Spilogale gracilis 

Scope: Global

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Carnivora Mephitidae

Scientific Name: Spilogale gracilis
Species Authority: Merriam, 1890
Common Name(s):
English Western Spotted Skunk
Taxonomic Notes: Based on patterns of mtDNA variation in Mustelidae (sensu lato), Dragoo and Honeycut (1997) recommended that the skunks Mephitis, Conepatus, Spilogale and the oriental stink badgers Mydaus be separated from Mustelidae as a distinct family, Mephitidae.

This species has been included in S. putorius by some authors (Wozencraft 1993). Mead (1968) argued that S. gracilis and possibly S. leucoparia, both of which were included in S. putorius by Van Gelder (1959) and Hall (1981), are reproductively isolated from eastern populations and therefore should be considered distinct species. Jones et al. (1992), Baker et al. (2003), and Wozencraft (2005) recognised S. gracilis and S. putorius as separate species.

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., Helgen, K. & Reid, F.
Reviewer(s): Duckworth, J.W.
This species is listed as Least Concern as it is widely distributed in a variety of habitats including human-altered ones. The species may be declining in parts of the United States but not at a rate fast enough to be categorized as even Near Threatened.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The geographic range of the Western Spotted Skunk extends from central Mexico through the western United States to British Columbia (Rosatte 1987).
Countries occurrence:
Mexico; United States
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):2500
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Populations of Western Spotted Skunk have been known to fluctuate in numbers and the animal is generally not common on the United States plains (Polder 1968, Choate et al. 1974). Few studies have been published on its home range, population density and mortality (Howard and Marsh 1982). Crabb (1948) found that the Western Spotted Skunk in Iowa had a home range averaging 64.8 ha at densities of 2.2 individuals/km2.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Western Spotted Skunk has been recorded in a wide spectrum of habitats varying from open lowlands to mountainous areas (Baker and Baker 1975), streams to rocky places, beaches to human buildings and other disturbed areas, chaparral among others (Rosatte 1987, Verts et al. 2001). The species has been found at elevations of 2,500 m asl in California (Orr 1943). Doty and Dowler (2006) reported that M. mephitis and S. gracilis coexist in habitats of west-central Texas that provide sufficient cover for S. gracilis. It is an omnivorous species, feeding primarily on insects and small mammals (Ewer 1973, Kurten and Anderson 1980), and carrion, berries, fruits and other (Bailey 1936, Clark and Stromberg 1987, Maser et al. 1981).

Use and Trade [top]

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

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Humans have been the main cause of mortality for Western Spotted Skunk, especially as a result of automobile roadkills. It is also trapped, shot and poisoned during predator control tactics (Rosatte 1987). Its pelts represent an insignificant fraction of the modern fur trade. Pesticides present a significant threat over portions of the range.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Spilogale gracilis amphialus is considered to be a subspecies of special concern by the state of California (Crooks 1994).

Citation: Cuarón, A.D., Helgen, K. & Reid, F. 2016. Spilogale gracilis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T136797A45221721. . Downloaded on 28 October 2016.
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