Tuesday 21 May
Diard’s clouded leopard (Neofelis diardi)
What’s the World’s Favourite Species?Find out here.
Diard’s clouded leopard fact file
- Find out more
- Print factsheet
Diard’s clouded leopard description
Previously considered to be a subspecies of the clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa), Diard’s clouded leopard has recently been recognised as a distinct species. Aside from genetic and anatomical differences (3) (4), Diard’s clouded leopard can be recognised by its darker, grey or greyish-yellow fur and smaller cloud-like markings (3). These markings, from which the common name is derived, comprise ellipses partially edged in black, with the insides a darker colour than the background colour of the pelt (5). The limbs and underbelly are marked with large black ovals, and the back of the neck is conspicuously marked with two black bars (6). The thickly-furred tail is exceptionally long, often equivalent to the body length, and is boldly marked with black rings (5). Well adapted to forest life, Diard’s clouded leopard has stout legs and broad paws, which make it excellent at climbing trees and creeping through thick forest (2). Perhaps the most remarkable feature of clouded leopards is that, in proportion to their body size, they possess the largest canines of all the cats (7) and Diard’s clouded leopard has, on average, even larger and more knife-like canines than Neofelis nebulosa (4). Indeed, although they are considered to be of an unrelated evolutionary lineage, clouded leopards have independently evolved teeth and jaws that are remarkably similar to the primitive members of the extinct group of sabretoothed cats, such as the 8-10 million year-old, puma-sized Paramachairodus from Europe and Asia (8).
- Also known as
- Enkuli clouded leopard, Sunda clouded leopard, Sunda Islands clouded leopard, Sundaland clouded leopard. Top
- Smithsonian National Zoological Park:
- The Clouded Leopard Project:
- An animal which lives or spends a large amount of time in trees.
- A population usually restricted to a geographical area that differs from other populations of the same species, but not to the extent of being classified as a separate species.
- Hoofed mammals.
- IUCN Red List (May, 2009)
- Nowak, R.M. (1999) Walker's Mammals of the World. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland.
- Kitchener, A.C., Beaumont, M.A. and Richardson, D. (2006) Geographical variation in the clouded leopard, Neofelis nebulosa, reveals two species. Current Biology, 16: 2377 - 2383.
- Christiansen, P. (2008) Species distinction and evolutionary differences in the clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) and Diard’s clouded leopard (Neofelis diardi). Journal of Mammalogy, 89: 1435 - 1446.
- CAT SSC (May, 2009)
- Nowell, K. and Jackson, P. (1996) Wild Cats. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.
- Macdonald, D. (2001) The New Encyclopedia of Mammals. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
- Christiansen, P. (2006) Sabertooth characters in the clouded leopard (Neofelisnebulosa Griffiths 1821). Journal of Morphology, 267: 1186 - 1198.
- Matsuda, I., Tuuga, A. and Higashi, S. (2008) Clouded leopard (Neofelis diardi) predation on proboscis monkeys (Nasalis larvatus) in Sabah, Borneo. Primates, 49: 227 - 231.
- The Clouded Leopard Project (May, 2009)
- view the contents of, and Material on, the website;
- download and retain copies of the Material on their personal systems in digital form in low resolution for their own personal use;
- teachers, lecturers and students may incorporate the Material in their educational material (including, but not limited to, their lesson plans, presentations, worksheets and projects) in hard copy and digital format for use within a registered educational establishment, provided that the integrity of the Material is maintained and that copyright ownership and authorship is appropriately acknowledged by the End User.
Diard’s clouded leopard biology
Like the mainland clouded leopard, Diard’s clouded leopard has impressive tree climbing abilities, and is capable of running head-first down tree trunks, climbing about on the underside of branches, and hanging upside down by its hind feet with the tail providing balance. The ability to climb trees allows it to forage for food in the canopy although it mainly uses the tree branches for resting (5). Interestingly, it appears to spend less time in the trees in regions where tigers and leopards are absent (1). It was originally thought that the long canines were for preying on large ungulates (7), though recent studies show that this species feeds on a variety of terrestrial and arboreal prey including proboscis monkeys, grey leaf monkeys, young sambar deer, barking deer, mouse deer, bearded pigs, palm civets, fish and porcupines (1). Prey is either stalked on the ground or ambushed from above (6) (9).
Clouded leopards are believed to be solitary, except when breeding or accompanied by cubs (10). Most information about clouded leopard reproduction comes from captive individuals (6), but as these generally comprise the mainland species, very little is known about the reproductive biology of Diard’s clouded leopard (3).Top
Diard’s clouded leopard range
Diard’s clouded leopard is believed to be restricted to the islands of Sumatra and Borneo (1).Top
Diard’s clouded leopard habitat
A forest-dwelling species, Diard’s clouded leopard is most abundant in hilly, montane areas of rainforest on Sumatra, but may also be found in lowland rainforest on Borneo. Small numbers may occur in areas of logged forest and around the outskirts of oil-palm plantations (1).Top
Diard’s clouded leopard status
Classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List and is listed on Appendix I of CITES (1). Subspecies: Neofelis diardi borneensis and Neofelis diardi diardi are both listed as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List (1).Top
Diard’s clouded leopard threats
The principal threat to Diard’s clouded leopard is the catastrophic level of deforestation that is occurring on Sumatra and Borneo as a result of logging and clearance for oil palm plantations. In addition, accidental capture in snare traps used to catch other animals, as well as deliberate poaching of this species’ commercially valuable pelt are having a significant impact on its population (1).Top
Diard’s clouded leopard conservation
Diard’s clouded leopard receives national protection in Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sabah, Sarawak and Brunei, as well as international protection through its listing on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) (1). It also occurs in most protected areas along the Sumatran mountain spine, and in the majority of protected areas on Borneo. Nevertheless, given the severity of habitat loss within this species’ range, as well as the illegal hunting that is occurring, increased protective measures are urgently required (1).
The recognition of Diard’s clouded leopard as a distinct species has important conservation implications, as unlike the mainland clouded leopard, there is not currently a captive breeding program in place (3). Hopefully, given its new status, efforts will be made to establish a healthy captive population.Top
Find out more
To learn more about clouded leopard conservation visit:
Authenticated (11/05/2009) by Dr Per Christiansen.Top
More »Related species
Play the Team WILD game
MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.
Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials
Copyright in this website and materials contained on this website (Material) belongs to Wildscreen or its licensors.
Visitors to this website (End Users) are entitled to:
End Users shall not copy or otherwise extract, alter or manipulate Material other than as permitted in these Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials.
Additional use of flagged material
Green flagged material
Certain Material on this website (Licence 4 Material) displays a green flag next to the Material and is available for not-for-profit conservation or educational use. This material may be used by End Users, who are individuals or organisations that are in our opinion not-for-profit, for their not-for-profit conservation or not-for-profit educational purposes. Low resolution, watermarked images may be copied from this website by such End Users for such purposes. If you require high resolution or non-watermarked versions of the Material, please contact Wildscreen with details of your proposed use.
Creative commons material
Certain Material on this website has been licensed to Wildscreen under a Creative Commons Licence. These images are clearly marked with the Creative Commons buttons and may be used by End Users only in the way allowed by the specific Creative Commons Licence under which they have been submitted. Please see http://creativecommons.org for details.
Any other use
Please contact the copyright owners directly (copyright and contact details are shown for each media item) to negotiate terms and conditions for any use of Material other than those expressly permitted above. Please note that many of the contributors to ARKive are commercial operators and may request a fee for such use.
Save as permitted above, no person or organisation is permitted to incorporate any copyright material from this website into any other work or publication in any format (this includes but is not limited to: websites, Apps, CDs, DVDs, intranets, extranets, signage, digital communications or on printed materials for external or other distribution). Use of the Material for promotional, administrative or for-profit purposes is not permitted.