Although Southeast Asia has a high diversity of small carnivore species, little is known about their distributions and ecology, and several species are now threatened with extinction. We predicted the distributions of 8 civet and mongoose species within Southeast Asia using ecological niche modeling, determined their habitat/ elevation niche preferences, examined the interspecific differences in these 2 niche parameters, and investigated possible factors that could have affected these distribution and niche patterns. We found a tendency for each civet and mongoose species to separate spatially from related species on geographical, habitat, and elevation gradients, and that 3 pairs of civet and mongoose species showed similar distribution patterns and habitat/ elevation preferences. The large Indian civet (Viverra zibetha) and crab-eating mongoose (Herpestes urva) have similar distributions throughout mainland Southeast Asia, are found over a broad range of elevations, and occur primarily in evergreen forest. The large-spotted civet (Viverra megaspila) occurs in lowland areas across northern Southeast Asia and is found most frequently in deciduous forest (and less frequently in evergreen forest). The Malay civet (Viverra tangalunga) and short-tailed mongoose (Herpestes brachyurus) both occur south of the ThaiMalaysian border in Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines and are found primarily in lowlands and evergreen forest. The small Indian civet (Viverricula indica) and Javan mongoose (Herpestes javanicus) are found on mainland Southeast Asia and parts of Indonesia, occur mainly at lower elevations, and appear to have no preference for forest type. The collared mongoose (Herpestes semitorquatus) is found on Borneo (and possibly Sumatra) and might occur more frequently at higher elevations and in disturbed evergreen forests. Interspecific competition, biogeography, and human interference are discussed as possible factors to explain these distribution and niche patterns.
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