Amazon weasel

The Amazon weasel (Mustela africana), also known as the tropical weasel, is a species of weasel native to South America. It was first identified from a museum specimen mislabelled as coming from Africa, hence the scientific name.[2]

Amazon weasel
Scientific classification
Kingdom:
Phylum:
Class:
Order:
Family:
Subfamily:
Genus:
Species:
M. africana
Binomial name
Mustela africana
Desmarest, 1818
Amazon Weasel area
Amazon weasel range

Description

The largest of the three species of South American weasel, Amazon weasels measure 43 to 52 cm (17 to 20 in) in total length, including a tail 16 to 21 cm (6.3 to 8.3 in) long. They have a typical body form for weasels, with a long, slender, torso and short legs and ears. They have short fur which varies from reddish to dark brown on the upper body, and is pale orange-tan on the underparts. A stripe of fur the same colour as that on the upper body runs down the centre of the chest and throat. The whiskers are short and the soles of the feet almost hairless. Females have three pairs of teats.[2]

Distribution and habitat

Amazon weasels are known to inhabit the Amazon basin in northern Brazil and eastern Peru and Ecuador. However, the full extent of their range is unknown, and they probably also inhabit southern Colombia, Venezuela and the Guyanas, as well as northern Bolivia. The region is covered by tropical rainforest, and, while detailed habitat preferences are unknown, the weasel has mostly been recovered near rivers.[1][2]

Two subspecies are recognised:[2]

  • M. a. africana (north-eastern Brazil)
  • M. a. stolzmanni (north-western Brazil, Peru, Ecuador)

Biology and behaviour

The Amazon weasel is rarely seen and little is known of its habits. They eat rodents and other small mammals, and have been reported to construct burrows in the stumps of hollow trees.[3] They have been found from sea level to 1,250 m (4,100 ft),[2] and have been reported to swim in rivers or estuaries, sometimes far from the shore.[4]

References

  1. ^ a b Emmons, L. & Helgen, K. (2008). "Mustela africana". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2008. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 6 March 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d e Ramírez-Chaves, H.E.; Arango-Guerra, H.L.; Patterson, B.D. (2014). "Mustela africana (Carnivora: Mustelidae)". Mammalian Species. 46 (916–7): 110–115. doi:10.1644/917.1.
  3. ^ Emmons, L.H. (1997). Neotropical Rainforest Mammals, 2nd ed. University of Chicago Press ISBN 0-226-20721-8
  4. ^ Tate, G.H.H. (August 1931). "Random observations on habits of South American mammals". Journal of Mammalogy. 12 (3): 248–256. doi:10.2307/1373874.
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Catopuma

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Lutrogale

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M. africana

M. africana may refer to:

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Mustelidae

The Mustelidae (; from Latin mustela, weasel) are a family of carnivorous mammals, including weasels, badgers, otters, ferrets, martens, mink, and wolverines, among others. Mustelids are diverse and the largest family in the order Carnivora, suborder Caniformia. Mustelidae comprises about 56-60 species across eight subfamilies.

Mustelinae

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Paradoxurinae

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Paradoxurus

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the Asian palm civet (P. hermaphroditus)

the golden palm civet (P. zeylonensis)

the brown palm civet (P. jerdoni)In 2009, it was proposed to also include the golden wet-zone palm civet (P. aureus), the Sri Lankan brown palm civet (P. montanus) and the golden dry-zone palm civet (P. stenocephalus), which are endemic to Sri Lanka.

Pusa

Pusa is a genus of the earless seals, within the family Phocidae. The three species of this genus were split from the genus Phoca, and some sources still give Phoca as an acceptable synonym for Pusa.

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Only the Caspian seal is endangered.

Speothos

Speothos is a genus of canid found in Central and South America. The genus includes the living bush dog, Speothos venaticus, and an extinct Pleistocene species, Speothos pacivorus. Unusually, the fossil species was identified and named before the extant species was discovered, with the result that the type species of Speothos is S. pacivorus.

Weasel

A weasel is a mammal of the genus Mustela of the family Mustelidae. The genus Mustela includes the least weasels, polecats, stoats, ferrets and minks. Members of this genus are small, active predators, with long and slender bodies and short legs. The family Mustelidae (which also includes badgers, otters, and wolverines) is often referred to as the "weasel family". In the UK, the term "weasel" usually refers to the smallest species, the least weasel (M. nivalis).Weasels vary in length from 173 to 217 mm (6.8 to 8.5 in), females being smaller than the males, and usually have red or brown upper coats and white bellies; some populations of some species moult to a wholly white coat in winter. They have long, slender bodies, which enable them to follow their prey into burrows. Their tails may be from 34 to 52 mm (1.3 to 2.0 in) long.Weasels feed on small mammals and have from time to time been considered vermin because some species took poultry from farms or rabbits from commercial warrens. They do, on the other hand, eat large numbers of rodents. They can be found all across the world except for Antarctica, Australia, and neighbouring islands.

Zalophus

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Z. californianus: California sea lion

Z. japonicus: Japanese sea lion †

Z. wollebaeki: Galápagos sea lion

Extant Carnivora species

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