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).

Classifications [top]

2. Savanna -> 2.1. Savanna - Dry
suitability:Suitable  major importance:No
3. Shrubland -> 3.5. Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
3. Shrubland -> 3.7. Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical High Altitude
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
4. Grassland -> 4.5. Grassland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management
5. Law & policy -> 5.1. Legislation -> 5.1.1. International level

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.3. Livestock farming & ranching -> 2.3.2. Small-holder grazing, ranching or farming
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.1. Intentional use (species is the target)
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

8. Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases -> 8.1. Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases -> 8.1.1. Unspecified species
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

Cabrera, A. and Yepes, J. 1960. Mamíferos Sudamericanos. Ediar, Buenos Aires.

Cáceres, N. C. 2004. Occurrence of Conepatus chinga (Molina) (Mammalia, Carnivora, Mustelidae) and other terrestrial mammals in the Serra do Mar, Paraná, Brazil. Revista Brasileira de Zoologia 21(3): 577–579.

Castillo, D.F., Lucherini, M. and Casanave, E B. 2011b. Denning ecology of Molina's Hog-nosed Skunk in a farmland area in the Pampas grassland of Argentina. Ecological Research 26(4): 845-850.

Castillo, D.F., Lucherini, M., Luengos Vidal, E.M., Manfredi, C. and Casanave, E.B. 2011a. Spatial organization of Molina's Hog-nosed Skunk (Conepatus chinga) in two landscapes of the Pampas grassland of Argentina. Canadian Journal of Zoology 89(3): 229-238.

Cherem, J. J., Kammers, M., Ghizoni-Jr, I. R., & Martins, A. 2007. Mamíferos de médio e grande porte atropelados em rodovias do Estado de Santa Catarina, sul do Brasil. Biotemas 20(3): 81-96.

Cimardi, A. V. 1996. Mamíferos de Santa Catarina. FATMA, Florianópolis.

Cofré, H. and Marquet, P.A. 1999. Conservation status, rarity, and geographic priorities for conservation of Chilean mammals: an assessment. Biological Conservation 88: 53-68.

de Vivo, M. and Gregorin, R. 2001. Mamíferos. In: C. Leonel (ed.), Intervales: Fundação Para Conservação e a Produção Florestal do Estado de São Paulo.

Dinerstein, E., Olson, D. M., Graham, D. J., Webster, A. L., Primm, S. A., Bookbinder, M. P. and Ledec, G. 1995. A conservation assessment of the terrestrial ecoregions of Latin America and the Caribbean. The World Bank and World Wildlife Fund, Washington, DC, USA.

Donadio, E., di Martino, S., Aubone, M. and Novaro, A. J. 2001. Activity patterns, home-range, and habitat selection of the Common Hog-nosed Skunk, Conepatus chinga (Mammmalia, Mustelidae), in north-western Patagonia. Mammalia 65: 49-54.

Donadio, E., di Martino, S., Aubone, M. and Novaro, A. J. 2004. Feeding ecology of the Andean Hog-nosed Skunk (Conepatus chinga) in areas under different land use in north-western Patagonia. Journal of Arid Environments 56(4): 709-718.

dos Santos, M.D.F.M., Pellanda, M., Tomazzoni, A.C., Hasenack, H. & Hartz, S.M. 2004. Mamíferos carnívoros e sua relação com a diversidade de hábitats no Parque Nacional dos Aparados da Serra, sul do Brasil. Iheringia: série zoologia, Porto Alegre 94(3): 235-245.

Dragoo, J.W. and Honeycutt, L. 1997. Systematics of mustelid-like carnivores. Journal of Mammalogy 78: 426-443.

Gruss, J. and Waller, T. 1989. Diagnóstico y recomendaciones sobre la administración de recursos silvestres en Argentina: la década reciente. In: Traffic Sud América (ed.). WWF, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Howard, W.H. and Marsh, R.E. 1982. Spotted and Hog-nosed Skunks. In: J.A. Chapman and G.A. Feldhammer (eds), Wild Mammals of North America, pp. 664-673. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

IUCN. 2016. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016-1. Available at: (Accessed: 30 June 2016).

IUCN/SSC Mustelid, Viverrid and Procyonid Specialist Group. 1992. Better protection for the Hog-nosed skunk? Small Carnivore Conservation 6.

Kasper, C.B., Bastazini, V.A., Soares, J.B. and de Freitas, T.R. 2012b. Abundance of Conepatus chinga (Carnivora, Mephitidae) and other medium-sized mammals in grasslands of southern Brazil. Iheringia. Série Zoologia 102(3): 303-310.

Kasper, C.B., Soares, J.B. and Freitas, T.R. 2012a. Differential patterns of home-range, net displacement and resting sites use of Conepatus chinga in southern Brazil. Mammalian Biology - Zeitschrift für Säugetierkunde 77(5): 358-362.

Mares, M.A., Barquez, R.M., Braun, J.K. and Ojeda, R.A. 1996. Observations on the mammals of Tucuman Province, Argentina. I. Systematics, distribution, and ecology of the Didelphimorphia, Xenarthra, Chiroptera, Primates, Carnivora, Perissodactyla, Artiodactyla, and Lagomorpha. Annals of Carnegie Museum 65: 89-152.

Novaro, A. J., Funes, M. C. and Walker, R. S. 2000. Ecological extinction of native prey of a carnivore assemblage in Argentine Patagonia. Biological Conservation 92: 25-33.

Redford, K.H. and Eisenberg, J.F. 1992. Mammals of the Neotropics, The Southern Cone: Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, USA.

Schiaffini, M.I., Gabrielli, M., Prevosti, F.J., Cardoso, Y.P., Castillo, D., Bo, R., Casanave, E. and Lizarralde, M. 2013. Taxonomic status of southern South American Conepatus (Carnivora: Mephitidae). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 167: 327-344.

Travaini, A., Delibes, M., & Ceballos, O. 1998. Summer foods of the Andean Hog-nosed Skunk (Conepatus chinga) in Patagonia. Journal of Zoology 246: 443-486.

Wozencraft, W.C. 2005. Order Carnivora. In: D.E. Wilson and D.M. Reeder (eds), Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. Third Edition, pp. 532-628. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore.

Citation: Emmons, L., Schiaffini, M. & Schipper, J. 2016. Conepatus chinga. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T41630A45210528. . Downloaded on 25 May 2018.
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