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Herpestes auropunctatus

Basic information
Scientific name Herpestes auropunctatus

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Major synonym Urva auropunctata
Common names Small Indian Mongoose
Higher taxon Herpestidae, Carnivora, Mammalia
Natural range Myanmar, southern continental China, Haihan Island, India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq
Habitat Forest, grassland, farm area, etc. at from lowland to upland (about 2,000m)
Invasion information
Range in Japan Okinawajima Is., Amamioshima Is., and mainland of Kagoshima Pref. (Kiire area, Kagoshima City).
In 2012, this species occurred in Satsumasendai, Kagoshima Pref., where whether the mongoose is established or not is unknown.
Range in Japan
Origin From river mouse of Ganges River to Okinawajima. From Okinawajima to Amamioshima. Origin of the Kagoshima mainland population is unknown.
Date Okinawajima Is.: 1910; Amamioshima Is.: 1979; Kagoshima City: 1980 or earlier
Route Deliberate: In Okinawajima Is., introduced for biological control of rats and the pit viper (Protobothrops flavoviridis). In Amamioshima, possibly for biological control of the pit viper. Unknown for mainland of Kagoshima where P. flavoviridis do not occur.
Impact Actually: Predation on various small terrestrial animals. Damage on agriculture.
Potentially: Zoonosis. Leptopiruria was actually carried by Okinawa population, and Canine madness was carried by Antilles populations.
Native organism(s) affected: Various small terrestrial animals such as Small mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and insects, including many endangered and endemic species (Pentalagus furnessi, Diplothrix legata, Tokudaia muenninki, T. osimensis, Crocidura watesei, Gallirallus okinawae, Garrulus lidthi, Luscinia komadori, Ateuchosaurus pellopleurus, Odorrana narina, O. amamiensis, O. ishikawae, O. splendida, Babina holsti, B. subaspera, Limnonectes namiyei, etc.). Some of these species have exhibited population recovery after control of mongoose. In contrast, the mongoose may not be effective for control of the pit viper.
Damages on chicken farming, banana, mango, citrus, etc.
Regulation in Japan Import, transport and keeping are prohibited in Japan by the Invasive Alien Species Act.
Introduced range in other countries Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Surinam, Hawaii, Fiji, etc.
Reference Notes
  • Abe et al. (1994) A Pictorial Guide to the Mammals of Japan. Tokai University Press. (in Jpn)
  • Ecol Soc Japan (ed) (2002) Handbook of Alien Species in Japan. Chijin-Shokan. (in Jpn)
  • Izawa et al. (ed) (1996) Encyclopedia of Animals in Japan 2, Mammals 2. Heibonsha. (in Jpn)
  • Patou et al. (2009) Molecular phylogeny of the Herpestidae (Mammalia, Carnivora) with a special emphasis on the Asian Herpestes. Mol Phylogenet Evol. 53, 69-80.
  • Veron et al. (2007) Systematic status and biogeography of the Javan and small Indian mongooses (Herpestidae, Carnivora). Zool Scr. 35:1-10.
  • Watari et al. (2011) New detection of a 30-year-old population of introduced mongoose Herpestes auropunctatus on Kyushu Island, Japan. Biol Invasions. 13:269-276.
  • Watari (2011) Toward recovery: mongoose management and the japanese herpetofauna. Bull Herpetol Soc Jpn. 2011(2), 137-147 (in Jpn with English abst)
  • Yamada et al. (eds) (2011) Invasive Alien Mammals in japan: Biology of Control Strategy and Conservation. Univ. Tokyo Press (in Jpn)
  • The Invasive Alien Species Act (Accessed on 2014-2-19)
  • etc.
100 of the World's Worst Invasive Alien Species, 100 of the Japan's Worst Invasive Alien Species

Recent molecular systematic studies suggested taxonomic changes of this species and genus. According to these studies, the invasive populations should be placed in Herpestes auropunctatus (“Small Indian mongoose”, rather than “Javan mongoose”).