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Keywords:

  • biogeography;
  • China;
  • conservation;
  • cryptic species;
  • endemism;
  • morphometrics;
  • Sumatra;
  • taxonomy;
  • zoological gardens;
  • zoonoses

Hog-badgers (mustelid carnivorans classified in the genus Arctonyx) are distributed throughout East and Southeast Asia, including much of China, the eastern Indian Subcontinent, Indochina and the large continental Asian island of Sumatra. Arctonyx is usually regarded as monotypic, comprising the single species A. collaris F. Cuvier, 1825, but taxonomic boundaries in the genus have never been revised on the basis of sizeable series from throughout this geographical range. Based on a review of most available specimens in world museums, we recognize three distinctive species within the genus, based on craniometric analyses, qualitative craniodental features, external comparisons, and geographical and ecological considerations. Arctonyx albogularis (Blyth, 1853) is a shaggy-coated, medium-sized badger widely distributed in temperate Asia, from Tibet and the Himalayan region to eastern and southern China. Arctonyx collaris F. Cuvier, 1825, is an extremely large, shorter-haired badger, distributed throughout Southeast Asia, from eastern India to Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. The world's largest extant badger, A. collaris co-occurs with A. albogularis in eastern India and probably in southern China, and fossil comparisons indicate that its geographical range may have extended into central China in the middle Pleistocene. The disjunctly distributed species Arctonyx hoevenii (Hubrecht, 1891), originally described within the order ‘Edentata’ by a remarkable misunderstanding, is the smallest and darkest member of the genus and is endemic to the Barisan mountain chain of Sumatra. Apart from A. hoevenii, no other Arctonyx occurs on the Sunda Shelf below peninsular Thailand. The natural history of each species of Arctonyx, so far as is known, is briefly reviewed. No claim to original US Government works. Journal compilation © 2008 The Linnean Society of London, Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2008, 154, 353–385.