Hog-nosed skunk

The hog-nosed skunks belong to the genus Conepatus and are members of the family Mephitidae (skunks). They are native to the Americas. They have white backs and tails and black underparts.[1]

Hog-nosed skunk
Hog-nosed-skunk
An illustration of a hog-nosed skunk by Louis Agassiz Fuertes.
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Mephitidae
Genus: Conepatus
Gray, 1837
Species
Conepatus areas
Conepatus ranges

Species

Recent work has concluded that the western hog-nosed skunk or common hog-nosed skunk (formerly Conepatus mesoleucus) is the same species as the American hog-nosed skunk, and that Conepatus leuconotus is the correct name of the merged populations.[2][3]

Description

Brehms Het Leven der Dieren Zoogdieren Orde 4 Surilho (Mephitis suffocans)
Conepatus humboldtii

The individual hog-nosed skunk species vary in size, but among them is included the largest of all skunks. All are characterized by comparatively short hair, especially on the tail, and this appendage lacks the plumelike appearance observed in other skunks. The nose is prolonged into a distinct "snout", naked on the top and sides and evidently used for rooting in the earth after the manner of a pig. In addition, the front feet are armed with long, heavy claws. The claws are well developed for digging up insect prey.[4] and the front legs and shoulders are provided with a strong muscular development for digging, as in a badger. This likeness has led to the use in some places of the appropriate name "badger skunk" for these animals. The extent of the stripe on the hind of the skunk, and the color of the tail underside suggests a distinction between eastern and western species. The eastern species is a narrow stripe, with black under the base of the tail. The western distinction is a wide stripe, with a predominantly white tail. The hair on these skunks is coarse and harsh, lacking the qualities which render the coats of their northern relatives so valuable. They are nocturnal.[4]

Before the merge of the American hog-nosed skunks, the eastern hog-nosed skunk, Conepatus leuconotus is typically larger than the western hog-nosed skunk, Conepatus mesoleucus. Female eastern hog-nosed skunks range from 58–74 cm in length and 19–34 cm in height. They weigh between 2.0-4.0 kg. Male hog-nosed skunks range from 56–92 cm in length and 22–41 cm in height. They weigh on average between 3.0-4.5 kg. The western hog-nosed skunk ranged from 40–84 cm in length, 13–35 cm in height, and 1.1-2.7 kg. Males are larger than females and can occasionally reach 4.5 kg.[4] The teeth are smaller in C. mesoleucus than in C. leuconotus.[5]

Range

The eastern hog-nosed skunk is found only in Southern Texas, Veracruz, Mexico, and Arizona[4][5] The Molina hog-nosed skunk, also known as Andes skunk, (C. chinga) is found in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Peru, and Uruguay.[6] Humboldt's hog-nosed skunk, also known as Patagonian hog-nosed skunk (C. humboldtii) finds its habitat in the open grassy areas in the Patagonian regions of Chile and Argentina.[7] The western hog-nosed skunk (C. mesoleucus) is found in, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Sierra Guadalupe, Coahuila, Colima, Honduras, Sonora, and Nicaragua.[5] The striped hog-nosed skunk, C. semistriatus is found in Veracruz, Costa Rica, and Guatemala.[5]

Habitat

Where their range coincides with that of the common skunks, the local distribution of the two is practically the same. They live along the bottom-lands of watercourses, where vegetation is abundant and the supply of food most plentiful, or in canyons and on rocky mountain slopes.

For their protection hog-nosed skunks create their own burrows, generally within a bank, or beneath a rock, or the roots of a tree, but do not hesitate to take possession of the deserted burrows of other animals, or of natural cavities among the rocks. Owing to their strictly nocturnal habits, they are generally much less frequently seen than the common skunks, even in localities where they are numerous. Sightings are recorded from brush habitat and semiopen grasslands. Habitats may also include rocky terrain and stream beds in desert-scrub and mesquite grassland.

Infrequent sightings of the American hog-nosed skunks raise concerns over the conservation status.[4]

Feeding habits

Although both the spotted skunk and common skunks live mainly on insects, the hog-nosed skunks are even more insectivorous in their feeding habits. The bare snout appears to be used constantly for the purpose of rooting out beetles, grubs, and larvae of various kinds from the ground.

References

  1. ^ Skunk. Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6Th Edition [serial online]. October 2011;:1. Available from: Academic Search Premier, Ipswich, MA. Accessed November 29, 2011.
  2. ^ Western Hog-nosed Skunk
  3. ^ Cuarón AD & Helgen H (2008). "Conepatus leuconotus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2008. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 2008-10-24.
  4. ^ a b c d e Kays, Roland (2002). Mammals of North America. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. pp. 180–182. ISBN 0-691-07012-1.
  5. ^ a b c d Hall, Raymond (1981). The Mammals of North America Volume II. Canada: Wiley-Interscience Publication. pp. 1025–1028. ISBN 0-471-05444-5.
  6. ^ Emmons, L. & Helgen, K. (2008). Conepatus chinga. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 29 November 2010.
  7. ^ Zapata, Sonia C.; Travaini, Alejandro; Martínez-Peck, Rolando (2001). "Seasonal feeding habits of the Patagonian hog-nosed skunk Conepatus humboldtii in southern Patagonia". Acta Theriologica. 46: 97–102.

External links

This article incorporates text from the publication Wild Animals of North America, copyright 1918 by the National Geographic Society. This book is in the public domain.

Altos de Lircay National Reserve

Altos de Lircay National Reserve is a 121.63 km2 (46.96 sq mi) nature reserve located in Talca Province, Maule Region, Chile. It lies in a pre-Andean area close to Radal Siete Tazas National Park, as well as Descabezado Grande and Cerro Azul volcanoes.

The reserve is home to a significant variety of wildlife including rare and threatened animals such as the Tricahue parrot, Molina's hog-nosed skunk and plants such as the ciprés de la cordillera and roble Maulino. In the area can be found seven of the ten species of the genus Nothofagus occurring in Chile.

There are three major rivers in the reserve, the Lircay that is a tributary of the Claro River, the Claro that flows north to south through the reserve, and the Blanquillo that joins the latter river in the reserve.

American hog-nosed skunk

The American hog-nosed skunk (Conepatus leuconotus) is a species of hog-nosed skunk from Central and North America, and is one of the largest skunks in the world, growing to lengths of up to 2.7 feet (82 cm). Recent work has concluded the western hog-nosed skunk (formerly Conepatus mesoleucus) is the same species, and Conepatus leuconotus is the correct name of the merged populations.In Texas, it is commonly known as the rooter skunk for its habit of rooting and overturning rocks and debris in search of food.

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.

Eastern spotted skunk

The eastern spotted skunk (Spilogale putorius) is a small, relatively slender skunk found throughout the eastern United States and in small areas of Canada and Mexico.

This small skunk is more weasel-like in body shape than the more familiar striped skunk. The eastern spotted skunk has four stripes on its back which are broken in pattern, giving it a "spotted" appearance. They have a white spot on their forehead. They are found in Canada (southeast Manitoba and northwestern Ontario), the United States and northeastern Mexico. Males, at 46.3–68.8 cm (18.2–27.1 in) in total length, are large than females, at 35–54.4 cm (13.8–21.4 in). The tail accounts for roughly a third of their total length. Body mass can range from 0.2 to 1.8 kg (0.44 to 3.97 lb), with males averaging around 700 g (1.5 lb) against the female's average of 450 g (0.99 lb). Skull length is 43–55 mm (1.7–2.2 in). The Eastern spotted skunk is a very small skunk, which (for comparison sake) is no larger than a good-sized tree squirrel.They are much more active than any other type of skunk. They have mostly the same predators as any other skunk (big cats, bobcats, owls, humans, etc.). Up to eight skunks may share an underground den in the winter. They can also climb and take shelter in trees.Eastern spotted skunks seem to prefer forest edges and upland prairie grasslands, especially where rock outcrops and shrub clumps are present. In western counties, it relies heavily on riparian corridors where woody shrubs and woodland edges are present. Woody fencerows, odd areas, and abandoned farm buildings are also important habitat for Eastern Spotted Skunks.

Hooded skunk

The hooded skunk (Mephitis macroura) is a species of mammal in the family Mephitidae. Mephītis in Latin means "foul odor", μακρός (makrós) in Greek translates to "long" and οὐρά (ourá) translates to "tail".

Humboldt's hog-nosed skunk

Humboldt's hog-nosed skunk, also known as the Patagonian hog-nosed skunk (Conepatus humboldtii) is a type of hog-nosed skunk indigenous to the open grassy areas in the Patagonian regions of Argentina and Chile. It belongs to the order Carnivora and the family Mephitidae.

Lutrogale

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

Mephitidae

Mephitidae is a family of mammals comprising the skunks and stink badgers. They are noted for the great development of their anal scent glands, which they use to deter predators.

There are twelve extant species of mephitids in four genera: Conepatus (hog-nosed skunks, four species); Mephitis (the hooded and striped skunks, two species); Mydaus (stink badgers, two species); and Spilogale (spotted skunks, four species). The two stink badgers in the genus Mydaus inhabit Indonesia and the Philippines; the other members of the family inhabit the Americas, ranging from Canada to central South America. All other mephitids are extinct, known through fossils, including those from Eurasia.Skunks were formerly classified as a subfamily of the Mustelidae (the weasel family); however, recent genetic evidence has caused skunks to be treated as a separate family. Similarly, the stink badgers had been classified with badgers, but genetic evidence shows they share a more recent common ancestor with skunks, so they are now included in the skunk family. In alphabetical order, the living species of Mephitidae are:

Family Mephitidae

Genus: Conepatus

Conepatus chinga – Molina's hog-nosed skunk

Conepatus humboldtii – Humboldt's hog-nosed skunk

Conepatus leuconotus – American hog-nosed skunk

Conepatus semistriatus – striped hog-nosed skunk

Genus: Mephitis

Mephitis macroura – hooded skunk

Mephitis mephitis – striped skunk

Genus: Mydaus

Mydaus javanensis – Indonesian or Sunda stink badger (Teledu)

Mydaus marchei – Palawan stink badger

Genus: Spilogale

Spilogale angustifrons – southern spotted skunk

Spilogale gracilis – western spotted skunk

Spilogale putorius – eastern spotted skunk

Spilogale pygmaea – pygmy spotted skunk

Mephitis (genus)

The genus Mephitis is one of several genera of skunks, which has two species and a North American distribution.

Molina's hog-nosed skunk

Molina’s hog-nosed skunk, Conepatus chinga, is similar to the common skunk with scent glands used to spray an odorous liquid to offend potential predators. They have a resistance to pit viper venom, distinct thin white markings and a pink, hog-like, fleshy nose.

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).

Palawan stink badger

The Palawan stink badger (Mydaus marchei), or pantot, is a carnivoran of the western Philippines named for its resemblance to badgers, its powerful smell, and the largest island to which it is native, Palawan. Like all stink badgers, the Palawan stink badger was once thought to share a more recent common ancestor with badgers than with skunks. Recent genetic evidence, however, has led to their re-classification as one of the Mephitidae, the skunk family of mammals. It is the size of a large skunk or small badger, and uses its badger-like body to dig by night for invertebrates in open areas near patches of brush. While it lacks the whitish dorsal patches typical of its closest relatives, predators and hunters generally avoid the powerful noxious chemicals it can spray from the specialized anal glands characteristic of mephitids.

Pygmy spotted skunk

The pygmy spotted skunk (Spilogale pygmaea) is a species of mammal in the family Mephitidae. It is endemic to Mexico.

Spotted skunk

The genus Spilogale includes all skunks commonly known as spotted skunks and is composed of four extant species: S. gracilis, S. putorius, S. pygmaea, S. angustifrons.

Stink badger

Stink badgers (Mydaus) are a genus of the skunk family of carnivorans, the Mephitidae. They resemble the better know members of family Mustelidae also termed 'badgers' (which are themselves a polyphyletic group). There are only two extant species - the Palawan stink badger (M. marchei), and the Sunda stink badger or Teledu (M. javanensis). They live only on western islands of the Malay Archipelago: Sumatra, Java, Borneo and (in the case of the Palawan stink badger) on the Philippine island of Palawan; as well as many other, smaller islands in the region.

Stink badgers are named for their resemblance to other badgers and for the foul-smelling secretions that they expel from anal glands in self-defense (which is stronger in the Sunda species).Stink badgers were traditionally thought to be related to Eurasian badgers in the subfamily Melinae of the weasel family of carnivorans (the Mustelidae), but recent DNA analysis indicates they share a more recent common ancestor with skunks, so experts have now placed them in the skunk family (the Mephitidae, which is the sister group of a clade composed of Mustelidae and Procyonidae, with the red panda also assigned to one of the sister clades). The two existing species are different enough from each other for the Palawan stink badger to be sometimes classified in its own genus, Suillotaxus.

Striped hog-nosed skunk

The striped hog-nosed skunk, Conepatus semistriatus, is a skunk species from Central and South America (from southern Mexico to northern Peru, and in the extreme east of Brazil). It lives in a wide range of habitats including dry forest scrub and occasionally, in rainforest.These white-backed skunks inhabit mainly the foothills and partly timbered or brushy sections of their general range. They usually avoid hot desert areas and heavy stands of timber. The largest populations occur in rocky, sparsely timbered areas.

It is a nocturnal solitary animal, feeding mainly on invertebrates, small vertebrates and fruits.

Sunda stink badger

The Sunda stink badger (Mydaus javanensis), also called the Javan stink badger, teledu, Malay stink badger, Malay badger, Indonesian stink badger and Sunda skunk, is a mammal native to Indonesia and Malaysia. Despite the common name, stink badgers are not closely related to true badgers, and are, instead, Old World relatives of the skunks.

Western hog-nosed skunk

Recent work has concluded that the western hog-nosed skunk or common hog-nosed skunk (formerly Conepatus mesoleucus) is the same species as the American hog-nosed skunk, and that Conepatus leuconotus is the correct name of the merged populations. This species of hog-nosed skunk is native from the southwestern United States (Arizona to southern Texas) south through Mexico to Nicaragua. In Texas, it is commonly known as the rooter skunk for its habit of rooting and overturning rocks and debris in search of food.

The western hog-nosed skunk is a large skunk averaging about 55–60 cm in total length, with males slightly larger than females. Western hog-nosed skunks have a single, broad white stripe from the top of the head to the base of the tail, with the tail itself being completely white. The rest of the body is black.

This species tends to inhabit rocky foothills and brushy areas where den space is readily available, avoiding hot deserts and forests. It is omnivorous, feeding primarily on insects and vegetation, though it will take small mammals and reptiles when available. While sometimes considered a pest by crop farmers due to their rooting habits, this is largely misplaced, as it generally prefers insects to agricultural plants. Like all skunk species, it possesses powerful anal glands used to deter would-be attackers.

Though not threatened through most of its range, one subspecies, the big thicket hog-nosed skunk (C. m. telmalestes) of southeastern Texas, is now considered extinct by the IUCN.

Western spotted skunk

The western spotted skunk (Spilogale gracilis) is a spotted skunk of western North America

Extant species of family Mephitidae
Conepatus
Mydaus
Mephitis
Spilogale
Extant Carnivora species

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