Procyonidae facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Procyonids
Common Raccoon
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Suborder: Caniformia
Superfamily: Musteloidea
Family: Procyonidae
Gray, 1825
Genera

Plesictis
Angustictis
Bassariscus
Probassariscus
Edaphocyon
Arctonasua
Cyonasua
Amphinasua
Chapalmalania
Protoprocyon
Paranasua
Procyon
Nasua
Nasuella
Bassaricynoides
Parapotos
Bassaricyon
Potos

Procyonidae is a New World family of the order Carnivora. It comprises the raccoons, coatis, kinkajous, olingos, olinguitos, ringtails, and cacomistles. Procyonids inhabit a wide range of environments and are generally omnivorous.

Characteristics

Procyonids are relatively small animals, with generally slender bodies and long tails, though the common raccoon tends to be bulky.

Because of their general build, the Procyonidae are often popularly 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 is a Honigbär (honey-bear). Dutch follows suit, calling the animals wasbeer, neusbeer and rolstaartbeer respectively. However, it is now believed that procyonids are more closely related to mustelids than to bears.

Due to their omnivorous diet, procyonids have lost some of the adaptations for flesh-eating found in their carnivorous relatives. While they do have carnassial teeth, these are poorly developed in most species, especially the raccoons.

Classification

There has been considerable historical uncertainty over the correct classification of several members. The red panda was previously classified in this family, but it is now classified in its own family, the Ailuridae, based on molecular biology studies. The status of the various olingos was disputed: some regarded them all as subspecies of Bassaricyon gabbii before DNA sequence data demonstrated otherwise.

The traditional classification scheme shown below on the left predates the recent revolution in our understanding of procyonid phylogeny based on genetic sequence analysis. This outdated classification groups kinkajous and olingos together on the basis of similarities in morphology that are now known to be an example of parallel evolution; similarly, coatis are shown as being most closely related to raccoons, when in fact they are closest to olingos. Below right is a cladogram showing the results of the recent molecular studies. Genus Nasuella was not included in these studies, but in a separate study was found to nest within Nasua.

Procyonidae  



Bassaricyon (olingos and olinguito)



Nasua and Nasuella (coatis)





Procyon (raccoons)



Bassariscus (ringtail and cacomistle)





Potos (kinkajou)



  • FAMILY PROCYONIDAE
    • Subfamily Procyoninae (nine species in four genera)
      • Tribe Procyonini
        • Subtribe Procyonina
          • Raccoons, Procyon
            • Crab-eating raccoon, Procyon cancrivorus
            • Cozumel raccoon, Procyon pygmaeus
            • Common raccoon, Procyon lotor
        • Subtribe Nasuina
          • Nasua
            • South American coati or ring-tailed coati, Nasua nasua
            • White-nosed coati, Nasua narica
          • Nasuella
            • Western mountain coati, Nasuella olivacea
            • Eastern mountain coati, Nasuella meridensis
      • Tribe Bassariscini
        • Bassariscus
          • Ringtail, Bassariscus astutus
          • Cacomistle, Bassariscus sumichrasti
    • Subfamily Potosinae (five species in two genera)
      • Potos
      • Bassaricyon
        • Northern olingo or Gabbi's olingo, Bassaricyon gabbii
        • Eastern lowland olingo, Bassaricyon alleni
        • Western lowland olingo, Bassaricyon medius
        • Olinguito, Bassaricyon neblina

Phylogeny

Several recent molecular studies have resolved the phylogenetic relationships between the procyonids, as illustrated in the cladogram below.

Procyonidae
Potos

Potos flavus (kinkajou)




Procyon

Procyon cancrivorus (crab eating raccoon)



Procyon lotor (common raccoon) Wild animals of North America, intimate studies of big and little creatures of the mammal kingdom (Page 410) (white background).jpg



Bassariscus

Bassariscus sumichrasti (cacomistle)



Bassariscus astutus (ringtail)





Bassaricyon



Bassaricyon medius (western lowland olingo) ZooKeys - Bassaricyon medius (white background).jpg



Bassaricyon alleni (eastern lowland olingo) ZooKeys - Bassaricyon alleni (white background).jpg




Bassaricyon gabbii (northern olingo) ZooKeys - Bassaricyon gabbii (white background).jpg




Bassaricyon neblina (olinguito) ZooKeys - Bassaricyon neblina (white background).jpg



Nasuina


Nasua nasua (ring-tailed coati)




Nasua narica (white-nosed coati)


Nasuella

Nasuella olivacea (western mountain coati)



Nasuella meridensis (eastern mountain coati)










Procyonidae Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.