Bassaricyon gabbiiolingo

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Geographic Range

Brassaricyon gabbii is typically found from Nicaragua to Bolivia, where it is locally abundant and it is sparsely distributed in the western Amazon basin. (Kays, 2000; Nowak, 1999)

Habitat

Bassaricyon gabbii is found in evergreen forests, and on forest edges. It prefers the upper canopy of the forest and is rarely seen on the ground. Bassaricyon gabbii is found at elevations from sea level to 2,000 m. (Nowak, 1999; Pontes and Chivers, 2002)

  • Range elevation
    0 to 2000 m
    0.00 to 6561.68 ft

Physical Description

Bassaricyon gabbii measures 350 to 470 mm long, with a tail length of 400 to 480 mm. These animals weigh between 970 and 1,500 g. The pelage can range from grey-brown to yellowish. Faint bands are visible on the tail. It has small rounded ears and a flattened head. Both males and females have similar body size. ("Mammals of Iwokrama", 1999; Nowak, 1999)

  • Sexual Dimorphism
  • sexes alike
  • Range mass
    970 to 1500 g
    34.19 to 52.86 oz
  • Range length
    750 to 955 mm
    29.53 to 37.60 in
  • Average length
    850 mm
    33.46 in

Reproduction

The breeding system of this species has not been reported. Males are reported to be intollerant of one another in captivity, so it is unlikely that females have multiple mates. (Nowak, 1999)

Breeding in B. gabii is reported to be aseasonal. Gestation lasts approximately 73 to 74 days. At the end of gestation a single offspring is born. Young are altricial, and like most carnivores, are born with their eyes closed. Birth weight is around 55 g. By about 27 days of age, the eyes of the young have opened. Solid food may be consumed as young as 2 months of age. By 21 to 24 months of age, B. gabbii has reached sexual maturity. (Nowak, 1999)

  • Breeding interval
    These animals are apparently able to breed at least once per year, and without a definite breeding season may breed more often than that.
  • Breeding season
    Breeding occurs throughout the year.
  • Average number of offspring
    1
  • Average number of offspring
    1
    AnAge
  • Range gestation period
    73 to 74 days
  • Average weaning age
    2 months
  • Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
    21 to 24 months
  • Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
    21 to 24 minutes

Male parental care has not been reported for these animals. Females, like females of other mammalian species, take care of infants, providing them with milk, grooming, and protection. Young begin to consume solid food by about 2 months of age, and weaning probably occurs shortly thereafter. It is not known how long the young stay with their mothers, but, as with most carnivores, which must learn how to hunt for prey, young B. gabbii probably have some post-weaning association with their mothers. (Nowak, 1999)

  • Parental Investment
  • no parental involvement
  • altricial
  • pre-fertilization
    • protecting
      • female
  • pre-hatching/birth
    • provisioning
      • female
    • protecting
      • female
  • pre-weaning/fledging
    • provisioning
      • female
    • protecting
      • female
  • pre-independence
    • provisioning
      • female
    • protecting
      • female

Lifespan/Longevity

Not much is known about longevity in B. gabbii. Captive ones have been recorded living as long as 25 years. The lifespan in the wild is thought to be no more than 10 years. ("Mammals of Iwokrama", 1999; Nowak, 1999)

Behavior

Bassaricyon gabbii is a nocturnal and arboreal animal. It is usually seen alone, but groups as large as six have been seen feeding together in large fruit trees. BBassaricyon gabbii, known commonly as an olingo, avoids kinkajous (Potos flavus), since the closely related kinkajous will chase them out of trees. Because they are nocturnal, olingos do not compete directly with most primates. (Kays, 2000; Pontes and Chivers, 2002)

Home Range

The home range size for these animals has not been reported.

Communication and Perception

It is thought that B. gabbii communicates with conspecifics using sound. Olingos also have glands on either side of the anus that that are used in scent marking. The function of this scent marking may be to attract members of the opposite sex, or to mark territory. Because they are mammals, it is likely that visual signals, such as body posture, are used in some instances. Tactile communication is undoubtedly of importance between rivals, mates, as well as between mothers and offspring. (Kays, 2000; Nowak, 1999)

Food Habits

Bassaricyon gabbii feeds on fruits, nectar, flowers, insects, and small vertebrates. It is primarily a frugivore and prefers to feed in fruit trees. However, it is reported to consume considerably more meat in captivity than Potos flavus, and actively hunts warm-blooded animals. (Nowak, 1999; Kays, 2000; Nowak, 1999; Pontes and Chivers, 2002)

  • Animal Foods
  • birds
  • mammals
  • amphibians
  • reptiles
  • eggs
  • insects
  • terrestrial non-insect arthropods
  • Plant Foods
  • fruit
  • flowers
  • sap or other plant fluids

Predation

The predators of B. gabbii are snakes and large cats like the jaguar (Panthera onca). Humans are known to kill them, but not for food. ("Mammals of Iwokrama", 1999; Nowak, 1999)

Ecosystem Roles

Bassaricyon gabbii is a minor seed disperser. In addition, this species may affect populations of small vertebrates upon which it preys, as well as those of large carnivores which prey upon it. It is a known competitor of Potos flavus, and is probably an indirect competitor with many diurnal primate species which feed on fruits. ("Mammals of Iwokrama", 1999; Kays, 2000; Nowak, 1999; Pontes and Chivers, 2002)

  • Ecosystem Impact
  • disperses seeds

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Bassaricyon gabbii is not known to have any direct economic importance to humans. (Nowak, 1999)

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

Bassaricyon gabbii can eat fruit being grown commercially, but its population is so sparse that it does not constitute a major threat to crops. (Pontes and Chivers, 2002)

  • Negative Impacts
  • crop pest

Conservation Status

Deforestation of B. gabbii habitat is reducing the population, but no exact numbers are known. The species is listed on Appendix III of CITES in Costa Rica. IUCN lists the species as Lower risk. ("IUCN Red list of Threatened species", 2002; Kays, 2000; Pontes and Chivers, 2002)

Other Comments

Five species of the genus Bassaricyon are currently recognized by most authorities. However, some think that these five species should be demoted to the rank of subspecies of a single species. (Nowak, 1999)

Natives of the Amazon consider the olingos dangerous and kill them on sight. (Pontes and Chivers, 2002)

Contributors

Nancy Shefferly (editor), Animal Diversity Web.

Lee Berger (author), University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Chris Yahnke (editor, instructor), University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

Glossary

Neotropical

living in the southern part of the New World. In other words, Central and South America.

World Map

acoustic

uses sound to communicate

altricial

young are born in a relatively underdeveloped state; they are unable to feed or care for themselves or locomote independently for a period of time after birth/hatching. In birds, naked and helpless after hatching.

arboreal

Referring to an animal that lives in trees; tree-climbing.

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.

chemical

uses smells or other chemicals to communicate

endothermic

animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.

fertilization

union of egg and spermatozoan

forest

forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.

frugivore

an animal that mainly eats fruit

herbivore

An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.

iteroparous

offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).

motile

having the capacity to move from one place to another.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.

nocturnal

active during the night

polygynandrous

the kind of polygamy in which a female pairs with several males, each of which also pairs with several different females.

rainforest

rainforests, both temperate and tropical, are dominated by trees often forming a closed canopy with little light reaching the ground. Epiphytes and climbing plants are also abundant. Precipitation is typically not limiting, but may be somewhat seasonal.

scent marks

communicates by producing scents from special gland(s) and placing them on a surface whether others can smell or taste them

sedentary

remains in the same area

sexual

reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female

solitary

lives alone

tactile

uses touch to communicate

terrestrial

Living on the ground.

tropical

the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.

visual

uses sight to communicate

viviparous

reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female.

year-round breeding

breeding takes place throughout the year

References

IUCN. 2002. "IUCN Red list of Threatened species" (On-line ). Accessed 11/25/02 at http://www.redlist.org/search/details.php?species=2609.

Iwokrama International Centre for Rain Forest Conservation and Development. 1999. "Mammals of Iwokrama" (On-line). Iwokrama International Centre for Rain Forest Conservation and Development. Accessed May 13, 2004 at http://www.iwokrama.org/mammals/frame.html.

Kays, R. 2000. The behavior and ecology of olingos (Bassaricyon gabbii) and their competition with kinkajous (Potos flavus) in central Panama. Mammalia, 64: 1-10.

Nowak, R. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World, Sixth Edition. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Pontes, A., D. Chivers. 2002. Abundance, Habitat Use and Conservation of the Olingo Bassaricyon sp. in Maraca Ecological Station, Roraima, Brazilian Amazonia. Studies on Neotropical Fauna and Environment, 37/2: 105-109.