raccoons, and the ringtail and cacomistle. It is the only member of the genus Potos. Kinkajous may be mistaken for ferrets or monkeys, but are not closely related...

s, olingo
Olingo
Olingos are small procyonids that comprise the genus Bassaricyon, native to the rainforests of Central and South America from Nicaragua to Peru. They are arboreal and nocturnal, and live at elevations from sea level to 2,000 m...

s, ringtail
Ring-tailed Cat
The ringtail is a mammal of the raccoon family , native to arid regions of North America. It is also known as the ringtail cat, ring-tailed cat or miner's cat, and is also sometimes mistakenly called a "civet cat"...

s and cacomistle
Cacomistle
The cacomistle is a nocturnal, arboreal and omnivorous member of the carnivoran family Procyonidae. Its preferred habitats are wet, tropical, evergreen woodlands and mountain forests, though seasonally it will range into drier deciduous forests.Nowhere in its range is B. sumichrasti common...

s. Procyonids inhabit a wide range of environments, and are generally omnivorous
Omnivore
Omnivores are species that eat both plants and animals as their primary food source...

.
Procyonids are relatively small animals, with generally slender bodies and long tails. (The common raccoon tends to be bulky.) Except for the kinkajou, all procyonids have banded tails, and distinct facial markings. These are especially visible in the raccoons.
Encyclopedia
Procyonidae is a New World family
Family (biology)
In biological classification, family is* a taxonomic rank. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, genus, and species, with family fitting between order and genus. As for the other well-known ranks, there is the option of an immediately lower rank, indicated by the...

 of the order
Order (biology)
In scientific classification used in biology, the order is# a taxonomic rank used in the classification of organisms. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, family, genus, and species, with order fitting in between class and family...

 Carnivora
Carnivora
The diverse order Carnivora |Latin]] carō "flesh", + vorāre "to devour") includes over 260 species of placental mammals. Its members are formally referred to as carnivorans, while the word "carnivore" can refer to any meat-eating animal...

. It includes the raccoon
Procyon (genus)
Procyon is a genus of nocturnal mammals, comprising three species commonly known as raccoons, in the family Procyonidae. The most familiar species, the common raccoon , is often known simply as "the" raccoon, as the two other raccoon species in the genus are native only to the tropics and are...

s, coati
Coati
Coatis, genera Nasua and Nasuella, also known as the Brazilian aardvark, Mexican tejón, hog-nosed coon, pizotes, crackoons and snookum bears, are members of the raccoon family . They are diurnal mammals native to South America, Central America, and south-western North America...

s, kinkajou
Kinkajou
The kinkajou , also known as the honey bear , is a rainforest mammal of the family Procyonidae related to olingos, coatis, raccoons, and the ringtail and cacomistle. It is the only member of the genus Potos. Kinkajous may be mistaken for ferrets or monkeys, but are not closely related...

s, olingo
Olingo
Olingos are small procyonids that comprise the genus Bassaricyon, native to the rainforests of Central and South America from Nicaragua to Peru. They are arboreal and nocturnal, and live at elevations from sea level to 2,000 m...

s, ringtail
Ring-tailed Cat
The ringtail is a mammal of the raccoon family , native to arid regions of North America. It is also known as the ringtail cat, ring-tailed cat or miner's cat, and is also sometimes mistakenly called a "civet cat"...

s and cacomistle
Cacomistle
The cacomistle is a nocturnal, arboreal and omnivorous member of the carnivoran family Procyonidae. Its preferred habitats are wet, tropical, evergreen woodlands and mountain forests, though seasonally it will range into drier deciduous forests.Nowhere in its range is B. sumichrasti common...

s. Procyonids inhabit a wide range of environments, and are generally omnivorous
Omnivore
Omnivores are species that eat both plants and animals as their primary food source...

.

Characteristics

Procyonids are relatively small animals, with generally slender bodies and long tails. (The common raccoon tends to be bulky.) Except for the kinkajou, all procyonids have banded tails, and distinct facial markings. These are especially visible in the raccoons. Like bears, procyonids are plantigrade
Plantigrade
right|151px|thumb|Human skeleton, showing plantigrade habitIn terrestrial animals, plantigrade locomotion means walking with the podials and metatarsals flat on the ground. It is one of three forms of locomotion adopted by mammals...

, walking on the soles of their feet. Most species have non-retractile claws.

Because of their omnivorous diet, procyonids have lost some of the adaptations for flesh-eating found in their carnivorous relatives. While they do have carnassial
Carnassial
Carnassials are large teeth found in many carnivorous mammals, used for shearing flesh and bone in a scissor- or shear-like way. In the Carnivora, the carnassials are the modified last upper premolar and the first molar, but in the prehistoric creodonts, the carnassials were further back in the...

 teeth, these are poorly developed in most species, especially the raccoons. Apart from the kinkajou, procyonids have the dental formula
Dentition
Dentition pertains to the development of teeth and their arrangement in the mouth. In particular, the characteristic arrangement, kind, and number of teeth in a given species at a given age...

:
While coatis
Coati
Coatis, genera Nasua and Nasuella, also known as the Brazilian aardvark, Mexican tejón, hog-nosed coon, pizotes, crackoons and snookum bears, are members of the raccoon family . They are diurnal mammals native to South America, Central America, and south-western North America...

 are diurnal, all other procyonids are nocturnal. They are mostly solitary animals, and the mother raises litters of up to four young on her own.

Evolution

Fossils belonging to the genus Bassariscus
Bassariscus
Bassariscus is a genus in the family Procyonidae. There are two species in the genus: the ringtail or ring-tailed cat and the cacomistle . Genetic studies have suggested that the closest relatives of Bassariscus are raccoons.The genus was first described by Elliott Coues in 1887...

, which includes the modern ringtail and cacomistle, have been identified from the Miocene
Miocene
The Miocene is a geological epoch of the Neogene Period and extends from about . The Miocene was named by Sir Charles Lyell. Its name comes from the Greek words and and means "less recent" because it has 18% fewer modern sea invertebrates than the Pliocene. The Miocene follows the Oligocene...

 epoch, around 20 million years ago. It has been suggested that early procyonids were an offshoot of the canids
Canidae
Canidae is the biological family of carnivorous and omnivorous mammals that includes wolves, foxes, jackals, coyotes, and domestic dogs. A member of this family is called a canid . The Canidae family is divided into two tribes: Canini and Vulpini...

 that adapted to a more omnivorous diet.

Classification

Recent genetic studies have shown that the kinkajous were an early offshoot of the ancestral procyonid line and are not closely related to any of the other extant genera; coatis and olingos are closest relatives, while the closest relatives of the raccoons are the ringtails and cacomistles. These data are not yet reflected in the classification scheme, which groups kinkajous and olingos together on the basis of similarities in morphology
Morphology (biology)
In biology, morphology is a branch of bioscience dealing with the study of the form and structure of organisms and their specific structural features....

 which are now known to be an example of parallel evolution
Parallel evolution
Parallel evolution is the development of a similar trait in related, but distinct, species descending from the same ancestor, but from different clades.-Parallel vs...

.

There is considerable uncertainty over the correct classification of several members. The Red Panda
Red Panda
The red panda , is a small arboreal mammal native to the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China. It is the only species of the genus Ailurus. Slightly larger than a domestic cat, it has reddish-brown fur, a long, shaggy tail, and a waddling gait due to its shorter front legs...

 was previously classified in this family, but it is now classified it in its own family the Ailuridae
Ailuridae
Ailuridae is a family in the mammal order Carnivora. The family includes the Red Panda and its extinct relatives.-Classification history:...

, based on molecular biology studies. The status of the various olingo
Olingo
Olingos are small procyonids that comprise the genus Bassaricyon, native to the rainforests of Central and South America from Nicaragua to Peru. They are arboreal and nocturnal, and live at elevations from sea level to 2,000 m...

s is disputed: they may all be better regarded as subspecies
Subspecies
Subspecies in biological classification, is either a taxonomic rank subordinate to species, ora taxonomic unit in that rank . A subspecies cannot be recognized in isolation: a species will either be recognized as having no subspecies at all or two or more, never just one...

 of Bassaricyon gabbii.

Because of their general build, the Procyonidae are often viewed as smaller cousins of the bear family. This is apparent in their German names: a raccoon is called a Waschbär (washing bear, as he "washes" his food before eating), a coati is a Nasenbär (nose-bear) while a Kinkajou
Kinkajou
The kinkajou , also known as the honey bear , is a rainforest mammal of the family Procyonidae related to olingos, coatis, raccoons, and the ringtail and cacomistle. It is the only member of the genus Potos. Kinkajous may be mistaken for ferrets or monkeys, but are not closely related...

 is a Honigbär (honey-bear). Dutch follows suit, calling the animals wasbeer, neusbeer and rolstaartbeer respectively.
  • FAMILY PROCYONIDAE
    • Subfamily Procyoninae (9 species in 4 genera)
      • Tribe Procyonini
        • Subtribe Procyonina
          • Raccoons
            Procyon (genus)
            Procyon is a genus of nocturnal mammals, comprising three species commonly known as raccoons, in the family Procyonidae. The most familiar species, the common raccoon , is often known simply as "the" raccoon, as the two other raccoon species in the genus are native only to the tropics and are...

            , Procyon
            • Crab-eating Raccoon
              Crab-eating raccoon
              The Crab-eating Raccoon is a species of raccoon native to marshy and jungle areas of Central and South America . It is found from Costa Rica south through most areas of South America east of the Andes down to northern Argentina and Uruguay...

              , Procyon cancrivorus
            • Cozumel Raccoon
              Cozumel Raccoon
              The Cozumel raccoon , also called the pygmy raccoon, is a critically endangered species of raccoon endemic on Cozumel Island off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico.The pygmy raccoon goes by a variety of common names...

              , Procyon pygmaeus
            • Common Raccoon, Procyon lotor
        • Subtribe Nasuina
          • Nasua
            Nasua
            Nasua is a genus within the Raccoon family, Procyonidae. The three species within the genus Nasua are generally referred to as coatis. Two additional species of coatis, commonly known as mountain coatis, are placed in the genus Nasuella...

            • South American Coati
              South American Coati
              The South American Coati, or Ring-tailed Coati , is a species of coati from South America. In Brazilian Portuguese it is known as quati. It is native to Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Surinam, Uruguay and Venezuela. It is the southern replacement of its very...

               or Ring-tailed Coati, Nasua nasua
            • White-nosed Coati, Nasua narica
            • Cozumel Island Coati
              Cozumel Island Coati
              The Cozumel Island Coati is a coati from the Mexican island of Cozumel. It is in the family Procyonidae, which also includes raccoons, olingos, and Kinkajous....

              , Nasua nelsoni
          • Nasuella
            Nasuella
            Mountain coatis are two species of procyonid mammals from the genus Nasuella. Unlike the larger coatis from the genus Nasua, mountain coatis only weigh and are endemic to the north Andean highlands in South America. Until recently only a single species with three subspecies was recognized. In 2009...

            • Western Mountain Coati, Nasuella olivacea
            • Eastern Mountain Coati, Nasuella meridensis
      • Tribe Bassariscini
        • Bassariscus
          Bassariscus
          Bassariscus is a genus in the family Procyonidae. There are two species in the genus: the ringtail or ring-tailed cat and the cacomistle . Genetic studies have suggested that the closest relatives of Bassariscus are raccoons.The genus was first described by Elliott Coues in 1887...

          • Ringtail
            Ring-tailed Cat
            The ringtail is a mammal of the raccoon family , native to arid regions of North America. It is also known as the ringtail cat, ring-tailed cat or miner's cat, and is also sometimes mistakenly called a "civet cat"...

            , Bassariscus astutus
          • Cacomistle
            Cacomistle
            The cacomistle is a nocturnal, arboreal and omnivorous member of the carnivoran family Procyonidae. Its preferred habitats are wet, tropical, evergreen woodlands and mountain forests, though seasonally it will range into drier deciduous forests.Nowhere in its range is B. sumichrasti common...

            , Bassariscus sumichrasti
    • Subfamily Potosinae (6 species in 2 genera)
      • Potos
        • Kinkajou
          Kinkajou
          The kinkajou , also known as the honey bear , is a rainforest mammal of the family Procyonidae related to olingos, coatis, raccoons, and the ringtail and cacomistle. It is the only member of the genus Potos. Kinkajous may be mistaken for ferrets or monkeys, but are not closely related...

          , Potos flavus
      • Olingo
        Olingo
        Olingos are small procyonids that comprise the genus Bassaricyon, native to the rainforests of Central and South America from Nicaragua to Peru. They are arboreal and nocturnal, and live at elevations from sea level to 2,000 m...

        , Bassaricyon
        • Bushy-tailed Olingo
          Bushy-tailed Olingo
          The bushy-tailed olingo , also known simply as the olingo, is a tree-dwelling member of the family Procyonidae, which also includes raccoons. It was the first species of olingo to be described, and is considered by some authors to be the only genuine olingo species. Its scientific name honors...

           or Gabbi's Olingo, Bassaricyon gabbii
        • Allen's Olingo
          Allen's Olingo
          Allen's Olingo is a species of olingo from South America, where it is known from Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru....

          , Bassaricyon alleni
        • Beddard's Olingo
          Beddard's Olingo
          Beddard's Olingo, Bassaricyon beddardi, is an olingo species from South America. It is found in Brazil, Guyana and Venezuela. Olingos appear similar to the kinkajou ; however, they lack a prehensile tail, and are not closely related. Their tails are bushier and have faint black bands, like most...

          , Bassaricyon beddardi
        • Harris's Olingo
          Harris's Olingo
          Harris's Olingo is a species of olingo from Central America, where it is found in the Cordillera Central of Costa Rica. Because of ongoing taxonomic uncertainty this species is considered to be data deficient....

          , Bassaricyon lasius
        • Chiriqui Olingo
          Chiriqui Olingo
          The Chiriqui Olingo is a species of olingo found in Central America. It is known only from Chiriqui Province in western Panama.- External links :*...

          , Bassaricyon pauli
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