Domain - Eukarya
Kingdom – Animalia
Phylum – Chordata
Class – Mammalia
Order – Carnivora
Family – Eupleridae
Genus – Cryptoprocta
Species – ferox

Cryptoprocta ferox, better known as the fossa, is a carnivorous mammal, which led to its designation in the class Mammalia and the order Carnivora. Currently, the fossa is classified as being in the family Eupleridae (National History Museum 2013), although they once belonged to the family Viverridae (Kohncke & Leonhardt, 1986). This is because all carnivorous mammals native to Madagascar make up this family. However, this classification is highly debated among researchers because it cannot be shown that all carnivores native to Madagascar have a common ancestor. Many researchers believe they show more traits similar to the family Felidae (the cat family) or the family Herpestidae (the mongoose family). Its feline characteristics have made scientists believe that the fossa belongs to Felidae, however, DNA findings have shown that they are actually more similar to Herpestidae (Sunquist 2000). But despite what their DNA tells scientists, for now, they remain in Eupleridae. Next, the fossa is put into the genus Cryptoprocta, which translates to “hidden in the hinder parts.” The animals in this genus have a pouch that covers their anus and secretes a foul-smelling odor. Finally, ferox directly translates to “fierce” in Latin (Tompsett 2013). The fierce nature of the fossa can be seen here.


These pictures show the physical similarities between the fossa (top right) with a member of the Felidae family, the cougar (top left) and a member of the Herpestidae family, the yellow mongoose (bottom).

                                             Yellow Mongoose            

Photo credits:
Wikimedia Commons

Return Home   Habitat >