Conepatus semistriatusstriped hog-nosed skunk

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Geographic Range

Conepatus semistriatus is a neotropical species. Its range begins in southern Mexico and continues south and east into northern Peru and eastern Brazil. (Nowak, 1999)

Habitat

Habitat selection by C. semistriatus depends on the season. During the dry season, the habitat selection is most diverse and includes grasslands, deciduous forests, shrub woodlands, and open areas, with a majority of the time spent in deciduous forests and shrub woodlands. During the wet season, habitat selection becomes more selective and tends to be restricted to areas of higher elevations, mainly in deciduous forests. (Sunquist, et al., 1989)

Physical Description

The back of C. semistriatus is black with a white area beginning at the nape of the neck and extending backward, then branching into two stripes separated by a narrow black stripe. The tail is covered with an array of black and white hairs that are shorter than in other species of the genus. The fur is more coarse in Conepatus than in other genera of skunks. (Medellin, et al., 1992; Nowak, 1999)

The average wieght of C. semistriatus is 1600 g, and the average length is 570 mm. males are reported otbe larger than females.

The claws of this species are elongated, as is typical of the genus. The species has a broad hog-like nosepad, from which it gets its common name. (Medellin, et al., 1992)

  • Sexual Dimorphism
  • male larger
  • Average mass
    1600 g
    56.39 oz
  • Average length
    570 mm
    22.44 in

Reproduction

The mating system of these animals has not been documented. However, other members of the subfamily Mephitinae (skunks) are typically polygynous. Males are often larger than females and have larger home ranges. Because of the sexual size dimorphism seen in C. semistriatus, it is likely that this species follows the general pattern of the subfamily. (Nowak, 1999)

Reproduction in this species is not well documented. However, in the genus Conepatus, mating is reported to occur in early spring, with birth following after approximately 42 days of gestation. Litters of 2 to 5 young are common. Weaning apparently occurs by about 3 months of age. Sexual maturity occurs by the age of 10 months. (Nowak, 1999)

Delayed implantation is common in Mustelids, and in the subfamily Mephitinae, but has not been documented in Conepatus. (Nowak, 1999)

In temperate species, reproduction apparently occurs annually, but no information is available for C. semistriatus. (Nowak, 1999)

  • Breeding interval
    The breeding interval has not been reported for this species, but for other members of the genus, it is annual.
  • Breeding season
    The breeding season of this species is unknown, but in other species of the genus, mating occurs in the spring.
  • Range number of offspring
    2 to 5
  • Average gestation period
    42 days
  • Average weaning age
    3 months
  • Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
    10 months
  • Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
    10 months

The parental investment of this species has not been documented. However, in other members of the Mephitinae, females are responsible for the bulk of parental care. They give birth to young in a den or burrow of some sort. The young are altricial, and stay in the den until they are able to follow their mother on foraging trips. It is reasonable to assume that C. conepatus is similar. as in all mammals, the mother provides the offspring with milk. (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
    • protecting
      • female

Lifespan/Longevity

There are no reports of longevity in this species. However, another species in the genus is reported to have lived almost 9 years in captivity. (Nowak, 1999)

Behavior

In radio-tracking studies conducted on C. semistriatus it was found to be a solitary and nocturnal animal. The sightings were only of individual animals. Nocturnal movements began anywhere from 8:00 pm to 12:00 pm and lasted for a period of 6 hours. (Sunquist, et al., 1989)

Home Range

Home range varies with the season. During the dry season the minimum home range was 53 ha, while it was only 18 ha for the wet season. This reduction of home range size in the wet season probably is a response to greater food availability, and therefore a reduced need to travel to get enough to eat. (Medellin, et al., 1992)

Communication and Perception

No documentation was found on the communication patterns of this species. However, as in other mammals it is likely that communication involves tactile, vocal, and visual cues. In addition, as mustelids, we can assume that chemical communication from the well developed anal glands plays some role in this species. (Nowak, 1999)

Food Habits

The diet of hog-nosed skunks is varied, but mainly concentrated on insects, lizards, and birds. Other items identified from scat samples include seeds, opossums, armadillos, and small rodents. A large portion of the insect remains appeared to be from termites. (Olmos, 1993)

  • Animal Foods
  • birds
  • mammals
  • reptiles
  • carrion
  • insects
  • terrestrial non-insect arthropods
  • Plant Foods
  • seeds, grains, and nuts
  • fruit

Predation

Although no information was found on anti-predator adaptations in this species, most skunks avoid predation by emitting a strong odor from anal glands. This species has no known predators.

Ecosystem Roles

It is likely that this species helps to distribute seeds of the fruits it consumes. In addition, these skunks probably affect populations of smaller animals upon which they prey.

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

No documentation was found.

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

No documentation was found.

Conservation Status

This species is not listed by IUCN or CITES.

Contributors

Nancy Shefferly (editor), Animal Diversity Web.

Ryan Walker (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.

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.

carrion

flesh of dead animals.

chaparral

Found in coastal areas between 30 and 40 degrees latitude, in areas with a Mediterranean climate. Vegetation is dominated by stands of dense, spiny shrubs with tough (hard or waxy) evergreen leaves. May be maintained by periodic fire. In South America it includes the scrub ecotone between forest and paramo.

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.

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

omnivore

an animal that mainly eats all kinds of things, including plants and animals

scent marks

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

scrub forest

scrub forests develop in areas that experience dry seasons.

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.

tropical savanna and grassland

A terrestrial biome. Savannas are grasslands with scattered individual trees that do not form a closed canopy. Extensive savannas are found in parts of subtropical and tropical Africa and South America, and in Australia.

savanna

A grassland with scattered trees or scattered clumps of trees, a type of community intermediate between grassland and forest. See also Tropical savanna and grassland biome.

temperate grassland

A terrestrial biome found in temperate latitudes (>23.5° N or S latitude). Vegetation is made up mostly of grasses, the height and species diversity of which depend largely on the amount of moisture available. Fire and grazing are important in the long-term maintenance of grasslands.

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.

References

Blomstrom, D. 2000. "Skunks! (family Mephitidae)" (On-line ). Accessed 12/05/01 at http://www.geobop.com/Mammals/Carnivora/Mephitidae/.

Medellin, R., G. Cancino, A. Clemente, R. Guerrero. 1992. Noteworthy records of three mammals from Mexico. The Southwestern Naturalist, 37/4: 427-430.

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

Olmos, F. 1993. Notes on the food habits of brazilian "caatinga" carnivores. Mammalia, 57/1: 126-130.

Sunquist, M., F. Sunquist, D. Daneke. 1989. Ecological separation in a Venezuelan llanos carnivore community. Advances in Neotropical Mammalogy: 197-232.