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Neofelis nebulosa, Clouded Leopard
Dr. Ashley Gosselin-Ildari - Duke University
Neofelis nebulosa
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National Museum of Natural History (USNM 282124)

Image processing: Mr. Kevin Chovanec
Publication Date: 19 Feb 2007


The clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) is a Neofelis nebulosanocturnal species geographically distributed from Nepal to southeastern China, and is additionally found in Hainan, Tawian, the Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, and Borneo (Line and Ricciuti, 1985; Yamada and Durrant, 1989; Nowak, 1991). The species inhabits tropical rainforests up to 2,500 m in elevation (Yamada and Durrant, 1989; Nowak, 1991). The coat of the clouded leopard is yellow or gray with dark markings in the form of circles or ovals. Body length ranges from 61 cm to 106 cm and tail length is between 55 cm and 92 cm. Individuals typically weight between 16 kg and 23 kg (Nowak, 1991).

The clouded leopard belongs to the group Felidae, which includes all wild cats. Felidae includes four genera and 37 species (Gunderson, 1976; Nowak, 1991). The clouded leopard is the only species within the genus Neofelis (Nowak, 1991). Felids occur in North and South America, Europe, Asia, and the African mainland.

Felids are characterized by having large canines, well-developed carnassials, and reduced cheek teeth (Gunerson, 1976). Additionally, most species have retractable claws. These long, curved claws are used to catch and manipulate prey. Felids prey on a variety of mammals and birds, but also may hunt reptiles and fish. Hunting is characterized by a long stalking period and then a quick attack (Nowak, 1991).

Within Felidae, the clouded leopard is distinctive in having relatively larger canines than other extant species (Nowak, 1991). Its diet consists mainly of birds and mammals. The clouded leopard is a highly arboreal species and will often hunt in the trees or attack prey by pouncing from above (Nowak, 1991). It is a difficult animal to study because it is nocturnal, and when active, individuals spend much of their time in trees. As a result, little is known of the ecology and life history of the clouded leopard (Yamada and Durrant, 1989).

Additional Information on the Skull

Click on the thumbnails below for labeled images of the skull in standard anatomical views.

Dorsal view

Lateral view

Ventral view

About the Species

This specimen, a male, lived in the National Zoological Park until its death on 17 June 1946. It was made available to The University of Texas High-Resolution X-ray CT Facility for scanning courtesy of Dr. Blaire Van Valkenburgh of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Los Angeles. Funding for scanning and image processing was provided by Dr. Van Valkenburgh and by a National Science Foundation Digital Libraries Initiative grant to Dr. Timothy Rowe of The University of Texas at Austin. The clouded leopard is one of several carnivorans included in ongoing research of respiratory turbinates by Dr. Van Valkenburgh.

About this Specimen

This specimen, a male, was scanned by Matthew Colbert on 27 June 2006 along the horizontal axis for a total of 354 1024x1024 pixel slices. Each slice is 0.25 mm thick, with an interslice spacing of 0.25 mm and a field of reconstruction of 194 mm.

About the


Gunderson, H. L. 1976. Mammalogy. McGraw-Hill Book Company, New York, NY. 483 pp.

Line, L., and E. R. Ricciuti. 1985. The Audubon Society Book of Wild Cats. Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers, New York, NY. 256 pp.

Nowak, R. M. 1991. Walker's Mammals of the World, Volume 2. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Balitmore, MD. 1629 pp.

Yamada, J. K., and B. S. Durrant. 1989. Reproductive parameters of clouded leopards (Neofelis nebulosa). Zoo Biology 8:223-231.


Neofelis nebulosa page on the Animal Diversity Web (University of Michigan Museum of Zoology)

Additional information and images of N. nebulosa at Big Cat Rescue

Videos and images of N. nebulosa from ARKive

& Links

Front page image.

Neofelis nebulosa

To cite this page: Dr. Ashley Gosselin-Ildari, 2007, "Neofelis nebulosa" (On-line), Digital Morphology. Accessed July 22, 2024 at http://digimorph.org/specimens/Neofelis_nebulosa/male/.

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