Cacomistle

The cacomistle, Bassariscus sumichrasti, is a nocturnal, arboreal and omnivorous member of the carnivoran family Procyonidae. Its preferred habitats are wet, tropical, evergreen woodlands and mountain forests, though seasonally it will venture into drier deciduous forests.

Nowhere in its range (from southern Mexico to western Panama) is B. sumichrasti common. This is especially true in Costa Rica, where it inhabits only a very small area. It is completely dependent on forest habitat, making it particularly susceptible to deforestation.

The term cacomistle is from the Nahuatl language (tlahcomiztli) and means "half cat" or "half mountain lion";[2] it is sometimes also used to refer to the ringtail, Bassariscus astutus, a similar species that inhabits arid northern Mexico and the American Southwest.

Cacomistle
Bassariscus sumichrasti geo
Scientific classification
Kingdom:
Phylum:
Class:
Order:
Family:
Genus:
Species:
B. sumichrasti
Binomial name
Bassariscus sumichrasti
(Saussure, 1860)
Cacomistle area
Cacomistle range

Classification

The cacomistle is part of the family Procyonidae which includes other small omnivores such as the raccoon and the coati. The cacomistle and its close relative, the ringtail, are the only living species of the subfamily Procyoninae and the genus Bassariscus. Within the Cacomistle species there are 5 subspecies (Bassariscus sumichrasti variabilis, Bassariscus sumichrasti sumichrasti, Bassariscus sumichrasti oaxacensis, Bassariscus sumichrasti notinus, and Bassariscus sumichrasti latrans).[3]

Physical description

Cacomistle 085
Cacomistle (Bassariscus sumichrasti)

The Central American cacomistle's body is 38–47 cm in length, which is attached to a tail of approximately the same length, if not longer (typically 39–53 cm long). The male cacomistle is often slightly longer than its female counterpart, however both male and female have approximately the same weight, usually between 1 and 1.5 kg.[4] Their body consists of dark brown and grey fur, which stands as a stark contrast to the black and white striped tail. The tail stripes are the most defined near the animal's posterior end and gradually fade to a solid black at the end of the tail. The cacomistle is often confused with its close relative the Ring-tailed cat (Scientific name: Bassariscus astutus) because of the similarity of their appearance, but unlike the ring-tail cat the cacomistle does not have retractable claws. The cacomistle can also be identified by its faded tail and the observation of ears that come to a point.[3]

Habitat and range

The cacomistle inhabits the tropical forests of Central America, from south central Mexico to Panama. These animals are quite solitary and thus spread themselves out, with each cacomistle having a home range of at least 20 hectares (an area equivalent to 20 sports fields [5])and are typically seen in the middle and upper levels of the canopy.[3] Throughout their broad range this species is found to inhabit a wide variety of different forests ecosystems. In Mexico the cacomistle tends to avoid oak forest, secondary forest, and overgrown pastures, but in Costa Rica the cacomistle has been shown to favor those exact habitats.[4]

Diet

Cacomistles are considered generalist feeders, because they can survive on a wide variety of different foods.[4] The diet of this species consists primarily of fruits, insects, small vertebrates such as reptiles, amphibians, and rodents, the specificity of these food options depends on what is available in the particular habitat in which an individual dwells.[3] The bromeliad is an excellent reservoir for food in the southern edge of the cacomistle's range, as these plants naturally collect water, insects and small animals found high in the canopy.[4]

Reproduction

Mating season is the only time cacomistles interact with each other, and it is only briefly as the female is only receptive to male approaches for one day. After mating, the female cacomistle undergoes a gestation period of approximately two months before giving birth to a single offspring. When the cub is three months old it is weaned, and then taught hunting and survival skills by its mother before going off to develop its own territory.[6]

References

  1. ^ Samudio, R.; Pino, J.L. & Helgen, K. (2008). "Bassariscus sumichrasti". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2008. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 January 2009.
  2. ^ Merriam-Webster
  3. ^ a b c d Cacomistle Pictures and Facts. Retrieved on 19 March 2012 from: http://thewebsiteofeverything.com/animals/mammals/Carnivora/Procyonidae/Bassariscus/Bassariscus-sumichrasti.html Cacomistle Pictures and Facts
  4. ^ a b c d Garcia N.E., Vaughen C.S., McCoy M.B. (2002). Cacomistle Ecology in Costa Rica. Vida Silvestre Neotropical: 11(1-2).
  5. ^ How big is a hectare?. Retrieved 22 March 2012 from http://metricviews.org.uk/2007/11/how-big-hectare/
  6. ^ Trout, J.(2006). Central American Cacomistle. Retrieved on 22 March 2012 from http://itech.pensacolastate.edu/sctag/Central_American_cacomistle/index.htm Archived 11 July 2012 at Archive.today

External links

Bassaricyon

The genus Bassaricyon consists of small Neotropical procyonids, popularly known as olingos . They are native to the rainforests of Central and South America from Nicaragua to Peru. They are arboreal and nocturnal, and live at elevations from sea level to 2,750 m. Olingos closely resemble the kinkajou in morphology and habits, though they lack prehensile tails and extrudable tongues, have more extended muzzles, and possess anal scent glands. They also resemble galagos and certain lemurs, which are primates.

Genetic studies have shown that the closest relatives of the olingos are actually the coatis; the divergence between the two groups is estimated to have occurred about 10.2 million years (Ma) ago during the Tortonian age, while kinkajous split off from the other extant procyonids about 22.6 Ma ago during the Aquitanian age. The similarities between kinkajous and olingos are thus an example of parallel evolution.

Bassariscus

Bassariscus is a genus in the family Procyonidae. There are two species in the genus: the ring-tailed cat or ringtail (B. astutus) and the cacomistle (B. sumichrasti). Genetic studies have indicated that the closest relatives of Bassariscus are raccoons, from which they diverged about 10 million years ago. The two lineages of Bassariscus are thought to have separated after only another two million years, making it the extant procyonid genus with the earliest diversification.

The name is a Greek word for fox ("bassaris") with a Latinized diminutive ending ("-iscus"). The genus was first described by Elliott Coues in 1887. He proposed the word "bassarisk" as the English term for animals in this genus. Its habitat includes semi-arid areas in the southwestern United States, the whole of Mexico, as well as moist tropical forests in Central America.

Buenavista, Michoacán

Buenavista is a municipality in the Mexican state of Michoacán.

Chilchota (municipality)

Chilchota is a municipality in the Mexican state of Michoacan.

Coati

Coatis, also known as the coatimundis (), are members of the raccoon family (Procyonidae) in the genera Nasua and Nasuella. They are diurnal mammals native to South America, Central America, and southwestern North America. The name coatimundi is purportedly derived from the Tupian languages of Brazil.The coati is also known in English as the hog-nosed coon.

Eastern lowland olingo

The eastern lowland olingo (Bassaricyon alleni) is a species of olingo from South America, where it is known from the lowlands east of the Andes in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru and Venezuela. It is the only olingo species found east of the Andes. The Latin species name honors Joel Asaph Allen, the American zoologist who first described the genus Bassaricyon.

Kinkajou

The kinkajou ( KING-kə-joo) (Potos flavus) is a tropical rainforest mammal of the family Procyonidae related to olingos, coatis, raccoons, and the ringtail and cacomistle. It is the only member of the genus Potos and is also known as the "honey bear" (a name that it shares with the sun bear). Kinkajous are arboreal, a lifestyle they evolved independently; they are not closely related to any other tree-dwelling mammal group (e.g. primates, some mustelids, etc).

Native to Central America and South America, this mostly frugivorous mammal is not an endangered species, though it is seldom seen by people because of its strict nocturnal habits. However, they are hunted for the pet trade, for their fur (to make wallets and horse saddles) and for their meat. The species has been included in Appendix III of CITES by Honduras, which means that exports from Honduras require an export permit and exports from other countries require a certificate of origin or re-export. They may live up to 40 years in captivity.

List of species in order Carnivora

This list contains the species in order Carnivora.

Lutrogale

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

Nasua

Nasua is a genus of coatis of the family Procyonidae. Two additional species of coatis, commonly known as mountain coatis, are placed in the genus Nasuella.

Nasuella meridensis

The eastern mountain coati or eastern dwarf coati (Nasuella meridensis) is a small procyonid found in cloud forest and páramo at altitudes of 2,000–4,000 metres (6,600–13,100 ft) in the Andes of western Venezuela. Until 2009, it was usually included as a subspecies of the western mountain coati, but the eastern mountain coati is overall smaller, somewhat shorter-tailed on average, has markedly smaller teeth, a paler olive-brown pelage, and usually a dark mid-dorsal stripe on the back (versus more rufescent or blackish, and usually without a dark mid-dorsal stripe in the western mountain coati). When the two were combined, they were rated as Data Deficient by the IUCN, but following the split the eastern mountain coati is considered endangered.

Nasuella olivacea

The western mountain coati or western dwarf coati (Nasuella olivacea) is a small procyonid, found in cloud forest and páramo at altitudes of 1,300–4,250 metres (4,270–13,940 ft) in the Andes of Colombia and Ecuador. A population discovered in the Apurímac–Cuzco region of southern Peru (more than 1,000 km or 620 mi south of the previous distribution limit) has tentatively been identified as the western mountain coati, but may represent an undescribed taxon.Until 2009, the western mountain coati (then simply known as the mountain coati) usually included the eastern mountain coati as a subspecies, but that species is overall smaller, somewhat shorter-tailed on average, has markedly smaller teeth, a paler olive-brown pelage, and usually a dark mid-dorsal stripe on the back (versus more rufescent or blackish, and usually without a dark mid-dorsal stripe in the western mountain coati). When the two were combined, they were rated as Data Deficient by the IUCN, but following the split the western mountain coati is considered Near Threatened.There are two subspecies of the western mountain coati: N. o. olivacea and the slightly smaller and darker N. o. quitensis with less distinct rings on the tail. The former is known from Colombia and the latter from Ecuador, but the exact distribution limit between the two is not known.

Olinguito

The olinguito , Bassaricyon neblina, is a mammal of the raccoon family Procyonidae that lives in montane forests in the Andes of western Colombia and Ecuador. The species was described as new in 2013. The species name neblina is Spanish for fog or mist, referring to the cloud forest habitat of the olinguito.On 22 May 2014 the International Institute for Species Exploration declared the olinguito as one of the "Top 10 New Species of 2014" among species discovered in 2013. It is the first new carnivoran mammal described in the Western Hemisphere in 35 years.

Plesictis

Plesictis is an extinct prehistoric genus of mustelid (originally described as a procyonid) endemic to Europe during the Oligocene and Miocene 33.9—20.0 Ma existing for approximately 13.9 million years.Plesictis was a 75 centimetres (2.46 ft) long animal, resembling a weasel with large eyes, or possibly a cacomistle. Its large eyes and very long tail suggest that it may have been nocturnal and arboreal. Judging from its teeth, it was an omnivore.

Procyon (genus)

Procyon is a genus of nocturnal mammals, comprising three species commonly known as raccoons, in the family Procyonidae. The most familiar species, the common raccoon (P. lotor), is often known simply as "the" raccoon, as the two other raccoon species in the genus are native only to the tropics and less well known. Genetic studies have shown that the closest relatives of raccoons are the ring-tailed cats and cacomistles of genus Bassariscus, from which they diverged about 10 million years ago.

Procyonidae

Procyonidae is a New World family of the order Carnivora. It comprises the raccoons, coatis, kinkajous, olingos, olinguitos, ringtails, and cacomistles. Procyonids inhabit a wide range of environments and are generally omnivorous.

Ring-tailed cat

The ringtail (Bassariscus astutus) is a mammal of the raccoon family, native to arid regions of North America. Even though it is not a cat, it is also known as the ringtail cat, ring-tailed cat, miner's cat or bassarisk, and is also sometimes called a "civet cat" (after similar, though only distantly related, cat-like carnivores of Asia and Africa). The ringtail is sometimes called a cacomistle, though this term seems to be more often used to refer to Bassariscus sumichrasti.

South American coati

The South American coati or ring-tailed coati (Nasua nasua) is a species of coati and a member of the raccoon family (Procyonidae), from tropical and subtropical South America. In Brazilian Portuguese, it is known as quati. An adult generally weighs 2–7.2 kg (4.4–15.9 lb) and is 85–113 cm (33–44 in) long, with half of that being its tail. Its color is highly variable and the rings on the tail may be only somewhat visible, but its distinguishing characteristic is that it lacks the largely white snout (or "nose") of its northern relative, the white-nosed coati.

Western lowland olingo

The western lowland olingo (Bassaricyon medius) is a species of olingo from Central and South America, where it is known from Panama and from Colombia and Ecuador west of the Andes.

Extant species of family Procyonidae
Procyoninae
Potosinae
Extant Carnivora species

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