Bassariscus astutus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Carnivora Procyonidae

Scientific Name: Bassariscus astutus (Lichtenstein, 1830)
Common Name(s):
English Ringtail
Bassaris astuta Lichtenstein, 1830
Taxonomic Notes: The genus Bassariscus, which comprises only two species, is regarded together with Bassaricyon as one of the most primitive procyonid genera (Wozencraft 1989). It is also one of only two procyonid genera not confounded with known taxonomic problems.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2015-03-01
Assessor(s): Reid, F., Schipper, J. & Timm, R.
Reviewer(s): Duckworth, J.W.
This Ringtail is listed as Least Concern because it is common and widely distributed from central USA to northern Mexico, and adapts well to disturbed areas (Barja and List 2006).
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The Ringtail is widely distributed in Mexico and across the United States of America from southern Oregon and California through the south-western states to Texas (Hall 1981, Poglayen-Neuwall and Toweill 1988). In Mexico, its distribution is from the desert region of the Baja California peninsula to Oaxaca. Three islands in the Gulf of California are included in its distribution: Tiburón, Espíritu Santo, and San José (Lawlor 1983). The species is usually distributed from sea level to 1,400 m a.s.l. with records at 2,000 and 2900 m a.s.l. (Poglayen-Neuwall and Toweill 1988).
Countries occurrence:
Mexico; United States
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):2900
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Found always in low densities and considered not abundant. Densities reported for Ringtail vary from 10.5 to 20.5 individuals/km² (Belluomini 1983, Belluomini and Trapp 1984), 7 to 20 individuals/km² (Lacy 1983) and 2.2 to 4.2/km² (Toweill and Teer 1980) to 0.08 to 2.3 individuals/km² (Grinnell et al. 1937) and 1.5 to 2.9 individuals/km² (Trapp 1973, 1978).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The Ringtail occurs in a variety of habitats: semi-arid oak forests (Quercus), Pinyon Pine (Pinus edulis) or juniper (Juniperus) woodland, montane conifer forests, chaparral, desert, dry tropical habitats and rocky or cliff areas (Poglayen-Neuwall and Toweill 1988). It adapts well to disturbed areas and is frequently found in human habitation (Barja and List 2006). Reports on home range include 5.0 to 13.8 ha for four individuals (Lacy 1983), 43.4 ha (35 and 51.7 ha) for two males and 20.3 ha (15.7 to 27.7 ha) for three females (Toweill and Teer 1980) and 136 ha (49 to 233) for nine individuals. Ringtail is a nocturnal carnivore with some crepuscular activity and is solitary, except for the breeding season (Toweill and Toweill 1978, Poglayen-Neuwall and Toweill 1988). It breeds at the end of February and gives birth in May (Poglayen-Neuwall and Poglayen-Neuwall 1980). It eats rodents, insects, birds, and a good amount of fruit (Trapp 1978, Aranda 2000).
Generation Length (years):5.7

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: For information on use and trade, see under Threats.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The Ringtail is legally trapped for fur in the states of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Texas (USA), where it is also caught incidentally in traps set for valuable fur-bearers such as foxes (Canidae) and raccoons Procyon. In recent years about 4,000 have been taken annually in Arizona, and about 1,000 in New Mexico. In Texas 45,000~50,000 Ringtails were trapped each year from 1979 to 1985. As with raccoons, the number of Ringtails trapped for fur has declined since a peak in 1979, when approximately 135,000 pelts were sold. Ringtail fur is of poor quality (thin, non-durable, and subject to fading), and pelts have usually sold for less than US$5 each although they have brought as much as US$12. The justification for trapping Ringtails for fur is weak, especially because in none of the states where trapping is legal is there sufficient knowledge of population levels and trends on which to base valid harvest regulations (Glatston 1994). Threats to the Ringtail include also automobiles (Glatston 1994).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The Ringtail occurs in a number of protected areas.

Citation: Reid, F., Schipper, J. & Timm, R. 2016. Bassariscus astutus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T41680A45215881. . Downloaded on 18 September 2018.
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