Mephitis macroura 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Carnivora Mephitidae

Scientific Name: Mephitis macroura Lichtenstein, 1832
Common Name(s):
English Hooded Skunk
French Moufette à capuchon
Spanish Zorillo
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 family and should be recognised as a separate family, Mephitidae (Wozencraft 2005).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2015-03-01
Assessor(s): Cuarón, A.D., González-Maya, J.F., Helgen, K., Reid, F., Schipper, J. & Dragoo, J.W.
Reviewer(s): Duckworth, J.W.
This species is listed as Least Concern because it has a wide distribution range, is present in a variety of habitats, is common across its range (Hwang and Lariviere 2001) and is tolerant of human activities. It is suspected that the species population is increasing in some regions.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Mephitis macroura occurs from the southern United States (southwestern Texas, southwestern New Mexico, and southeastern Arizona), throughout Mexico, into Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and northwest Costa Rica. (Hall 1981, Janzen and Hallwachs 1982, Rosatte 1987, Reid 1997, Dragoo 2009). There are no recent records from Texas (Dragoo 2009, J.W. Dragoo pers. comm. 2016).
Countries occurrence:
El Salvador; Guatemala; Honduras; Mexico; Nicaragua; United States
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):2440
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Little is known of the population dynamics of Hooded Skunk (Rosatte 1987,Dragoo 2009). The species is common in Costa Rica (F. Reid pers. comm. 2008), and very abundant in Mexico (Hwang and Lariviere 2001). There are no recent records from Texas but it is quite common in Arizona (Schmidly 2004, Dragoo 2009, J.W. Dragoo pers. comm. 2016).
Current Population Trend:Increasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The Hooded Skunk is most common in the arid lowlands (Davis and Russell 1954), but also occurs in deciduous or ponderosa forest, forest edges, pastures, rocky canyons, and riparian habitats (Baker 1956, Findley et al. 1975, Janzen and Hallwachs 1982). This species seems to benefit from human-disturbed areas and can be abundant around human populations. Typically, M. macroura occurs from sea level to 2,440 m (Hubbard 1972), but it was also found at higher elevations in Mexico (Davis and Russell 1954) and in Arizona (Hoffmeister 1986). In Guerrero, Mexico, the species is widespread but scattered below 1,830 m (Davis and Lukens 1958). In Mexico, Hooded Skunk individuals occupy home ranges of 2.8–5.0 km² (Ceballos and Miranda 1986). It consumes mainly insects, fruits, small vertebrates, and bird eggs (Patton 1974, Reid 2009). In Arizona, U.S.A., where it overlaps with Striped Skunk Mephitis mephitis, competition between the two is minimal (Hass and Dragoo in press). The life history is discussed in Dragoo and Hass in prep.). The various parasites and diseases are discussed in Hass and Dragoo (2006) and Dragoo and Hass in (prep.).
Generation Length (years):4.7

Use and Trade [top]

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

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Hooded Skunk is not threatened. In Mexico, it is very abundant and survives in human-altered habitats such as cultivated fields, pastures, and suburban areas (Hwang and Larivière 2001). However, its meat is desired in some areas (Davis 1944) while other parts have some other uses in Guatemala and Mexico (Dalquest 1953, Reid 2009). It is subject to control as a nuisance animal in some areas, but there is no evidence that this is a threat except potntially at the most local of levels

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The species does not have any specific protection status in Central America (de la Rosa and Nocke 2000).

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.4. Forest - Temperate
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
3. Shrubland -> 3.5. Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
3. Shrubland -> 3.6. Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical Moist
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
4. Grassland -> 4.5. Grassland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
0. Root -> 6. Rocky areas (eg. inland cliffs, mountain peaks)
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
8. Desert -> 8.2. Desert - Temperate
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.1. Artificial/Terrestrial - Arable Land
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.2. Artificial/Terrestrial - Pastureland
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.3. Artificial/Terrestrial - Plantations
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.5. Artificial/Terrestrial - Urban Areas

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
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

3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

Baker, R.H. 1956. Mammals of Coahuila, Mexico. Museum of Natural History, pp. 125-135. University of Kansas Publications.

Ceballos, G. and Miranda, A. 1986. Los mamíferos de Chamela, Jalisco: manual de campo. Universidad Nacional Autonoma de México, México City, Mexico.

Dalquest, W.W. 1953. Mammals of the Mexican state of San Luis Potosi. Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge, LA, USA.

Davis, W.B. 1944. Notes on Mexican mammals. Journal of Mammalogy 25: 370–403.

Davis, W. B. and Lukens Jr., D. J. 1958. Mammals of the Mexican state of Guerrero, exclusive of Chiroptera and Rodentia. Journal of Mammalogy 39: 347-367.

Davis, W. B. and Russell, R. J. 1954. Mammals of the Mexican state of Morelos. Journal of Mammalogy 35: 63-80.

de la Rosa, C.L. and Nocke, C.C. 2000. A Guide to the Carnivores of Central America: Natural History, Ecology, and Conservation. University of Texas Press, Austin, TX, USA.

Dragoo, J.W. 2009. Family Mephitidae (skunks). In: D.E. Wilson and R.A. Mittermeier (eds), Handbook of the mammals of the world. Volume 1, Carnivores., pp. 532-563. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Dragoo, J.W. and Hass C.C. Submitted. Hooded Skunk (Mephitis macroura). In: J.-L.E. Cartron and J.K. Frey (eds), The Wild Carnivores of New Mexico., University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.A.

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

Findley, J.S., Harris, A.H., Wilson, D.E. and Jones, C.E. 1975. Mammals of New Mexico. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, NM, USA.

Hall, E.R. 1981. The Mammals of North America. John Wiley and Sons, New York, USA.

Hass, C.C. and Dragoo, J.W. 2006. Rabies in Hooded and Striped Skunks in Arizona. Journal of Wildlife Diseases 42: 825-829.

Hass, C.C. and Dragoo, J.W. Submitted. Competition and coexistence in sympatric skunks. In: D.W. Macdonald, C. Newman and L. Harrington (eds), Biology and Conservation of the Musteloids (Badgers, Otters, Skunks, Raccoons and their kin)., Oxford University Press, Oxford U.K.

Hoffmeister, D.F. 1986. Mammals of Arizona. University of Arizona Press and Arizona Game and Fish Department, Tucson, Arizona, USA.

Hubbard, J. P. 1972. Hooded skunk on the Mongolian Plateau, New Mexico. Southwestern Naturalist 16: 458.

Hwang, Y. and Larivière, S. 2001. Mephitis macroura. Mammalian Species 686: 1-3.

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

Janzen, D. H. and Hallwachs, W. 1982. The hooded skunk, Mephitis macroura, in lowland northwestern Costa Rica. Brenesia 19-20: 549–552.

Pacifici, M., Santini, L., Di Marco, M., Baisero, D., Francucci, L., Grottolo Marasini, G., Visconti, P. and Rondinini, C. 2013. Generation length for mammals. Nature Conservation 5: 87–94.

Patton, R. F. 1974. Ecological and behavioural relationships of the skunks of Trans Pecos Texas. Texas A&M University.

Reid, F.A. 1997. A Field Guide to the Mammals of Central America and Southeast Mexico. Oxford University Press, New York.

Rosatte, R.C. 1987. Striped, Spotted, Hooded, and Hog-nosed Skunk. In: M. Novak, J.A. Baker, M.E. Obbard and B. Malloch (eds), Wild furbearer management and conservation in North America, pp. 1150 pp.. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and the Ontario Trappers Association, Ontario, Canada, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Schmidly, D.J. 2004. The Mammals of Texas. Revised Edition. University of Texas Press, Austin, Texas, USA.

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: Cuarón, A.D., González-Maya, J.F., Helgen, K., Reid, F., Schipper, J. & Dragoo, J.W. 2016. Mephitis macroura. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T41634A45211135. . Downloaded on 23 April 2018.
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