Nasuella olivacea

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Western Mountain Coati
Ulisse Aldrovandi - Mountain Coati.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Procyonidae
Genus: Nasuella
Species: N. olivacea
Binomial name
Nasuella olivacea
(Gray, 1865)

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.[1] A population discovered in the ApurímacCuzco 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.[2]

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).[1] When the two are combined, they are rated as Data Deficient by the IUCN,[3] but no rating is available when the two are split.[1]

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.[1] The former is known from Colombia and the latter from Ecuador, but the exact distribution limit between the two is not known.[1]

Physical characteristics[edit]

Adult coatis measure 33 to 69 cm (13 to 27 in) from head to the base of the tail, which can be as long as their bodies. Desert mountain coatis are slightly smaller that the common coati, about 30 cm (12 in) tall at the shoulder, and weigh between 2 and 8 kg (4.4 and 17.6 lb), about the size of a large house cat. Males can become almost twice as large as females and have large, sharp canine teeth. The above measurements are for the white-nosed and South America coatis. The two mountain coatis are smaller.[1]

All coatis share a slender head with an elongated, flexible, slightly upward-turned nose, small ears, dark feet, and a long, non-prehensile tail used for balance and signaling.

Desert mountain coatis have either a light brown or black coat, with a lighter under-part and a white-ringed tail in most cases. They have a long brown tail with rings on it which are anywhere from starkly defined like a raccoon's to very faint. Like raccoons and unlike house cats the rings go completely around the tail. Coatis often hold the tail erect; it is used as such to keep troops of coatis together in tall vegetation. The tip of the tail can be moved slightly on its own, as is the case with cats, but it is not prehensile as is that of the kinkajou, another procyonid.

Coatis have bear- and raccoon-like paws, and coatis, raccoons, and bears walk plantigrade (on the soles of the feet, as do humans). Coatis have nonretractable claws. Coatis also are, in common with raccoons and other procyonids (and others in the order Carnivora and rare cases amongst other mammals), double-jointed and their ankles can rotate beyond 180°; they are therefore able to descend trees head first. Other animals living in forests have acquired some or all of these properties through convergent evolution, including members of the mongoose, civet, weasel, cat, and bear families. Some of these animals walk on the toes of the front paws and soles of the back paws.

The coati snout is long and somewhat pig-like (see Suidae) – part of the reason for its nickname 'the hog-nosed raccoon'. It is also extremely flexible – it can be rotated up to 60° in any direction. They use their noses to push objects and rub parts of their body. The facial markings include white markings around the eyes and on the ears and snout.

Coatis have strong limbs to climb and dig, and have a reputation for intelligence, like their fellow procyonid, the raccoon. They prefer to sleep or rest in elevated places and niches, like the rainforest canopy, in crudely built sleeping nests. Coatis are active day and night.

Habitat and range[edit]

Overall, Nasuella olivacea are located in the relatively cold Andean mountain slopes, including grasslands and bushy areas. Their geographical range extends from Columbia through northern Ecuador.

Taxonomy[edit]

Coatis  



Nasua narica





Nasuella meridensis



Nasuella olivacea





Nasua nasua



The following species are recognized:[1][4][5]

Lifespan[edit]

In the wild, coatis live for about seven to eight years, while in captivity they can live for up to 15 years.

Feeding habits[edit]

Desert Mountain coatis are omnivores; their diet consists mainly of ground litter invertebrates, such as tarantula, and fruit (Alves-Costa et al., 2004, 2007; Hirsch 2007). They also eat small vertebrate prey, such as lizards, rodents, small birds, birds' eggs, and crocodile eggs. The snout, with a formidable sense of smell, assists the skilled paws in a hog-like manner to unearth invertebrates.

Behavior[edit]

Coati showing its canines

Little is known about the behavior of the mountain coatis,[1] and the following is almost entirely about the coatis of the genus Nasua. Unlike most members of the raccoon family (Procyonidae), coatis are primarily diurnal. Nasua coati females and young males up to two years of age are gregarious and travel through their territories in noisy, loosely organized bands made up of four to 25 individuals, foraging with their offspring on the ground or in the forest canopy. Males over two years become solitary due to behavioural disposition and collective aggression from the females, and will join the female groups only during the breeding season.

Reproduction[edit]

Nasuella olivacea breeding season mainly corresponds with the start of the rainy season to coincide with maximum availability of food, especially fruits: between January and March. During the breeding season, an adult male is accepted into the band of females and juveniles near the beginning of the breeding season, leading to a polygynous mating system.

The pregnant females separate from the group, build a nest on a tree or in a rocky niche and, after a gestation period of about 11 weeks, give birth to litters of three to seven kits. About six weeks after birth, the females and their young will rejoin the band. Females become sexually mature at two years of age, while males will acquire sexual maturity at three years of age.

Natural predators[edit]

The principal predators of coatis are other carnivorans. Predators include jaguarundis, boa constrictors, foxes, dogs, tayras, ocelots, and jaguars. However, large raptors, such as ornate hawk-eagles, black-and-chestnut eagles, and harpy eagles, also are known to hunt them.[6] White-headed capuchin monkeys also hunt their pups.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Helgen, K. M., R. Kays, L. E. Helgen, M. T. N. Tsuchiya-Jerep, C. M. Pinto, K. P. Koepfli, E. Eizirik, and J. E. Maldonado (2009). Taxonomic boundaries and geographic distributions revealed by an integrative systematic overview of the mountain coatis, Nasuella (Carnivora: Procyonidae). Small Carnivore Conservation. 41: 65–74
  2. ^ Pacheco, V., R. Cadenillas, E. Salas, C. Tello, and H. Zeballos (2009). Diversidad y endemismo de los mamíferos del Perú/Diversity and endemism of Peruvian mammals. Rev. Peru. Biol. 16(1): 5-32.
  3. ^ Reid, F. & Helgen, K. (2008). "Nasuella olivacea". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.4. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 14 February 2011. 
  4. ^ Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M., eds. (2005). "Genus Nasua". Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 625–626. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. 
  5. ^ Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M., eds. (2005). "Genus Nasuella". Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 626. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. 
  6. ^ Southern Coatimundi. itech.pjc.edu
  7. ^ Perry S., Rose L. (1994). "Begging and transfer of coati meat by white-faced capuchin monkeys, Cebus capucinus" (PDF). Primates 35 (4): 409–415. doi:10.1007/bf02381950. 

Template:Eisenberg, J. 1989. Mammals of the Neotropics Vol. 1. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press Template:Rodríguez-Bolaños, A., P. S•nchez. 2000. Trophic characteristics in social groups of the Mountain coati, *Nasuella olivacea* (Carnivora: Procyonidae). Small Carnivore Conservation, October 2000 Vol. 23: 1-6. Template:Taxonomic Boundaries and Geographic Distributions Revealed by an Integrative Systematic Overview of the Mountain Coatis, Nasuella olivacea (Carnivora: Procyonidae) by Kristofer M. Helgen, Roland Kays, Lauren E. Helgen, Mirian T. N. Tsuchiya-Jerep