Constanza Napolitano

Dr. Constanza Napolitano is a researcher in the Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity (IEB) at University of Chile. Her research is focused on threatened small wild felids in Chile, particularly on the impacts of human landscape perturbation on wild populations. Constanza investigates the effects of habitat fragmentation on population genetic diversity, the impact of pathogens transmitted by free-roaming domestic cats and the genetic diversity of immune genes as adaptive potential in the face of current disease threats.

As a member of the IUCN Cat Specialist Group and Guigna Working Group, Constanza led the IUCN Red List Guigna assessment. She is also a member of the Andean Cat Alliance (AGA), where she coordinates the Andean Cat Global Genetics Project. Constanza is particularly engaged in bridging the gap between research and conservation, strengthening collaboration with Chilean environmental agencies to integrate basic research into management decisions. She leads a long-term monitoring network for Andean Cat populations in close collaboration with CONAF, the Chilean agency administrating protected areas. Constanza is a core group CONAF assessor for the Andean Cat and Guigna National Conservation Plans in Chile.


  • Ph.D. Science, University of Chile.
  • B.S., DVM, University of Chile.


Napolitano C, Sacristán I, Acuña F, Aguilar E, García S, López MJ, Poulin E. 2016. Conflict between guignas (Leopardus guigna) and human populations in central-southern Chile. In: Conflict between felids and humans in Latin America. Neotropical Wildlife Editorial Series [in spanish]. Castaño-Uribe, C., C. A. Lasso, R. Hoogesteijn, A. Diaz-Pulido y E. Payán (Editores). Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humboldt (IAvH), Bogotá, D. C., Colombia. Pp. 389-399.

Aravena F, Saavedra MA, Sanderson J, Napolitano C. 2016. First record of Andean cat (Leopardus jacobita) near Los Flamencos National Reserve in Antofagasta region [in spanish]. Biodiversidata 4: 98-104.

Napolitano C, Díaz D, Sanderson J, Johnson WE, Ritland K, Ritland CE, Poulin E. 2015. Reduced genetic diversity and increased dispersal in Guigna (Leopardus guigna) in Chilean fragmented landscapes. Journal of Heredity, special issue on Latin American Conservation Genetics, 106 (S1): 522-536. doi: 10.1093/jhered/esv025.

Napolitano C, Gálvez N, Bennett M, Acosta-Jamett G, Sanderson J. 2015. Leopardus guigna. In: IUCN 2015. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Schneider A, Henegar C, Day K, Absher D, Napolitano C, Silveira L, David VA, O’Brien SJ, Menotti-Raymond M, Barsh GS, Eizirik E. 2015. Recurrent Evolution of Melanism in South American felids. PLoS Genetics 10(2): e1004892. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1004892.

Mora M, Napolitano C, Ortega R, Poulin E, Pizarro J. 2015. Feline immunodeficiency virus and feline leukemia virus infection in free-ranging guignas (Leopardus guigna) and sympatric domestic cats in human perturbed landscapes on Chiloé Island, Chile. Journal of Wildlife Diseases 51: 199-208.

Napolitano C, Johnson WE, Sanderson J, O’Brien SJ, Hoelzel AR, Freer R, Dunstone N, Ritland K, Ritland CE, Poulin E. 2014. Phylogeography and population history of Leopardus guigna, the smallest American felid. Conservation Genetics 15: 631-653.

Napolitano C, Sanderson J, Johnson WE, O’Brien SJ, Hoelzel R, Freer R, Dunstone N, Ritland K, Poulin E. 2013. Population Genetics of the felid Leopardus guigna in southern South America: Identifying intraspecific Units for Conservation. In: Molecular Population Genetics, Phylogenetics, Evolutionary Biology and Conservation of the Neotropical Carnivores, Ruiz- García, M. & Shostell, J. (Eds). Nova Science Publishers.

Cabello J, Esperón F, Napolitano C, Hidalgo E, Dávila JA, Millán J. 2013. Molecular identification of a novel gammaherpesvirus in the endangered Darwin’s fox (Lycalopex fulvipes). Journal of General Virology 94: 2745-2749.

Cabello J, Altet L, Napolitano C, Sastre N, Hidalgo E, Dávila JA, Millán J. 2013. Survey of infectious agents in the endangered Darwin’s fox (Lycalopex fulvipes): high prevalence and diversity of hemotrophic mycoplasmas. Veterinary Microbiology 167: 448-454.

Napolitano C, Bennett M, Johnson WE, O’Brien SJ, Marquet PA, Barría I, Poulin E, Iriarte A. 2008. Ecological and biogeographical inferences on two sympatric and enigmatic Andean cat species using genetic identification of faecal samples. Molecular Ecology 17:678-690.

Cossios D, Beltran-Saavedra F, Bennett M, Bernal N, Fajardo U, Lucherini M, Merino, MJ, Marino J, Napolitano C, Palacios R, Perovic P, Ramirez Y, Villalba L, Walker S, Sillero-Zubiri C. 2007. Manual of Survey Methods for High Andean Carnivores. Alianza Gato Andino. Buenos Aires, Argentina [In Spanish].

Merino, MJ. Editor. 2006. Guide for High Andes Educators. Chapter “The High Plateau”. GECM, UNS, Andean cat Alliance. Bahía Blanca, Argentina. 77pp.

Delgado E, Villalba L, Sanderson J, Napolitano C, Berna M, Esquivel J. 2004. Capture of an Andean cat in Bolivia. Cat News 40: 2.

Villalba L, Lucherini M, Walker S, Cossios D, Iriarte A, Sanderson J, Gallardo G, Alfaro F, Napolitano C, Sillero-Zubiri C. 2004. The Andean cat: A conservation Action Plan. Andean Cat Alliance. La Paz, Bolivia.