Asian badger

The Asian badger (Meles leucurus), also known as the sand badger is a species of badger native to Mongolia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Korean Peninsula and Russia.

Asian badger
Meles leucurus - Kunming Natural History Museum of Zoology - DSC02498
asian badger
Scientific classification
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M. leucurus
Binomial name
Meles leucurus
Asian Badger area
Asian badger range

Description

Meles (Genus)
Comparative illustration of European badger (top), Asian badger (centre) and Japanese badger (bottom)

Asian badgers are mostly lighter in colour than European badgers, though some forms may closely approach the former species in colour, if not darker, with smudges of ocherous and brownish highlights. The flanks are lighter than the middle of the back, and the facial stripes are usually brown rather than black. Unlike the facial stripes of European badgers, those of Asian badgers narrow behind their eyes and extend above the ears. The white parts of the head are usually dirtier in colour than those of European badgers. The light stripe passing along the top of the head between the two stripes is relatively short and narrow. They are generally smaller than their European cousins, and have relatively longer upper molars.[3] They indeed appear to be the smallest of the three Meles badgers despite regional size variations, with the largest-bodied populations of the species found in Siberia where some populations are about the same size as the European badger. Body mass will typically range from 3.5 to 9 kg (7.7 to 19.8 lb) and length from 50 to 70 cm (20 to 28 in).[4][5] The average weight of three adult males from Sobaeksan National Park, South Korea was 6 kg (13 lb).[6]

Subspecies

Five subspecies are recognised.[7]

Subspecies Trinomial authority Description Range Synonyms
Common sand badger
Meles leucurus leucurus
Hodgson, 1847
  • blanfordi (Matschie, 1907)
  • chinensis (Gray, 1868)
  • hanensis (Matschie, 1907)
  • leptorhynchus (Milne-Edwards, 1867)
  • siningensis (Matschie, 1907)
  • tsingtauensis (Matschie, 1907)
Amur badger
Meles leucurus amurensis
Schrenck, 1859 The darkest coloured and smallest subspecies. The facial stripes extend above the ears, and are black or blackish-brown in colour. The entire area between the stripes and cheeks are dirty-greyish brown, as opposed to white. The colour can be so dark, that the stripes are almost indistinguishable. The back is greyish-brown with silver highlights. The pelage itself is soft, but is lacking in wool. The skull is small, smooth and has weakly developed projections. It lacks first premolars. Body length is 60–70 centimetres (24–28 in)[8] Ussuri, Priamurye, Greater Khingan and Korean Peninsula melanogenys (J. A. Allen, 1913)

schrenkii (Nehring, 1891)

Kazakh badger
Meles leucurus arenarius
Satunin, 1895 A moderately sized subspecies, being intermediate in size between Meles m. meles and Meles m. canascens. Its colour is lighter and paler than its northern cousins, with less prominent facial stripes. Its pelage is coarse and bristly, and has scarce underfur. Boars grow to 70–78 centimetres (28–31 in) in body length, while sows grow to 61–70 centimetres (24–28 in). Boars weigh 7.8–8.3 kilograms (17–18 lb) in March–May, and 5.6–7 kilograms (12–15 lb) in March–June[9] Southeastern Volga, most of Kazakhstan (excepting the northern and montane parts), the Middle Asian plains (excepting the regions occupied by Meles m. canascens and Meles m. severzovi)
Siberian badger
Meles leucurus sibiricus
Kastschenko, 1900 A moderately sized subspecies, being intermediate in size between Meles m. meles and Meles m. canascens. The general colour tone of the back is light grey, usually with yellowish or straw coloured highlights. The facial stripes are brownish-black to tawny black. The pelage is long and soft with a dense undercoat. Boars grow to 65.7–75 centimetres (25.9–29.5 in) in body length, while sows grow to 62–69.2 centimetres (24.4–27.2 in). Boars weigh 10–13.6 kilograms (22–30 lb)[10] Siberia, including Transbaikalia and Altai, northern Kazakhstan and probably the eastern Volga
  • aberrans (Stroganov, 1962)
  • altaicus (Kastschenko, 1902)
  • enisseyensis (Petrov, 1953)
  • eversmanni (Petrov, 1953)
  • raddei (Kastschenko, 1902)
Tien Shan badger
Meles leucurus tianschanensis
Hoyningen-Huene, 1910 A moderately sized subspecies, with a somewhat darker pelt than Meles l. arenarius and a less developed yellow sheen. The fur is longer, denser and fluffier[9] Northern Tien Shan talassicus (Ognev, 1931)

Distribution and habitat

Asian badgers have a large range including the southern portion of Russia east of the Urals, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, China, and Korea. The species can be found within areas of high elevation (perhaps up to 4,000 metres (13,000 ft)) in the Ural Mountains, the Tian Shan mountains, and the Tibetan Plateau. The ranges of Asian and European badgers are separated in places by the Volga River. Asian badgers prefer open deciduous woodland and adjacent pastureland, but also inhabit coniferous and mixed woodlands, scrub and steppe. They are sometimes found in suburban areas.[1]

Hunting

Asian badgers are legally hunted in China, Russia and Mongolia, as well as illegally within protected areas in China. Russia's established badger hunting season, usually takes place from August to November.[1]

Medicine

In Mongolian traditional medicine, balm made from badger fat oil is used as a remedy for variety of ailments and diseases such as pulmonary tuberculosis, pneumonia, bronchitis, stomach ulcer, inflammatory diseases of the kidney, intestinal diseases and colds.

References

Notes

  1. ^ a b c Abramov, A.; Wozencraft, C. (2008). "Meles leucurus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2009.1. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 16 August 2009.
  2. ^ Wilson, Don E.; Reeder, DeeAnn M., eds. (2005). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed). Johns Hopkins University Press. Retrieved 16 August 2009.
  3. ^ Heptner & Sludskii 2002, p. 1251
  4. ^ Wilson, D. & Mittermeier, R. (2009). Handbook of the Mammals of the World. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions.
  5. ^ Long, C. & Killingley, C. (1983). The Badgers of the World. Springfield, Illinois: Charles C Thomas.
  6. ^ Lee, H. J., Cha, J. Y., Chung, C. U., Kim, Y. C., Kim, S. C., Kwon, G. H., & Kim, J. J. (2014). Home Range Analysis of Three Medium-Sized Mammals in Sobaeksan National Park. Journal of the Korea Society of Environmental Restoration Technology, 17(6), 51-60.
  7. ^ Wozencraft, W.C. (2005). "Order Carnivora". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  8. ^ Heptner & Sludskii 2002, pp. 1260–1262
  9. ^ a b Heptner & Sludskii 2002, pp. 1257–1258
  10. ^ Heptner & Sludskii 2002, pp. 1256–1257

Bibliography

Asiatic linsang

The Asiatic linsang (Prionodon) is a genus comprising two species native to Southeast Asia: the banded linsang (Prionodon linsang) and the spotted linsang (Prionodon pardicolor). Prionodon is considered a sister taxon of the Felidae.

Badger

Badgers are short-legged omnivores in the families Mustelidae (which also includes the otters, polecats, weasels, and wolverines), and Mephitidae (which also includes the skunks). They are not a natural taxonomic grouping, but are united by possession of a squat body adapted for fossorial activity. All belong to the caniform suborder of carnivoran mammals. The 11 species of mustelid badgers are grouped in four subfamilies: Melinae (4 species, including the European badger), Helictidinae (5 species of ferret-badger), Mellivorinae (the honey badger or ratel), and Taxideinae (the American badger); the respective genera are Arctonyx, Meles, Melogale, Mellivora and Taxidea. Badgers include the most basal mustelids; the American badger is the most basal of all, followed succesively by the ratel and Melinae. The two species of Asiatic stink badgers of the genus Mydaus were formerly included within Melinae (and thus Mustelidae), but more recent genetic evidence indicates these are actually members of the skunk family.Badger mandibular condyles connect to long cavities in their skulls, giving resistance to jaw dislocation and increasing their bite grip strength, but in turn limiting jaw movement to hinging open and shut, or sliding from side to side but not the twisting movement possible for the jaws of most mammals.

Badgers have rather short, wide bodies, with short legs for digging. They have elongated, weasel-like heads with small ears. Their tails vary in length depending on species; the stink badger has a very short tail, while the ferret badger's tail can be 46–51 cm (18–20 in) long, depending on age. They have black faces with distinctive white markings, grey bodies with a light-coloured stripe from head to tail, and dark legs with light-coloured underbellies. They grow to around 90 cm (35 in) in length including tail.

The European badger is one of the largest; the American badger, the hog badger, and the honey badger are generally a little smaller and lighter. Stink badgers are smaller still, and ferret badgers smallest of all. They weigh around 9–11 kg (20–24 lb), with some Eurasian badgers around 18 kg (40 lb).

Catopuma

Catopuma is a genus containing two Asian small wild cat species, the bay cat (C. badia) and the Asian golden cat (C. temminckii).

Both are typically reddish brown in colour, with darker markings on the head. They inhabit forested environments in Southeast Asia. The bay cat is restricted to the island of Borneo. Originally thought to be two subspecies of the same animal, recent genetic analysis has confirmed they are, indeed, separate species.The two species diverged from one another 4.9-5.3 million years ago, long before Borneo separated from the neighboring islands. Their closest living relative is the marbled cat, from which the common ancestor of the genus Catopuma diverged around 9.4 million years ago.

Ferret-badger

Ferret-badgers are the five species of the genus Melogale, which is the only genus of the monotypic mustelid subfamily Helictidinae.

Bornean ferret-badger (Melogale everetti)

Chinese ferret-badger (Melogale moschata)

Javan ferret-badger (Melogale orientalis)

Burmese ferret-badger (Melogale personata)

Vietnam ferret-badger (Melogale cucphuongensis)

Indian brown mongoose

The Indian brown mongoose (Herpestes fuscus) looks similar to the short-tailed mongoose from Southeast Asia and is sometimes believed to be only a subspecies of this latter. The Indian brown mongoose is found in southwest India and Sri Lanka.

Japanese badger

The Japanese badger (Meles anakuma) is a species of carnivoran of the family Mustelidae, the weasels and their kin. Endemic to Japan, it is found on Honshu, Kyushu, Shikoku, and Shōdoshima. It shares the genus Meles with the Asian and European badgers. In Japan it is called by the name nihonanaguma (ニホンアナグマ), lit. "Japan hole-bear" or mujina (むじな, 狢).

Lontra

Lontra is a genus of otters from the Americas.

Lutrogale

Lutrogale is a genus of otters, with only one extant species—the smooth-coated otter.

Meles (genus)

Meles is a genus of badgers containing three living species, the Japanese badger (Meles anakuma), Asian badger (Meles leucurus), and European badger (Meles meles). In an older categorization, they were seen as a single species with three subspecies (Meles meles anakuma, Meles meles leucurus and Meles meles meles). There are also several extinct members of the genus. They are members of the subfamily Melinae of the weasel family, Mustelidae.

Mongolian-Manchurian grassland

The Mongolian-Manchurian grassland ecoregion, also known as the Mongolian-Manchurian steppe, in the temperate grassland Biome, is found in Mongolia, the Chinese Autonomous region of Inner Mongolia and northeastern China.

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

Mustelinae is a subfamily of family Mustelidae, which includes weasels, ferrets amd minks.It was formerly defined in a paraphyletic manner to also include wolverines, martens, and many other mustelids, to the exclusion of the otters (Lutrinae).

Narrow-striped mongoose

The narrow-striped mongoose (Mungotictis decemlineata) is a member of the family Eupleridae, subfamily Galidiinae and endemic to Madagascar. It inhabits the Madagascar dry deciduous forests of western and southwestern Madagascar, where it lives from sea level to about 125 m (410 ft) between the Tsiribihina and Mangoky rivers. In Malagasy it is called bokiboky (pronounced "Boo-ky Boo-ky").

Nyctereutes

Nyctereutes is an Old World genus of the family Canidae, consisting of just one living species, the raccoon dog of East Asia. Nyctereutes appeared about 9.0 million years ago (Mya), with all but one species becoming extinct before the Pleistocene.

Native to East Asia, the raccoon dog has been intensively bred for fur in Europe and especially in Russia during the twentieth century. Specimens have escaped or have been introduced to increase production and formed populations in Eastern Europe. It is currently expanding rapidly in the rest of Europe, where its presence is undesirable because it is considered to be a harmful and invasive species.

Paradoxurinae

The Paradoxurinae are a subfamily of the viverrids that was denominated and first described by John Edward Gray in 1864.Pocock subordinated the oriental genera Paradoxurus, Paguma and Arctictis to this subfamily.

Paradoxurus

Paradoxurus is a genus within the viverrid family that was denominated and first described by Frédéric Cuvier in 1822. As of 2005, this genus was defined as comprising three species native to Southeast Asia:

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.

The three species in this genus are found in Arctic and subarctic regions, as well as around the Caspian Sea. This includes these countries and regions: Russia, Scandinavia, Britain, Greenland, Canada, the United States, Iran, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Japan. Due to changing local environmental conditions, the ringed seals found in the Canadian region has varied patterns of growth. The northern Canadian ringed seals grow slowly to a larger size, while the southern seals grow quickly to a smaller size.

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.

Extant Carnivora species

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