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List of mephitids

Two black and white striped skunks
Striped skunks (Mephitis mephitis)

Mephitidae is a family of mammals in the order Carnivora, which comprises the skunks and stink badgers. A member of this family is called a mephitid. The skunks of the family are widespread across the Americas, while the stink badgers are in the Greater Sunda Islands of southeast Asia. Species inhabit a variety of habitats, though typically grassland, forest, and shrubland. Most mephitids are 20–50 cm (8–20 in) long, plus a 10–40 cm (4–16 in) tail, though the pygmy spotted skunk can be as small as 11 cm (4 in) plus a 7 cm (3 in) tail, and some striped skunks can be up to 82 cm (32 in) plus a 40 cm (16 in) tail. No estimates have been made for overall population sizes of any of the species, but two species are classified as vulnerable. Mephetids in general are not domesticated, though skunks are sometimes kept as pets.[1]

The twelve species of Mephitidae are split into four genera: the monotypic Conepatus, hog-nosed skunks; Mephitis, skunks; Mydaus, stink badgers; and Spilogale, spotted skunks. Mephitidae was traditionally a clade within the Mustelidae family, with the stink badgers combined with other badgers within the Melinae genus, but more recent genetic evidence resulted in the consensus to separate Mephitidae into its own family.[2] Extinct species have also been placed into all of the extant genera besides Mydaus, as well as 9 extinct genera; 26 extinct Mephitidae species have been found, though due to ongoing research and discoveries the exact number and categorization is not fixed.

Conventions

IUCN Red List categories
Conservation status
 EX Extinct (0 species)
 EW Extinct in the wild (0 species)
 CR Critically endangered (0 species)
 EN Endangered (0 species)
 VU Vulnerable (2 species)
 NT Near threatened (0 species)
 LC Least concern (10 species)

Conservation status codes listed follow the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. Range maps are provided wherever possible; if a range map is not available, a description of the mephetid's range is provided. Ranges are based on the IUCN red list for that species unless otherwise noted. All extinct species or subspecies listed alongside extant species went extinct after 1500 CE, and are indicated by a dagger symbol "Extinct". Population figures are rounded to the nearest hundred.

Classification

The family Mephitidae consists of twelve extant species belonging to four genera and divided into dozens of extant subspecies. It is not divided into subfamilies. This does not include hybrid species or extinct prehistoric species.

  • Genus Conepatus (hog-nosed skunks): four species
  • Genus Mephitis (skunks): two species
  • Genus Mydaus: (stink badgers): two species
  • Genus Spilogale: (spotted skunks): four species

Mephitids

The following classification is based on the taxonomy described by Mammal Species of the World (2005), with augmentation by generally accepted proposals made since using molecular phylogenetic analysis.

Genus Conepatus (Gray, 1837) – four species
Common name Scientific name and subspecies Range Size and ecology IUCN status and estimated population
American hog-nosed skunk

Drawing of black skunk with white back and tail on sand

C. leuconotus
Lichtenstein, 1832

Southern North America and northern Central America
Conepatus leuconotus range.PNG
Size: 34–51 cm (13–20 in) long, plus 12–41 cm (5–16 in) tail[3]

Habitat: Rocky areas, forest, grassland, and desert[4]

Diet: Primarily eats insects, as well as fruit and small vertebrates[4]
 LC 


Unknown Population declining[4]

Humboldt's hog-nosed skunk

Black skunk with long white stripes in grass

C. humboldtii
Gray, 1837

Southern tip of South America
Humboldt's Hog-nosed Skunk map.png
Size: 32–45 cm (13–18 in) long, plus 15–18 cm (6–7 in) tail[5]

Habitat: Shrubland, grassland, savanna, and rocky areas[6]

Diet: Primarily eats insects, as well as small mammals, shrubs, and fruit[6]
 LC 


Unknown Population steady[6]

Molina's hog-nosed skunk

Black and white skunk with pink nose in grass

C. chinga
Molina, 1792

Southern South America
Molina's Hog-nosed Skunk area.png
Size: 20–49 cm (8–19 in) long, plus 13–29 cm (5–11 in) tail[3]

Habitat: Grassland, shrubland, and savanna[7]

Diet: Omnivorous; primarily eats invertebrates, rodents, small reptiles, and eggs[3][7]
 LC 


Unknown Population declining[7]

Striped hog-nosed skunk

Museum exhibit of brown skunk with white stripes

C. semistriatus
Boddaert, 1785

Northern and eastern South America and Central America
Striped Hog-nosed Skunk area.png
Size: 33–50 cm (13–20 in) long, plus 13–31 cm (5–12 in) tail[3]

Habitat: Grassland, shrubland, and forest[8]

Diet: Primarily eats insects, lizards, and birds[8]
 LC 


Unknown Unknown[8]

Genus Mephitis (Geoffroy, 1795) – two species
Common name Scientific name and subspecies Range Size and ecology IUCN status and estimated population
Hooded skunk

Black skunk with white back and tail in dirt

M. macroura
Lichtenstein, 1832

Mexico and Central America
Hooded Skunk area.png
Size: 19–30 cm (7–12 in) long, plus 35–40 cm (14–16 in) tail[9]

Habitat: Desert, shrubland, rocky areas, grassland, and forest[10]

Diet: Primarily eats insects, fruit, small vertebrates, and bird eggs[10]
 LC 


Unknown Population increasing[10]

Striped skunk

Black and white striped skunk in snow

M. mephitis
Schreber, 1776

North America
Mephitis mephitis range map.png
Size: 46–82 cm (18–32 in) long, plus 17–40 cm (7–16 in) tail[11]

Habitat: Shrubland, savanna, forest, and grassland[12]

Diet: Primarily eats insects, as well as small mammals, birds, and vegetation[12]
 LC 


Unknown Population steady[12]

Genus Mydaus (F. Cuvier, 1821) – two species
Common name Scientific name and subspecies Range Size and ecology IUCN status and estimated population
Palawan stink badger

Drawing of black/brown stink badger

M. marchei
Huet, 1887
Western Phillipines
Palawan Stink Badger area.png
Size: 32–49 cm (13–19 in) long, plus 1–5 cm (0–2 in) tail[3]

Habitat: Forest, shrubland, and introduced vegetation[13]

Diet: Primarily eats worms and arthropods[13]
 LC 


Unknown Population steady[13]

Sunda stink badger

Drawing of black and white stink badger on rocks

M. javanensis
Desmarest, 1820

Indonesia and Malaysia
Sunda Stink Badger area.png
Size: 37–51 cm (15–20 in) long, plus 5–8 cm (2–3 in) tail[14]

Habitat: Grassland, forest, and shrubland[15]

Diet: Primarily eats birds' eggs, carrion, insects, worms, and plants[15]
 LC 


Unknown Population steady[15]

Genus Spilogale (Gray, 1865) – four species
Common name Scientific name and subspecies Range Size and ecology IUCN status and estimated population
Eastern spotted skunk

Black skunk with white spots on log

S. putorius
Linnaeus, 1758

Eastern United States
Spilogale putorius range map.png
Size: 11–35 cm (4–14 in) long, plus 7–22 cm (3–9 in) tail[16]

Habitat: Forest, rocky areas, shrubland, and grassland[17]

Diet: Omnivorous; primarily eats insects, as well as small mammals and birds[17]
 VU 


Unknown Population declining[17]

Pygmy spotted skunk S. pygmaea
Thomas, 1897

West coast of Mexico
Pygmy Spotted Skunk area.png
Size: 11–35 cm (4–14 in) long, plus 7–12 cm (3–5 in) tail[18]

Habitat: Shrubland, marine coastal/supratidal, and forest[19]

Diet: Primarily eats insects, spiders, birds, eggs, small mammals, fruit, and seeds[19]
 VU 


Unknown Population declining[19]

Southern spotted skunk

Blakc skunk with white spots and tail in grass

S. angustifrons
Howell, 1902

Mexico and Central America
Southern Spotted Skunk area.png
Size: 20–25 cm (8–10 in) long, plus 10–15 cm (4–6 in) tail[3]

Habitat: Forest and rocky areas[20]

Diet: Omnivorous; primarily eats insects, small mammals, fruit, grain, birds, and bird eggs[20]
 LC 


Unknown Population steady[20]

Western spotted skunk

Black skunk with white spots on rocks

S. gracilis
Merriam, 1890

Western North America
Western Spotted Skunk area.png
Size: 24–37 cm (9–15 in) long, plus 8–21 cm (3–8 in) tail[3]

Habitat: Inland wetlands, grassland, shrubland, rocky areas, savanna, and forest[21]

Diet: Primarily eats insects, small mammals, carrion, berries, and fruit[21]
 LC 


Unknown Population declining[21]

Prehistoric mephitids

In addition to extant mephitids, a number of prehistoric species have been discovered and classified as a part of Mephitidae. In addition to being placed within the extant genera Conepatus, Mephitis, and Spilogale, they have been categorized within nine extinct genera. There is no generally accepted classification of extinct mephitid species. The species listed here are based on data from the Paleobiology Database, unless otherwise cited. Where available, the approximate time period the species was extant is given in millions of years before the present (Mya), also based on data from the Paleobiology Database.[22] All listed species are extinct; where a genus or subfamily within Mephitidae comprises only extinct species, it is indicated with a dagger symbol Extinct.

  • Genus BrachyopsigaleExtinct (4.9–1.8 Mya)
    • B. dubius (4.9–1.8 Mya)
  • Genus BrachyprotomaExtinct (1.8–0.012 Mya)
    • B. obtusata (short-faced skunk) (1.8–0.012 Mya)
  • Genus BuisnictisExtinct (4.9–1.8 Mya)
    • B. breviramus (4.9–1.8 Mya)
    • B. burrowsi (4.9–1.8 Mya)
    • B. metabatos (4.9–1.8 Mya)
    • B. schoffi (4.9–1.8 Mya)
  • Genus Conepatus (11 Mya–present)
    • C. robustus (0.13–0.012 Mya)
    • C. sanmiguelensis (11–5.3 Mya)
    • C. suffocans (2.6–0.78 Mya)
  • Genus MartinogaleExtinct
    • M. alveodens (11–4.9 Mya)
    • M. chisoensis (11–4.9 Mya)
    • M. faulli (12–5.3 Mya)
    • M. nambiana
  • Genus Mephitis
    • M. cordubensis
    • M. orthrostica
    • M. rexroadensis (4.9–1.8 Mya)
  • Genus MiomephitisExtinct
    • M. pilgrimi
  • Genus OsmotheriumExtinct
    • O. spelaeum (1.8–0.3 Mya)
  • Genus PalaeomephitisExtinct
    • P. steinheimensis[23]
  • Genus PliogaleExtinct (14–4.9 Mya)
    • P. furlongi (11–4.9 Mya)
    • P. manka (14–10 Mya)
  • Genus PromephitisExtinct
  • Genus Spilogale (4.9 Mya–present)
    • S. microdens (4.9–1.8 Mya)
    • S. rexroadi (4.9–1.8 Mya)

References

  1. ^ Johnson-Delaney, C. (October 2014). "Pet Virginia Opossums and Skunks". Journal of Exotic Pet Medicine. Unusual Exotic Pets. 23 (4): 317–326. doi:10.1053/j.jepm.2014.07.011.
  2. ^ Goswami, Anjali; Friscia, Anthony (2010). Carnivoran Evolution: New Views on Phylogeny, Form and Function. Cambridge University Press. p. 30. ISBN 978-0-521-73586-5.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Hunter, Luke (January 8, 2019). Carnivores of the World (2nd ed.). Princeton University Press. pp. 150–156. ISBN 978-0-691-18295-7.
  4. ^ a b c Helgen, K. (2016). "Conepatus leuconotus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T41632A45210809. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-1.RLTS.T41632A45210809.en.
  5. ^ Shaw, Weylan (2002). "Conepatus humboldtii". Animal Diversity Web. University of Michigan. Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  6. ^ a b c Emmons, L.; Helgen, K. (2016). "Conepatus humboldtii". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T41631A45210677. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-1.RLTS.T41631A45210677.en.
  7. ^ a b c Emmons, L.; Schiaffini, M.; Schipper, J. (2016). "Conepatus chinga". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T41630A45210528. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-1.RLTS.T41630A45210528.en.
  8. ^ a b c Cuarón, A. D.; Helgen, K.; Reid, F. (2016). "Conepatus semistriatus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T41633A45210987. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-1.RLTS.T41633A45210987.en.
  9. ^ Bairos-Novak, Kevin (2014). "Mephitis macroura". Animal Diversity Web. University of Michigan. Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  10. ^ a b c Cuarón, A. D.; González-Maya, J. F.; Helgen, K.; Reid, F.; Schipper, J.; Dragoo, J. W. (2016). "Mephitis macroura". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T41634A45211135. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-1.RLTS.T41634A45211135.en.
  11. ^ Kiiskila, Jeffrey (2014). "Mephitis mephitis". Animal Diversity Web. University of Michigan. Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  12. ^ a b c Helgen, K.; Reid, F. (2016). "Mephitis mephitis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T41635A45211301. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-1.RLTS.T41635A45211301.en.
  13. ^ a b c Widmann, P. (2015). "Mydaus marchei". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2015: e.T14055A45201420. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-4.RLTS.T14055A45201420.en.
  14. ^ Krauskopf, Rachel (2002). "Mydaus javanensis". Animal Diversity Web. University of Michigan. Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  15. ^ a b c Wilting, A.; Duckworth, J. W.; Meijaard, E.; Ross, J.; Hearn, A.; Ario, A. (2015). "Mydaus javanensis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2015: e.T41628A45209955. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-4.RLTS.T41628A45209955.en.
  16. ^ Pennington, Stefanie (2002). "Spilogale putorius". Animal Diversity Web. University of Michigan. Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  17. ^ a b c Gompper, M.; Jachowski, D. (2016). "Spilogale putorius". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T41636A45211474. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-1.RLTS.T41636A45211474.en.
  18. ^ Gay, Bradley David (1999). "Spilogale pygmaea". Animal Diversity Web. University of Michigan. Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  19. ^ a b c Helgen, K.; Cuarón, A. D.; Schipper, J.; González-Maya, J. F. (2016). "Spilogale pygmaea". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T41637A45211592. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-1.RLTS.T41637A45211592.en.
  20. ^ a b c Helgen, K.; Reid, F.; Timm, R. (2016). "Spilogale angustifrons". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T136636A45221538. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-1.RLTS.T136636A45221538.en.
  21. ^ a b c Cuarón, A. D.; Helgen, K.; Reid, F. (2016). "Spilogale gracilis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T136797A45221721. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-1.RLTS.T136797A45221721.en.
  22. ^ "Fossilworks: Mephitidae". Paleobiology Database. University of Wisconsin–Madison. Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  23. ^ Wolsan, M. (1999). "Oldest mephitine cranium and its implications for the origin of skunks" (PDF). Acta Palaeontologica Polonica. 44 (2): 223–230.
  24. ^ a b Wang, X.; Zhanxiang, Q. (2004). "Late Miocene Promephitis (Carnivora, Mephitidae) from China". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 24 (3): 721–731. doi:10.1671/0272-4634(2004)024[0721:LMPCMF]2.0.CO;2.

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