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Spatiotemporal ecology of the striped hog-nosed skunk Conepatus semistriatus (Carnivora, Mephitidae) in a seasonally dry forest of northeastern Brazil

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Many carnivorous mammals have been forced to contract their distribution due to anthropogenic activities that cause fragmentation and loss of their natural habitat. The striped hog-nosed skunk, Conepatus semistriatus, has a marked population disjunction in the Neotropics and one of the largest geographic ranges in the genus. However, there is a huge lack of biological information about this species. The present study aimed at assessing habitat use and activity pattern of C. semistriatus and at identifying abiotic factors that influence them. The study was carried out in Serra das Almas Natural Reserve in Brazil with camera traps distributed over 40 sampling stations during 26 months, from 2013 to 2015. Environmental seasonality significantly influenced the detectability of C. semistriatus, as most records were obtained in the dry season. Although C. semistriatus was more frequently seen in open habitats, this difference in habitat use was not significant. The species was found to be predominantly nocturnal with higher activity in bright nights. In general, C. semistriatus occupied all habitats of Serra das Almas, with a preference for open areas. In the dry season, habitat use by the species was more restricted, and was influenced mainly by proximity to water sources. The predominantly nocturnal activity is consistent with the literature, and can be influenced by a behavioral response to avoid high diurnal temperatures.

Affiliations: 1: Postgraduate Program in Ecology, Conservation and Wildlife Management, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Avenida Antônio Carlos 6627, Belo Horizonte, MG 31270-901, Brazil


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