Overview

Distribution

occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Global Range: (20,000-2,500,000 square km (about 8000-1,000,000 square miles)) Southern Texas south through Tamaulipas (eastern Mexico) to Veracruz and San Luis Potosi (Hall 1981). Texas population probably consists of only a few individuals; recent sightings in Brazoria County south of Houston, Texas, may have been of released animals (Matthews and Moseley 1990). A recent effort to document jaguarundi on and near the Laguna Atascosa NWR, Texas, was unsuccessful (USFWS 1990).

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Historic Range:
U.S.A. (TX), Mexico

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Physical Description

Type Information

Type for Puma yagouaroundi cacomitli
Catalog Number: USNM A1426
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals
Sex/Stage: Female; Adult
Preparation: Skull
Collector(s): J. Berlandier
Year Collected: 1840
Locality: Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico, North America
  • Type: Baird, S. F. 1859 Jan. United States and Mexican Boundary Survey Under the Order of Lieut. Col. W. H. Emory, Vol 2, Pt 2. 12.
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Type for Puma yagouaroundi cacomitli
Catalog Number: USNM A1373
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals
Sex/Stage: Female; Young adult
Preparation: Skull
Collector(s): J. Berlandier
Locality: Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico, North America
  • Type: Mearns, E. A. 1901 Aug 09. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. 14: 150.
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Ecology

Habitat

Comments: Thick brushlands (patchy or continuous). Habitat near water is favored. Spends most of time on ground, though climbs well. Sleeping and birthing occur in a den in a hollow log, treefall, or thicket.

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Migration

Non-Migrant: No. All populations of this species make significant seasonal migrations.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

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Trophic Strategy

Comments: Diet consists mainly of birds (sometimes including doemstic poultry), reptiles, and small mammals (e.g., rats, mice, rabbits); occasionally may eat fishes and fruit.

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General Ecology

Travels widely in a huge home range (Emmons and Feer 1990).

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Comments: Diurnal and nocturnal (Emmons and Feer 1990). Hunts in the morning and evening; much less nocturnal than most cats (Nowak 1991).

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Reproduction

Mates November-December. Gestation lasts 9-10 weeks (also reported as 6 months). May be one or two litters of 1-4 (average 2) per year. In Mexico, young are produced around March and August.

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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N1 - Critically Imperiled

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: T3 - Vulnerable

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Current Listing Status Summary

Status: Endangered
Date Listed: 06/14/1976
Lead Region:   Southwest Region (Region 2) 
Where Listed: U.S.A.(TX),Mexico


Population detail:

Population location: U.S.A.(TX),Mexico
Listing status: E

For most current information and documents related to the conservation status and management of Puma yagouaroundi cacomitli, see its USFWS Species Profile

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Uses

Comments: Pelt is of poor quality and of little value (Leopold 1959). Not hunted for the fur trade (Emmons and Feer 1990).

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Wikipedia

Gulf Coast jaguarundi

The Gulf Coast jaguarundi (Puma yagouaroundi cacomitli) is one of four subspecies of jaguarundi. Two of these subspecies are considered endangered; the Gulf Coast jaguarundi and the Sinaloan jaguarundi. [9] They were put on the endangered list on June 14, 1976. [10] These cats are placed under the family Felidae and the subfamily Felinae because of their small size. [8]

Description[edit]

This cat is larger than a normal domestic cat, but smaller than a puma. It has been compared to a weasel and otter. Their fur is of a dark-brown or grayish color because they reside in low-light areas such as forests and thick shrubs. [10] [11] Their otter-like appearance is shown in their short legs and long, flat tails. The weasel-like appearance stems from having a small, flat head, short, round ears and a long slender body. Their body size can reach up to 77 centimeters and their tail up to 60 centimeters in length. Their average weight is about 6 kilograms. [8]

The Gulf Coast jaguarundi (Puma yagouaroundi cacomitli) is a subspecies of jaguarundi that ranges from southern Texas in the United States south to Veracruz and San Luis Potosí in eastern Mexico.[3] This cat looks like a large weasel or otter with a coat in one of three color phases: black, reddish-brown or brownish-gray.[4] Darker varieties tend to be found in darker places, like forests, than those who are lighter in hue, which prefer more open areas.[5]

Habitat[edit]

The Gulf Coast jaguarundi can be found in the Western Gulf coastal grasslands, Tamaulipan mezquital, and Tamaulipan matorral.[6] Its preferred habitat are regions of dense, thorny scrub, especially near water,[3] composed of plants such as Spiny Hackberry (Celtis pallida), Brazilian Bluewood (Condalia hookeri), Desert Yaupon (Schaefferia cuneifolia), Berlandier's Wolfberry (Lycium berlandieri), Lotebush (Ziziphus obtusifolia), Texas Goatbush (Castela texana), Whitebrush (Aloysia gratissima), Catclaw Acacia (Acacia greggii), Blackbrush Acacia (Acacia rigidula), Velvetleaf Lantana (Lantana velutina), Texas Lignum-vitae (Guaiacum angustifolium), Cenizo (Leucophyllum frutescens), Elbowbush (Forestiera angustifolia), and Texas Persimmon (Diospyros texana).[4] Habitat loss is the main reason for the increase in mortality for the Juguarundi. Not enough information has been gathered about the juguarundi cat, and because these animals are not widely studied their significance is unclear [15]. Many people remain unaware of this species’ existence, which is contributing to the extinction of the animal.

Evolution[edit]

The jaguarundi is closely related to the cougar, even though it’s only 10% its size; this is proven by its similar genetic structure and chromosome count.[5,8] Both species are genetically closer to the larger felids; their chromosome numbers are 38, similar to the jaguar’s, while smaller felids have 26 chromosomes. [14] The jaguarundi and cougar are classified as part of the Puma genus but the jaguarundi is sometimes classified under Herpailurus, a different genus. According to a study of Felidae, an ancestor of the puma genus, lineages of these species migrated across the Bering land bridge into the Americas about 8 to 8 and a half million years ago, and that is how current populations of jaguarundis and cougars in the Americas came to be. Studies have shown that the closest relative to both the jaguarundi and cougar is the modern cheetah of Africa and Western Asia. The relationship of the cheetah to the jaguarundi is still being debated. One theory is that ancestors of the cheetah separated from the Puma lineage in the Americas, and migrated back to Asia and Africa. Another idea is that the cheetah diverged from the lineage in Asia and Africa. [5] It is also hypothesized that the evolution of the jaguarundis came about because an isolated population of cougars began focusing on small prey to avoid competition with larger predators like jaguars, saber-tooths, and lions. Studies suggest that cougars usually take smaller prey than jaguars, and that there is not a lot of overlap in their choices of prey. In some places with scarce prey available, the ancestral population of cougars may have been forced to hunt even smaller prey, and this led to the eventual formation of smaller animals, the jaguarundis. [8]

Reproduction[edit]

Mating season for the jaguarundi is believed to be in the months of November and December.[10] A female jaguarundi’s pregnancy cycle, or gestation period, lasts about 70-75 days. At the time of birth, the female will have anywhere between 1 to 4 kittens, each weighing 4 to 7 kilograms [1][10]. Like their relative, the cougar, the kittens between the ages of 0 and 12 weeks will have spots on their coats; however, around month 3 or 4, the kittens’ spots are lost [13]. At 6 weeks of age, the cats will begin eating solid foods, usually rodents. Shortly after, they leave their mothers, and within 2 to 3 years, achieve sexual maturity.[12][1] Their life expectancy is very impressive, ranging from 16 to 22 years in captivity. In the wild, its longevity is approximately 10-15 years, a feat most attributable to their well-protected den. [11][1][13]

Diet[edit]

The Juguarundi has a carnivorous diet. The animals they hunt tend to be relatively small animals. Small mammals, birds, frogs, and fish are a few of the wide variety of prey that the Jaguarundi feeds on. These cats may have adapted to eating a wide variety of animal because of the scarcity of food [16].

Threats[edit]

Recently, it has been suggested by some environmentalists that the jaguarundi, and many other fauna unique to Southern Texas, will be severely threatened if a proposed 16 foot wall is constructed along segments of the Mexico–United States border.[7]

Conservation efforts[edit]

As categorized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the Gulf Coast jaguarundi is currently endangered, so conservation efforts are being implemented by the Fish and Wildlife Service. As a federal governmental agency within the U.S. Department of the Interior dedicated to the management of fish, wildlife, and natural habitats, the agency has proposed steps to take to reestablish jaguarundi populations, but has so far failed to fulfill many of them. Some of these steps include assessing habitat and land connectivity to support viable populations, developing survey techniques to ascertain their status and better understand their ecological and conservation needs, and developing partnerships to help promote jaguarundi conservation [4]. The biggest threat to the Gulf Coast jaguarundis is the Mexico-U.S. border fence, as it fragments populations and prevents migration [2]. Additionally, jaguarundis are facing habitat loss, so the Fish and Wildlife Service is planting shrubs and plants found in a jaguarundi’s natural environment in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas [4].



References[edit]

  1. ^ Wozencraft, W. C. (2005). "Order Carnivora". In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 545. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. 
  2. ^ Cat Specialist Group (1996). Herpailurus yaguarondi ssp. cacomitli. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. www.iucnredlist.org. Retrieved on 2007-05-23.
  3. ^ a b "Puma yagouaroundi cacomitli". NatureServe Explorer. NatureServe. Retrieved 2009-01-01. 
  4. ^ a b "Jaguarundi" (PDF). Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Retrieved 2008-12-31. 
  5. ^ "Gulf Coast jaguarundi (Herpailurus (=Felis) yagouaroundi cacomitli)". Environmental Conservation Online System. United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Retrieved 2008-12-31. 
  6. ^ "Fauna Silvestre Presente en el Estado de Nuevo Leon" (PDF) (in Spanish). Secretariat of the Environment and Natural Resources. Archived from the original on June 20, 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-01. 
  7. ^ Bustillo, Miguel (17 October 2007). "Wildlife at border may lose sanctuary". Los Angeles Times. 
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