Spilogale pygmaea 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Carnivora Mephitidae

Scientific Name: Spilogale pygmaea Thomas, 1898
Common Name(s):
English Pygmy Spotted Skunk
Spanish Zorrillo Pigmeo
Taxonomic Notes: Based on patterns of mtDNA variation in Mustelidae, Dragoo and Honeycut (1997) recommended that skunks Mephitis, Conepatus, Spilogale and the Oriental stink-badgers Mydaus be separated as a distinct family (Mephitidae). Wozencraft (2005) recognised the family Mephitidae. Ewer (1973) argued that Spilogale pygmaea is conspecific with S. putorius, a view not now widely accepted.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A2ce ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2015-05-15
Assessor(s): Helgen, K., Cuarón, A.D., Schipper, J. & González-Maya, J.F.
Reviewer(s): Duckworth, J.W.
This species is listed as Vulnerable because an ongoing population reduction suspected to be greater than 30% over the past three generations (taken as 15 years) inferred from rates of habitat loss. The species has a limited and discontinuous range in an area of Mexico which is developing rapidly, and is threatened as a result of human activities related to tourism development. Although the species occurs in a variety of habitats and it is able to survive under human-disturbed conditions, in these latter areas domestic and feral dogs and cats represent a threat.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Pygmy Spotted Skunk is endemic to the tropical Pacific Coast of Mexico, from Sinaloa south to Oaxaca (Medellín et al. 1998). The species is found from sea-level up to 1630 m asl, but is most common below 350 m.
Countries occurrence:
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):1630
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Spilogale pygmaea is a rare species, which occurs in very few localities and is likely to be restricted to dry forests by the coast (Cantú-Salazar et al. 2009).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Spilogale pygmaea inhabits deciduous tropical forest, semi-evergreen forest, and desert scrub (Ceballos and Miranda 1986). One specimen was obtained in coastal sand dunes with only herbaceous vegetation cover (López-Forment and Urbano 1979). Most individuals have been found in undisturbed habitats and den use suggests that they still are dependent on forests (Cantú-Salazar et al. 2009). Altitudinal distribution is usually 0-100 m above sea level (Van Gelder 1959), with records up to 1,630 m a.s.l. The mean home range was 20.4 ha, with male home ranges larger than those of females (Cantú-Salazar et al. 1999). Spilogale pygmaea is nocturnal. It makes its dens underground or in fallen logs, among rocks, or simply under dense vegetation cover. Food consists of insects, spiders, birds, eggs, small mammals, and some fruit and seeds (Ceballos and Miranda 1986).
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Generation Length (years):5

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Some individuals are stuffed and sold as souvenirs in stores at Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico (R. Medellín pers. comm. 2008).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The rapidly expanding tourist developments occurring in the small range of S. pygmaea along the Pacific Coast of Mexico, together with its discontinuous distribution along the coastline, are probably having a negative effect on this species (Ceballos and Navarro 1991). Some individuals are stuffed and sold as souvenirs in stores at Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico, and hunting is a serious threat all over its distribution (R. Medellín pers. comm. 2008). The great pressure to develop the west coast of Mexico for resorts, roads, and tourist cities is currently destroying much of the habitat of this as well as other endemic species of Mexico (Ramamoorthy et al. 1993, Dinerstein et al. 1995). Domestic and feral dogs and cats prey on this species around human-settled areas.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The species is considered 'vulnerable' (Ceballos and Navarro 1991) and has been listed since 1994 as 'threatened' by the federal governnent of Mexico (2010). Its presence in protected areas has been confirmed in the Cuixmala Biosphere reserve in the coast of Jalisco (Medellín et al. 1998).

Citation: Helgen, K., Cuarón, A.D., Schipper, J. & González-Maya, J.F. 2016. Spilogale pygmaea. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T41637A45211592. . Downloaded on 16 August 2018.
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