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Title: Geographic Range of the Hooded Skunk, Mephitis macroura - With Description of a New Subspecies from Mexico
Author: Hall, E. Raymond (Eugene Raymond), 1902-1986, Dalquest, Walter Woelber, 1917-2000
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                  Geographic Range of the Hooded Skunk,
                Mephitis macroura, with Description of a
                       New Subspecies from Mexico


                 E. RAYMOND HALL and WALTER W. DALQUEST

                   University of Kansas Publications
                       Museum of Natural History

            Volume 1, No. 24, pp. 575-580, 1 figure in text
                            January 20, 1950

                          University of Kansas


         Editors: E. Raymond Hall, Chairman, Edward H. Taylor,
                   A. Byron Leonard, Robert W. Wilson

            Volume 1, No. 24, pp. 575-580, 1 figure in text
                            January 20, 1950

                          UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS
                            Lawrence, Kansas

                               PRINTED BY
                    FERD VOILAND, JR., STATE PRINTER
                             TOPEKA, KANSAS


             Geographic Range of the Hooded Skunk, Mephitis
             macroura, with Description of a New Subspecies
                              from Mexico



The hooded skunk, _Mephitis macroura_ Lichtenstein, can be distinguished
from the only other species in the genus, _Mephitis mephitis_ Schreber,
by the larger tympanic bullae, in the white-backed color phase by having
some black hairs mixed with the white hairs of the back, and in the
black-backed phase by having the two white stripes widely separated and
on the sides of the animal instead of narrowly separated and on the back
of the animal. The starting point for taxonomic work with _Mephitis_ is
A. H. Howell's "Revision of the skunks of the genus Chincha (N. Amer.
Fauna, 20, 1901)." Of the species _Mephitis macroura_, Howell (_op.
cit._) recognized three subspecies: _M. m. macroura_, _M. m. milleri_,
and _M. m. vittata_.

The species _M. macroura_ is restricted to the arid region made up
mostly of the Mexican Plateau. Also, wherever the species occurs beyond
this Plateau, as for example in Guatemala, at San Mateo del Mar in
Oaxaca, in the vicinity of Piedras Negras in Veracruz, and in southern
Arizona, aridity is marked. Whether the species has a continuous
distribution from the southern end of the Mexican tableland southward to
Dueñas in Guatemala is not known but it is unlikely that the lowland
population at San Mateo del Mar on the Pacific slope of Oaxaca has
contact with _M. m. macroura_ of the Mexican Plateau and it is almost
certain that the population, which is here named _M. m. eximius_, from
the arid coastal plain of eastern Mexico in Veracruz, has no connection
with the upland population, _M. m. macroura_. The lowest elevation on
the eastern slope of the Plateau from which we have record of the
occurrence of this species is 4,500 feet at Jico. All along the eastern
slope of the Plateau, between the elevations of approximately 2,000 and
4,500 feet, the belt of lush, dense vegetation of the upper humid
division of the Tropical Life-zone constitutes a barrier to _Mephitis_
and tends to exclude the hooded skunk from the arid territory below the
humid belt. Another kind of skunk, _Conepatus tropicalis_, lives in the
humid belt, at least on the eastern side of the Mexican tableland. How
the population of _Mephitis_, which was sampled by us from west and
west-northwest of Piedras Negras, arrived there is unknown but we think
that its geographic range is not now connected with that of the
population on the Plateau. The same can be said of the lowland
population at San Mateo del Mar in Oaxaca. There, on the Pacific slope
of the Mexican tableland, the lower humid division of the Tropical
Life-zone probably has tended to restrict the spread southward and
westward of _Mephitis_; however, on this Pacific slope the humid belt is
less humid and it is less continuous, we think, than on the Atlantic

Four subspecies of _Mephitis macroura_ may be recognized. They are as

                  #Mephitis macroura milleri# Mearns

        1897. _Mephitis milleri_ Mearns, Proc. U. S. Nat. Mus.,
              20:467, 1897.

        1901. _Mephitis macroura milleri_, Bull. Amer. Mus. Nat.
              Hist., 14:334, November 12, 1901.

    _Type locality._--Fort Lowell, Pima County, Arizona.

    _Range._--Northwestern Mexico and southeastern Arizona. See
    figure 1. Marginal occurrences (unless otherwise indicated,
    after Howell, N. Amer. Fauna, 20:42, 43, 1901) are: _Arizona_:
    Santa Catalina Mountains; Tucson; Fort Lowell. _Chihuahua_:
    Casas Grandes; Chihuahua (City). _Coahuila_: La Ventura.
    _Chihuahua_: Guadalupe y Calvo (mountains near). _Sonora_:
    Camoa; Hermosillo; Sierra Cubabi (Burt, Miscl. Publ., Mus.
    Zool., Univ. Michigan, 39:30, 1938).

    _Characters._--Long skull ([Male] 60 mm, [Female] 56 mm) and
    large m1.

               #Mephitis macroura macroura# Lichtenstein

        1832. _Mephitis macroura_ Lichtenstein, Darstellung
              Säugethier, pl. 46, with accompanying text, 1832.

    _Type locality._--Mountains northwest of the City of Mexico.

    _Range._--Southern half of Mexican Plateau and south to
    Guatemala. See figure 1. Marginal occurrences (all from Howell,
    N. Amer. Fauna, 20:41, 42, 1901) are: _Tamaulipas_: Jaumave.
    _Veracruz_: Las Vigas; Jico; Orizaba. _Puebla_: Tehuacan.
    _Guatemala_: Dueñas (vicinity). _Oaxaca_: 15 mi. W Oaxaca.
    _Colima_: Hacienda Magdalena. _Jalisco_: San Sebastian. _Tepic_:
    Santa Teresa. _Zacatecas_: Valpariso.

    _Characters._--Skull of medium size (basal length, [Male] 56,
    [Female] 54); tail averaging shorter than head and body.

               #Mephitis macroura vittata# Lichtenstein

        1832. _Mephitis vittata_ Lichtenstein, Darstellung
              Säugethier, pl. 47, with accompanying text, 1832.

        1901. _Mephitis macroura vittata_, Allen, Bull. Amer.
              Mus. Nat. Hist., 14:334, November 12, 1901.

    _Type locality._--"San Matteo el Mar" [= San Mateo del Mar],

    _Range._--Known only from the type locality. See figure 1.

    _Characters._--Skull short ([Male] 54.6, [Female] 52.3); narrow
    across mastoid processes; tail long; body short.

              #Mephitis macroura eximius# new subspecies

    _Type._--Female, adult, skin with skull, No. 19272, Mus. Nat.
    Hist., Univ. Kansas; 15 kilometers west of Piedras Negras, 300
    feet elevation, Veracruz, Mexico; 13 January 1947; obtained by
    J. Mazza and Walter W. Dalquest; original No. 7017, W. W.

    _Range._--From the vicinity of the type locality on the arid
    coastal plain of the lowlands of central Veracruz. See figure 1.

    _Diagnosis._--Size small (see measurements); tail long, ranging
    from 110 to 133 percent of length of head and body; color black,
    with white areas containing a few black hairs, and in non-hooded
    phase with white lateral stripes low on sides of body and in
    some specimens almost absent; skull small but broad across
    mastoid processes.

    _Comparisons._--From _Mephitis macroura macroura_ of the
    southern part of the Mexican Plateau, _M. m. eximius_ differs in
    shorter head and body, relatively (to body) longer tail, and
    smaller skull. From _Mephitis macroura vittata_ of the tropical
    lowlands of the Pacific slope of Oaxaca, _M. m. eximius_ differs
    in slightly larger average size throughout and relatively longer

    [Illustration: FIG. 1. Map showing the geographic ranges of the
    four subspecies of the species _Mephitis macroura_.]

_Remarks._--_M. m. eximius_ is regarded as a subspecies of _M. macroura_
because there is some overlap in size between larger individuals of _M.
m. eximius_ and smaller individuals of _M. m. macroura_. Actually, as
indicated above, we doubt that the geographic ranges of the two
subspecies are continuous or that the geographic range of _M. m.
eximius_ is continuous with the geographic range of _M. m. vittata_.
Small size and relatively long tail characterize both of the lowland,
tropical subspecies, _eximius_ and _vittata_, whereas the two upland
subspecies of the temperate areas are larger and have relatively shorter

Habitat closely resembling that at the type locality extends from the
southern base of the first mountains north of Jalapa southward as far as
the north base of the Tuxtla Mountains--a distance of approximately 110
miles from northwest to southeast along the gulf coast. None of our 5
skins shows the hooded color-pattern so common on the Mexican Plateau
and in _vittata_ of Oaxaca. One of our five specimens has well-developed
lateral stripes; three have greatly reduced lateral stripes and one is
black except for a white spot on the right hip.

    _Measurements._--An adult male (University of Kansas Museum of
    Natural History Catalogue Number, 17900), a subadult male
    (19273), and adult female (19272, the holotype) and a subadult
    female (19902), measure, in millimeters, respectively, as
    follows: Total length, --, 599, 578, 583; length of tail, --,
    319, 335, 305; length of hind foot, 58, 62, 58, 60; basal length
    of skull, 56.1, 55.0, 52.8, 53.1; basilar length of Hensel,
    53.6, 52.6, 50.3, 51.2; greatest zygomatic breadth, 41.6, 38.0,
    39.0, 37.0; greatest mastoid breadth, 34.6, 34.3, 33.3, 31.5;
    breadth across postorbital processes, 22.2, 20.2, 20.5, 21.0;
    least interorbital breadth, 20.3, 18.2, 19.0, 18.5; palatal
    length, 24.2, 25.1, 24.2, 24.0; postpalatal length, 31.5,
    29.6, 28.8, 29.0; foramen magnum to plane of last molars, 30.8,
    29.4, 27.5, 29.0.

    _Specimens examined._--Total number, 5, all from Veracruz,
    Mexico, as follows: Rió Blanco, 20 km. WNW Piedras Negras, 3;
    15 km. W Piedras Negras, 300 ft., 2.

_University of Kansas Museum of Natural History, Lawrence, Kansas._

  _Transmitted October 31, 1949._


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