Please click on the audio file player below to hear how I pronounce the word ‘jaguarundi’.
The jaguarundi is different species of cat to the much larger jaguar. You would have thought that there might be a connection because the word is a combination of ‘jaguar’ (one of the big cats) and ‘undi’. ‘Undi’ is used in the Indian language telugu where it seems to have the effect of making a demand polite. That does does not help me in trying to work out how the naming of this small wild cat came about.
Jaguarundi. Photo in public domain.
The scientific name or Latin name is Herpailurus yagouaroundi or Herpailurus yagouarondi. I can’t find out how the discoverer of this species, Lacépède named this cat in 1809 and why he wanted to add a suffix to the well known ‘jaguar’. There is no close taxonomic connection.