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Greater grison (Galictis vittata)

The greater grison is a species of mustelid native to South and Central America, ranging from eastern and southern Mexico south to central Brazil, Peru, Bolivia and northern Argentina. It inhabits various habitats from tropical evergreen, scrub and rain forests to grasslands, savannas, cerrado and cultivated areas, such as plantations and rice paddies, usually near rivers and streams, but not in great numbers (7). It usually lives at elevations below 500 m, but may occur as high as 2,000 m in some parts of the Bolivian Andes [2,6]. In some regions, it may occur found in cultivated areas, .

The grison is a slender animal with a long, muscular body, short legs, a long neck, and a short, bushy tail. The fur is long and soft. The ears are very small and the small, black eyes are small and blackThe grison's eyeshine is a bright blue-green color. The broad feet have very long claws. It resembles the closely related lesser grison, but is larger, with a head-body length of 45-60 cm, a tail length of 14-20 cm and a weight of 1-3.8 kg in the wld, although captives may be larger (2). The upper part of the body is grizzled grey. The underbody, including the legs and feet, are black. The head has a grizzled grey forehead and a black face and neck. A white stripe runs from the forehead over the ears and to the shoulders. The back, flanks, top of the head and the tail are grizzled grey; the rest of the body is much darker, usually solid black. A narrow whitish stripe separates the darker and lighter fur on the head and shoulder, but not further back, where the two colours may, in some individuals, blur into one another. The tail is covered with bushy hair similar in colour to that on the back. The flattened, broad head has short, rounded ears and dark brown to black eyes. The muscular legs have 5 webbed toes, each ending in a sharp, curved claw [2].

The grison is primarily terrestrial, but can climb trees and swim well. It is mostly diurnal and only occasionally active at night [4]. It lives live alone or in pairs, with home ranges of at least 4.2 sq km (1.6 sq mi), and a very low population density, so it is rarely encountered in the wild. It spends the night sleeping in crevices in rocks, cavities in hollow logs or beneath tree roots or in abandoned burrows dug by armadillos and other animals [4]. The anal scent glands secrete a yellowish or greenish musk. It is not especially noxious compared with that of other species, but can be sprayed at attackers and is used to mark the grison's territory [2]. The grison unistic specieshas been said to respond to threats with a series of grunts, rising in intensity and frequency to until they become rapid barks, and finally a single loud scream with their teeth bared.[2]<

The grison is a very opportunistic species, eating whatever is available. The diet includes chinchillas, viscachas, agoutis, mice and other small mammals, birds and their eggs, lizards, amphibians and fruits (5,6). While hunting, it moves in a zigzag pattern, making short bounds and occasionally stopping to look around with its head raised while it sniffs the air. When moving more cautiously, it presses its body close to the ground in a snake-like movement. The grison is polygynous. Litters of two (up to four) young are born from March-October, after a gestation period of 39-40 days. Newborn young weigh under 50 g (1.8 oz), are initially blind, but have a short coat of hair bearing the adult pattern. The eyes open after 2 weeks, and the young begin eating solid food at 3 weeks, reaching adult size in 4 months [4]. Grisons may live 10.5-13 years in captivity [2,8].


The IUCN Red List Assessment for the greater grison is 'Least Concern', due to its large range. The grison is rare with a low density throughout its range (9,11). It is considered endangered in Costa Rica(10) and is listed on CITES Appendix III (In Costa Rica, it is considered endangered (Timm et al. 1989) and is listed on CITES Appendix III (Fuller et al. 1987). In Belize it is protected by the Wildlife Protection Act, and in Nicaragua it is protected from hunting (13). In Belize it is protected by the Wildlife Protection Ac, and in Nicaragua it is protected from hunting (13). Some subspecies are considered uncommon or rare (10). The Population Trend is Stable. The species tolerates some disturbance, but hunting shows negative effects (12). In some parts of their range, males are trapped for their body parts and they are also sold as pets (7). Learn more about this article

The grison has been known to cause damage to domestic animals.



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Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

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The grison is tamed easily. The grison is helpful in controlling rodent infestations. They are also used by man to hunt chinchillas.



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There are four living and one fossil subspecies [3]:

Galictis vittata vittata - northern South America

Galictis vittata andina - Peru and Bolivia

Galictis vittata brasiliensis - Brazil

Galictis vittata canaster - Central America and southern Mexico

•† Galictis vittata fossilis - Pleistocene Brazil[2]. xx
  • 1. Cuarón, A.D., Reid, F. & Helgen, K. (2008). Galictis vittata. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
  • 2. Yensen, E. & Tarifa, T. (2003). "Galictis vittata". Mammalian Species: Number 727: pp. 1–8. doi:10.1644/727.
  • 3. Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M., eds. (2005). Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  • 4. Wilson, D.E. & Mittermeier, R.A., ed. (2009). Handbook of the Mammals of the World, Volume 1: Carnivora. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. pp. 636–637. ISBN 978-84-96553-49-1.
  • 5. Bisbal, F.J. (1986). "Food habits of some Neotropical carnivores in Venezuela (Mammalia, Carnivora)". Mammalia 50 (3): 329–340.
  • 6. Nowak, R. M. (2005). Walker’s Carnivores of the world. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA and London, UK.
  • 7. Rosa, C. L., de la and C.C. Nocke (2000). A Guide to the Carnivores of Central America: Natural History, Ecology, and Conservation. University of Texas Press, Austin, TX, USA.
  • 8. Weigl, Richard (2005). Longevity of Mammals in Captivity; from the Living Collections of the World. Kleine Senckenberg-Reihe 48: Stuttgart.
  • 9. Arita, H., J. Robinson, K. Redford (1990). Rarity in Neotropical Forest Mammals and Its Ecological Correlates. Conservation Biology, 4/2: 181-192.
  • 10. Timm, R., D. Wilson, B. Clauson, R. LaVal, C. Vaughan (1989). Mammals of the La Selva-Braulio Carrillo Complex, Costa Rica. North American Fauna, 75: 1-162.
  • 11. Eisenberg, J. F., M.A. O’Connell, M. A. and P.V. August (1979). Density, productivity, and distribution of mammals in two Venezuelan habitats. In: J. F. Eisenberg (ed.), Vertebrate Ecology in the Northern Neotropics, pp. 187-207. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC, USA.
  • 12. Bisbal, F. (1993). Impacto humano sobre los carnivoros de Venezuela. Studies on Neotropical Fauna and Environment, 28/3: 145-156.
  • 13. Fuller, K. S., B. Swift, B, A. Jorgenson, A. Brautigam and A.L. Gaski (1987). Latin American wildlife trade laws. Second edition, with 1987 update. World Wildlife Fund, Washington, DC, USA.
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Distribution

Range Description

Galictis vittata occurs at lower elevations from eastern Mexico south throughout Central America into South America as far south as Bolivia, northern Argentina, and Santa Catarina, Brazil. The geographic range of G. vittata was estimated at 13,083,600 km2 (Arita et al., 1990).
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Geographic Range

Galictis vittata (grison) is found in Central and South America, from southern Mexico to Brazil and Bolivia.

Biogeographic Regions: neotropical (Native )

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Physical Description

Morphology

Physical Description

The grison has a long muscular body with short legs and a short tail. The upper part of the body is grizzled grey in color. The underbody, including the legs and feet, are black. The face of is tricolor, with a grizzled grey forehead and a black face and neck. A white stripe runs from the forehead over the ears and to the shoulders, and separates the grey forehead from the black face. The fur is long and soft. The ears are very small, and the eyes are small and black. The feet are broad and have very long claws. The grison's eyeshine is a bright blue-green color. The length of the body, including the tail, is approximately 67 cm.

Range mass: 1 to 3 kg.

Average length: 67 cm.

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
The species occurs in a wide range from tropical forests, from sea level to 1,200 meters (Nowak, 2005), to grasslands and even cultivated areas, although not in great numbers (De la Rosa and Nocke, 2000). This is a very opportunistic species, eating whatever is available. The diet includes small mammals, birds and their eggs, lizards, amphibians and fruits (Nowak, 2005).

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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The grison occupies a large range of habitats. It can be found in grasslands, evergreen forests, rain forests, and savannas. It is often found near water. They live under tree roots, in crevices of rocks, and they have also been know to occupy burrows dug by armadillos. They live anywhere from the lowlands to approximately 1500 m in elevation.

Range elevation: 1500 (high) m.

Habitat Regions: temperate ; tropical ; terrestrial

Terrestrial Biomes: savanna or grassland ; forest ; rainforest ; scrub forest

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Trophic Strategy

Food Habits

The grison is carnivorous, feeding on small mammals such as chinchillas, viscachas, agoutis, mice. The grison has also been known to feed on reptiles, birds and some fruits.

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Life History and Behavior

Life Expectancy

Lifespan/Longevity

Average lifespan

Status: captivity:
10.5 years.

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Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 12.5 years (captivity) Observations: One wild born specimen was 12-13 years old when it died in captivity (Richard Weigl 2005).
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Reproduction

Grisons are polygynous. The female gives birth to her young in October. The grison typically gives birth to two young but may give birth to up to four young.

Average gestation period: 40 days.

Average number of offspring: 2.

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Galictis vittata

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 3
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2008

Assessor/s
Cuarón, A.D., Reid, F. & Helgen, K.

Reviewer/s
Duckworth, J.W. (Small Carnivore Red List Authority) & Schipper, J. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)

Contributor/s

Justification
This species is listed as Least Concern as it has a wide distribution and there do not appear to be any major threats to the species.
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The grison has a large range but is rare throughout this range.

CITES: appendix iii

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

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Population

Population
Galictis vittata has a low density throughout its range (Arita et al., 1990). Some subspecies are considered uncommon or rare (Timm et al. 1989). The densities estimated for the species were 1- 2.4 individuals/km2 (Eisenberg et al. 1979).

Population Trend
Stable
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Threats

Major Threats
The species is tolerant to some disturbance, but hunting has shown negative effects (Bisbal, 1993). In some parts of their range the males are trapped for their body parts and they are also sold as pets (De la Rosa and Nocke, 2000).
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
In Costa Rica, it is considered endangered (Timm et al. 1989) and is listed on CITES Appendix III (Fuller et al. 1987). In Belize it is protected by the Wildlife Protection Act, and in Nicaragua it is protected from hunting (Fuller et al. 1987).
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

The grison has been known to cause damage to domestic animals.

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Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

The grison is tamed easily. The grison is helpful in controlling rodent infestations. They are also used by man to hunt chinchillas.

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Wikipedia

Greater grison

The greater grison (Galictis vittata), is a species of mustelid native to South and Central America.

Description[edit]

The greater grison is a slender animal with short legs, a long neck, and a short, bushy tail. They are similar in appearance to the closely related lesser grison, from which they can be most readily distinguished by their greater size, with a head-body length ranging from 45 to 60 centimetres (18 to 24 in). Adults weigh between 1.5 and 3.8 kilograms (3.3 and 8.4 lb) in the wild, but may become larger when reared in captivity.[2]

The back, flanks, top of the head, and the tail, are grizzled grey in color, while the rest of the body is much darker, and usually solid black. A narrow whitish stripe separates the darker and lighter fur on the head and shoulder, but not further back, where the two colors may, in some individuals, blur into one another. The tail is 14 to 20 centimetres (5.5 to 7.9 in) long, and covered with bushy hair similar in color to that on the animal's back. The head is flattened and broad, with short, rounded ears, and dark brown to black eyes. The legs are muscular, with five webbed toes, each ending in a sharp, curved claw.[2]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Greater grisons are native to Central and South America, ranging from southern Mexico in the north, to central Brazil, Peru, and Bolivia in the south. They inhabit a wide range of forest and cerrado habitats, and are usually seen near rivers and streams. They are typically found at elevations below 500 metres (1,600 ft), but they may be found as high as 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) in some parts of the Bolivian Andes.[2] In some regions, they may also be found in cultivated areas, such as plantations and rice paddies.[1] Four living, and one fossil subspecies are recognised:[3]

Behaviour[edit]

Greater grisons are primarily terrestrial, although they can climb trees and swim well. They are mostly diurnal, and only occasionally active at night.[4] They live alone or in pairs, with home ranges of at least 4.2 square kilometres (1.6 sq mi), and a very low population density, such that they are rarely encountered in the wild. They spend the night sleeping in cavities in hollow logs or beneath tree roots, or else in the abandoned burrows of other animals.[4]

Little is known of their diet, although it consists largely of small vertebrates, such as fish, amphibians, birds, and other mammals.[5] While hunting, they move in a zigzag pattern, making short bounds and occasionally stopping to look around with their heads raised and sniff the air. When moving more cautiously, they press their bodies close to the ground in a movement that has been described as 'snake-like'. They have been reported to respond to threats with a series of grunts that rise in intensity and frequency until they become rapid barks, and finally a single loud scream with their teeth bared.[2]

Biology[edit]

Like many other mustelids, greater grisons possess anal scent glands that secrete a yellowish or greenish musk. Although not especially noxious in comparison with that of other species, this can be sprayed at attackers, as well as being used to mark the grison's territory.[2]

Litters of up to four young are born from March to September, after a gestation period of 39 days. Newborn young weigh less than 50 grams (1.8 oz), and are initially blind, although with a short coat of hair already bearing the adult pattern. Their eyes open after two weeks, and they begin to eat solid food at three weeks, reaching the adult size in just four months.[4] They have lived for at least ten years in captivity.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Cuarón, A.D., Reid, F. & Helgen, K. (2008). Galictis vittata. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 24 February 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Yensen, E. & Tarifa, T. (2003). "Galictis vittata". Mammalian Species: Number 727: pp. 1–8. doi:10.1644/727. 
  3. ^ Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M., eds. (2005). Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. 
  4. ^ a b c Wilson, D.E. & Mittermeier, R.A., ed. (2009). Handbook of the Mammals of the World, Volume 1: Carnivora. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. pp. 636–637. ISBN 978-84-96553-49-1. 
  5. ^ Bisbal, F.J. (1986). "Food habits of some Neotropical carnivores in Venezuela (Mammalia, Carnivora)". Mammalia 50 (3): 329–340. doi:10.1515/mamm.1986.50.3.329. 
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