Hooded skunk

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Hooded skunk
Skunkhooded.jpg
Hooded skunk
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Mephitidae
Genus: Mephitis
Species: M. macroura
Binomial name
Mephitis macroura
Lichtenstein 1832
Hooded Skunk area.png
Hooded skunk range

The hooded skunk (Mephitis macroura) is a species of mammal in the family Mephitidae. Mephit in Latin means "foul odor" and macr in Greek translates to "large" and oura translates to "tail".

Morphology[edit]

It can be distinguished from the similar striped skunk (M. mephitis) by its longer tail and longer, much softer coat of fur, and larger tympanic bullae.[2] A ruff of white fur around its neck gives the animal its common name. Three color phases are known and in all three, a thin white medial stripe is present between the eyes: black-backed with two lateral white stripes, white-backed with one dorsal white stripe, or entirely black with a few white hairs in the tail.[3][4]

Ecology[edit]

The hooded skunk ranges from the Southwestern United States to southern Mexico, but is most abundant in Mexico. These skunks are found to be 50% or less smaller in size in southern Mexico than in the Southwestern United States.[5] It is found in grasslands, deserts, and in the foothills of mountains, avoiding high elevations. It tends to live near a water source, such as a river. The females tend to be 15% smaller in size than the males[6] and their breeding season is between February and March.[4] The litter size ranges from three to eight.[7]

Diet[edit]

The diet of the hooded skunk consists mostly of vegetation, especially prickly pear (Opuntia spp.), but it will readily consume insects, small vertebrates, and bird eggs [4] as well. No cases of rabies are reported,[8][9] but they host a range of parasites, including nematodes, roundworms, and fleas.[4]

Behavior[edit]

Hooded skunks are solitary, but they might interact at a feeding ground without showing any signs of aggression.[10] They shelter in a burrow or a nest of thick plant cover during the day and are active at night. Like M. mephitis, for self-defense, they spray volatile components from their anal glands.[11]!

Characteristics[edit]

Hooded skunks are currently not endangered. They are very abundant in Mexico and can live in human suburban areas mostly on pastures and cultivated fields.[12] Their fur has low economic value.[7] However, their fat[11] and scent glands[10] can be used for medicinal purposes. In some parts of their range, their flesh is considered a delicacy.[13] Other common names for the hooded skunk include: mofeta rayada (Spanish), moufette à capuchon (French), pay (Maya), southern skunk, white-sided skunk, and zorillo.[14]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cuarón, A.D., Reid, F. & Helgen, K. (2008). Mephitis macroura. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 27 January 2009.
  2. ^ Hall, E. R. (1981). The mammals of North America. Second edition. New York: John Wiley & Sons. pp. 601–1181. 
  3. ^ Hoffmeister, D. F. (1986). Mammals of Arizona. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. 
  4. ^ a b c d Patton, R. F. (1974). Ecological and behavioral relationships of the skunks of Trans Pecos Texas. Ph.D. dissertation. Texas A&M University. p. 199. 
  5. ^ Janzen, D. H. and W. Hallwachs (1982). The hooded skunk, Mephitis macroura, in lowland northwestern Costa Rica. Brenesia. pp. 19/20:549–552. 
  6. ^ Rosatte, R. C. (1987). Striped, spotted, hooded, and hog-nosed skunk. Toronto, Canada: Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. 
  7. ^ a b Bailey, V. (1932). "Mammals of New Mexico". North American Fauna (53): 1–412. 
  8. ^ Aranda, M.; L. Lopez-De Buen (1999). "Rabies in skunks from Mexico". Journal of Wildlife Diseases (35): 574–577. 
  9. ^ Ceballos, G., And A. Miranda (1986). Los mamiferos de Chmela, Jalisco: manual de campo. Mexico City, Mexico: Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico. 
  10. ^ a b Reid, F. A. (1997). A field guide to the mammals of Central America and south east Mexico. New York: Oxford University Press. 
  11. ^ a b Dalquest, W. W. (1953). Mammals of the Mexican state of San Luis Potosi. Balton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press. 
  12. ^ Yeen, Ten Hwang; Serge Lariviere (26 December 2001). "Mephitis macroura". Mammalian Species (686): 1–3. 
  13. ^ Davis, W. B. (1944). "Notes on Mexican mammals". Journal of Mammalogy (25): 370–402. 
  14. ^ Borror, D. J. (1960). Dictionary of word roots and combining forms. Palo Alto, California: National Press Books.