Bassariscus sumichrasticacomistle

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Geographic Range

Bassariscus sumichrasti is found from southern Mexico to western Panama (Poglayen-Neuwall 1989).

Habitat

Wet, evergreen tropical woodlands and mountain forests are the preferred habitat of -B. sumichrasti,- though seasonally it will inhabit drier deciduous forests. It can be found from sea level to elevations of 2000 meters (Poglayen-Neuwall 1989).

Physical Description

Typical length is 380 to 470mm, with a tail that is 390 to 530mm long. Shoulder height is 170mm. Coloring is buffed gray to brownish, with a tail ringed in buff and black bands. Ears are pointed. Feet have naked soles and nonretractile claws. Low ridges connect cusps on the premolars and molars (Nowak 1999). Canines are well-developed. There are 40 teeth. The body has a musk-like odor (Poglayen-Neuwall 1989).

  • Average mass
    900 g
    31.72 oz
  • Average mass
    900 g
    31.72 oz
    AnAge
  • Average basal metabolic rate
    3.537 W
    AnAge

Reproduction

Females usually come into estrus between February and June, but estrus can occur at any time. Estrus lasts for 44 days; females are receptive for only one day. Gestation lasts for from 63 to 66 days, after which one young is born in a nest or den in a tree. Newborns have a mass of 25 grams. Young open their eyes at 34 days, can eat solid food at six to seven weeks, are able to forage along with their mother at two months, and are weaned at three months. Although the mother is responsible for most of the care of the young, she will sometimes tolerate the presence of the father and allow him to associate and play with the young. Sexual maturity in both sexes coincides with dispersal at the age of 10 months. The lifespan of -B. sumichrasti-has not been studied in the wild, but captive animals are known to reach 23 years of age (Poglayen-Neuwall 1989).

  • Key Reproductive Features
  • gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)
  • sexual
  • Average number of offspring
    2
    AnAge
  • Average gestation period
    64 days
    AnAge
  • Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
    Sex: female
    300 days
    AnAge
  • Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
    Sex: male
    300 days
    AnAge

Lifespan/Longevity

Behavior

Nocturnal and arboreal, -B. sumichrasti-almost never comes down to the ground. It is solitary, except during the mating season, although five to nine have been seen congregating in favored fruit trees. Aggressive behavior can occur between individuals. Territories can cover up to 136 hectares and do not overlap (Nowak 1999). Neither sex marks its territory. Loud calls are exchanged between individuals, sometimes for hours at a time; these calls are believed to be used to delineate territorial boundaries (Poglayen-Neuwall 1989).

Predators include nocturnal predatory birds, ocelots, tayras, giant snakes, and humans (Poglayen-Neuwall 1989).

Communication and Perception

Food Habits

B. sumichrasti is omnivorous. They seem to prefer fruits such as wild figs, papayas, and bananas. Other foods include eggs, tree frogs, lizards, insects, birds, and mice (Poglayen-Neuwall 1989).

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Humans hunt B. sumichrasti for fur and meat (Nowak 1999).

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

Domestic poultry sometimes falls prey to B. sumichrasti (Poglayen-Neuwall 1989).

Conservation Status

Nowhere in its range is B. sumichrasti common. This is especially true in Costa Rica, where it inhabits only a very small area (Poglayen-Neuwall 1989). It is completely dependent on forests, making it particularly susceptible to deforestation (Nowak 1999).

Contributors

Barbara Lundrigan (author), Michigan State University, Trevor Zachariah (author), Michigan State University.

Glossary

Neotropical

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

World Map

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.

forest

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

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.

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.

sexual

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

tactile

uses touch to communicate

References

Nowak, R. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World. Vol I. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Poglayen-Neuwall, I. 1989. Procyonids. Pp. 450-468 in S Parker, ed. Grzimek's Encyclopedia of Mammals. Vol 3. New York: McGraw-Hill.