Hip and Thigh Anatomy of the Clouded Leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) with Comparisons to the Domestic Cat (Felis catus)



The clouded leopard (N. nebulosa) is an endangered felid native to Southeast Asia. It is considered to be the largest and most acrobatic of the arboreal cats. To date, published studies have focused on cranial morphology, particularly osteology and dentition. This study describes the hip and thigh morphology of N. nebulosa and compares it to the domestic cat (F. catus). A number of statistically significant differences were observed between N. nebulosa and F. catus that were primarily associated with muscle attachment surface areas rather than differences in overall morphology. F. catus had proportionally larger attachment areas for Mm. gluteus profundus, tensor fasciae latae, and biceps femoris, while N. nebulosa had larger attachment areas for Mm. gluteus medius, rectus femoris, and semitendinosus. By comparison, surface area analysis of nonfelid species (C. latrans and V. vulpes) showed more differences when compared to felids demonstrating that this analytical technique is useful for differentiating closely-related species from more distant ones. These results suggest that muscle map area analysis may be useful for comparing phylogenetic relationships between and within groups of different species and may also suggest variations in locomotor habits. Anat Rec, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.