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.[1]

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.[2] 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.[3][4] In alphabetical order, the living species of Mephitidae are:[5]

Mephitidae
Temporal range: Middle Miocene to present
Striped Skunk
Striped skunks
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Superfamily: Musteloidea
Family: Mephitidae
Bonaparte, 1845
Genera

Conepatus
Mydaus
Mephitis (type)
Spilogale
Brachyprotoma
Palaeomephitis
Promephitis

References

  1. ^ Xiaoming Wang & Zhanxiang Qiu (2004). "Late Miocene Promephitis (Carnivora, Mephitidae) from China". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 24: 721–731. doi:10.1671/0272-4634(2004)024[0721:LMPCMF]2.0.CO;2.
  2. ^ "Wild Skunk Information". Dragoo Institute for the Betterment of Skunks and Skunk Reputations. 7 March 2013. Retrieved 12 November 2017.
  3. ^ Koepfli KP, Deere KA, Slater GJ, et al. (2008). "Multigene phylogeny of the Mustelidae: Resolving relationships, tempo and biogeographic history of a mammalian adaptive radiation". BMC Biol. 6: 4–5. doi:10.1186/1741-7007-6-10. PMC 2276185. PMID 18275614.
  4. ^ Mammal Species of the World – Browse: Mephitidae Archived 2012-10-24 at the Wayback Machine.. Bucknell.edu. Retrieved on April 5, 2012.
  5. ^ Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M., eds. (2005). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.

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