Conepatus chinga 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Carnivora Mephitidae

Scientific Name: Conepatus chinga (Molina, 1782)
Common Name(s):
English Molina's Hog-nosed Skunk
Spanish Zorrino Común
Taxonomic Notes:

While many authors have traditionally considered skunks a subfamily (Mephitinae) within Mustelidae, recent molecular evidence indicates that skunks do not lie within the mustelid group and should be recognised as a single family, Mephitidae (Dragoo and Honeycutt 1997).

A recent revision including morphological, molecular and pelage coloration analyses proposed that Conepatus chinga and C. humboldtii are conspecific, and as C. chinga has page priority, this should be the valid name for the species (Schiaffini et al. 2013). The same authors (p. 341) wrote that "samples from Chile, DNA samples from this country and from north-west Argentina, and other genes will help to test this hypothesis and the conclusions presented in this paper" and pending such corroboration, the Red List maintains the treatment as two species.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2015-03-01
Assessor(s): Emmons, L., Schiaffini, M. & Schipper, J.
Reviewer(s): Duckworth, J.W.
This species is listed as Least Concern because it is widespread in a region of extensively intact habitat, and although subject to hunting and habitat loss is not believed to be declining fast enough to warrant listing in a higher category of threat.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The species is found in mid to southern South America. It occurs from southern Peru through Bolivia south to Uruguay, western Paraguay, and southern Chile and Argentina. The species has been also observed in various localities in South Brazil: São Paulo (de Vivo and Gregorin 2001); at south São Paulo and Paraná (Cáceres 2004); at eastern Paraná and eastern Santa Catarina (Cimardi 1996, Cherem et al. 2007); and Rio Grande do Sul (dos Santos et al. 2004, Kasper et al. 2012a, 2012b).
Countries occurrence:
Argentina; Bolivia, Plurinational States of; Brazil; Chile; Paraguay; Peru; Uruguay
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):4100
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This species is locally common. Density value reported for Chile is 5 individuals/km² (Cofré and Marquet 1999). In two different landscapes in Argentina, density values vary from 0.68 to 1.66 individuals/km² (Castillo et al. 2011a).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Molina’s Hog-nosed Skunk is mainly nocturnal and solitary (Donadio et al. 2001). It is a generalist feeder, using a wide variety of items, including arthropods (particularly Coleoptera larvae), vertebrates (as carrion) and some plant material (Travaini et al. 1998, Donadio et al. 2004). Its home range seems to be highly variable between sexes and areas, with 243 ha for males and 120 ha for females in grassland from Argentina (Castillo et al. 2011a), 194-195 ha for males and females in northwestern Patagonia (Donadio et al. 2001) and 255 ha for males and 100 ha for females in southern Brazil (Kasper et al. 2012b). During rest periods, it prefers the seclusion offered by shrub forests and rocky slope areas (Donadio et al. 2001). Most dens are found in underground burrows on areas with high shrubs and grass cover (Castillo et al. 2011b).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Molina's Hog-nosed Skunks were heavily hunted for their fur in Argentina during the 1970s and early 1980s (Gruss and Waller 1988). Additionally extensive areas of skunk habitat, including the Patagonian steppe, have been severely degraded through overgrazing and soil erosion by livestock (i.e. primarily sheep) and feral, exotic species (Dinerstein et al. 1995, Novaro et al. 2000).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Suggested actions needed to reverse the decline of native species living in the Patagonian steppe include: prevent new introductions; create protected areas in the Patagonian steppe where livestock are excluded and the ecological role of native large fauna is restored; study other consequences of the introduction of exotic species and the ecological extinction of native ones (Novaro et al. 2000). It is also considered necessary to include species of Conepatus in CITES Appendix II in order to obtain data on the trade in the different species, to estimate the exploitation level, and to enforce a better control of the exports, and to avoid cases where one of the species can be exported under the name of any of the other species (IUCN/SSC Mustelid, Viverrid and Procyonid Specialist Group 1992).

Citation: Emmons, L., Schiaffini, M. & Schipper, J. 2016. Conepatus chinga. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T41630A45210528. . Downloaded on 22 August 2018.
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