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Overview

Distribution

Bassariscus sumichrasti is found from southern Mexico to western Panama (Poglayen-Neuwall 1989).

Biogeographic Regions: neotropical (Native )

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Range Description

The species occurs from Mexico (Guerrero and south Veracruz) through Mesoamerica to central Panama (Lake Bayano). Its occurrence is unknown in Nicaragua.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Typical length is 380 to 470mm, with a tail that is 390 to 530mm long. Shoulder height is 170mm. Coloring is buffed gray to brownish, with a tail ringed in buff and black bands. Ears are pointed. Feet have naked soles and nonretractile claws. Low ridges connect cusps on the premolars and molars (Nowak 1999). Canines are well-developed. There are 40 teeth. The body has a musk-like odor (Poglayen-Neuwall 1989).

Average mass: 900 g.

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry

Average mass: 900 g.

Average basal metabolic rate: 3.537 W.

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Ecology

Habitat

Mesoamerican Gulf-Caribbean Mangroves Habitat

This taxon is found in the Mesoamerican Gulf-Caribbean mangroves ecoregion, but not necessarily exclusive to this region.The Mesoamerican Gulf-Caribbean mangroves occupy a long expanse of disjunctive coastal zone along the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico for portions of Central America and Mexico. The ecoregion has a very high biodiversity and species richness of mammals, amphibians and reptiles. As with most mangrove systmems, the Mesoamerican Gulf-Caribbean ecoregion plays an important role in shoreline erosion prevention from Atlantic hurricanes and storms; in addition these mangroves are significant in their function as a nursery for coastal fishes, turtles and other marine organisms.

This disjunctive Neotropical ecoregion is comprised of elements lying along the Gulf of Mexico coastline of Mexico south of the Tampico area, and along the Caribbean Sea exposures of Belize, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama.There are 507 distinct vertebrate species that have been recorded in the Mesoamerican Gulf-Caribbean mangroves ecoregion.

Chief mangrove tree species found in the central portion of the ecoregion (e.g. Belize) are White Mangrove (Laguncularia racemosa), Red Mangrove (Rhizophora mangle), and Black Mangrove (Avicennia germinans); Buttonwood (Conocarpus erectus) is a related tree associate. Red mangrove tends to occupy the more seaward niches, while Black mangrove tends to dominate the more upland niches. Other plant associates occurring in this central part of the ecoregion are Swamp Caway (Pterocarpus officinalis), Provision Tree (Pachira auatica) and Marsh Fern (Acrostichum aureum).

The Mesoamerican Gulf-Caribbean mangroves ecoregion has a number of mammalian species, including: Mexican Agouti (Dasyprocta mexicana, CR); Mexican Black Howler Monkey (Alouatta pigra, EN); Baird's Tapir (Tapirus bairdii, EN); Central American Spider Monkey (Ateles geoffroyi, EN); Giant Anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla); Deppe's Squirrel (Sciurus deppei), who ranges from Tamaulipas, Mexico to the Atlantic versant of Costa Rica; Jaguar (Panthera onca, NT), which requires a large home range and hence would typically move between the mangroves and more upland moist forests; Margay (Leopardus wiedii, NT); Mantled Howler Monkey (Alouatta palliata); Mexican Big-eared Bat (Plecotus mexicanus, NT), a species found in the mangroves, but who mostly roosts in higher elevation caves; Central American Cacomistle (Bassariscus sumichrasti).

A number of reptiles have been recorded within the ecoregion including the Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas, EN); Hawksbill Sea Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata, CR); Central American River Turtle (Dermatemys mawii, CR), distributed along the Atlantic drainages of southern Mexico to Guatemala; Morelets Crocodile (Crocodylus moreletii, LR/CD), a crocodile found along the mangroves of Yucatan, Belize and the Atlantic versant of Guatemala.

Some of the other reptiles found in this ecoregion are the Adorned Graceful Brown Snake (Rhadinaea decorata); Allen's Coral Snake (Micrurus alleni); Eyelash Palm Pitviper (Bothriechis schlegelii); False Fer-de-lance (Xenodon rabdocephalus); Blood Snake (Stenorrhina freminvillei); Bridled Anole (Anolis frenatus); Chocolate Anole (Anolis chocorum), found in Panamanian and Colombian lowland and mangrove subcoastal forests; Furrowed Wood Turtle (Rhinoclemmys areolata. NT); Brown Wood Turtle (LR/NT); Belize Leaf-toed Gecko (Phyllodactylus insularis), which occurs only in this ecoregion along with the Peten-Veracruz moist forests.

Salamanders found in this ecoregion are: Cukra Climbing Salamander (Bolitoglossa striatula); Rufescent Salamander (Bolitoglossa rufescens); Alta Verapaz Salamander (Bolitoglossa dofleini, NT), the largest tropical lungless salamander, whose coastal range spans Honduras, Guatemala and the Cayo District of Belize; Colombian Worm Salamander (Oedipina parvipes), which occurs from central Panama to Colombia; La Loma Salamander (Bolitoglossa colonnea), a limited range taxon occurring only in portions of Costa Rica and Panama;.Central American Worm Salamander (Oedipina elongata), who inhabits very moist habitats; Cienega Colorado Worm Salamander (Oedipina uniformis, NT), a limited range taxon found only in parts of Costa Rica and Panama, including higher elevation forests than the mangroves; Limon Worm Salamander (Oedipina alfaroi, VU), a restricted range caecilian found only on the Atlantic versant of Costa Rica and extreme northwest Panama. Caecilians found in the ecoregion are represented by: La Loma Caecilian (Dermophis parviceps), an organism found in the Atlantic versant of Panama and Costa Rica up to elevation 1200 metres

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Wet, evergreen tropical woodlands and mountain forests are the preferred habitat of -B. sumichrasti,- though seasonally it will inhabit drier deciduous forests. It can be found from sea level to elevations of 2000 meters (Poglayen-Neuwall 1989).

Terrestrial Biomes: forest ; rainforest

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Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
The cacomistle is nocturnal, arboreal, and solitary. It feeds on fruits, insects, and probably small vertebrates. Cacomistles use the middle and upper levels of tropical forests. It is found in both montane and lowland rain forest, in wet evergreen forest as well as seasonally dry forest, scrub, and secondary forest (Glatston, 1994).

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Trophic Strategy

B. sumichrasti is omnivorous. They seem to prefer fruits such as wild figs, papayas, and bananas. Other foods include eggs, tree frogs, lizards, insects, birds, and mice (Poglayen-Neuwall 1989).

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Perception Channels: tactile ; chemical

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Life Expectancy

Average lifespan

Status: wild:
23.0 years.

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Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 24 years (captivity) Observations: One wild born specimen was about 24 years old when it died in captivity (Richard Weigl 2005).
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Reproduction

Females usually come into estrus between February and June, but estrus can occur at any time. Estrus lasts for 44 days; females are receptive for only one day. Gestation lasts for from 63 to 66 days, after which one young is born in a nest or den in a tree. Newborns have a mass of 25 grams. Young open their eyes at 34 days, can eat solid food at six to seven weeks, are able to forage along with their mother at two months, and are weaned at three months. Although the mother is responsible for most of the care of the young, she will sometimes tolerate the presence of the father and allow him to associate and play with the young. Sexual maturity in both sexes coincides with dispersal at the age of 10 months. The lifespan of -B. sumichrasti-has not been studied in the wild, but captive animals are known to reach 23 years of age (Poglayen-Neuwall 1989).

Key Reproductive Features: gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual

Average birth mass: 25 g.

Average gestation period: 64 days.

Average number of offspring: 2.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)

Sex: male:
300 days.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)

Sex: female:
300 days.

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Conservation

Conservation Status

Nowhere in its range is B. sumichrasti common. This is especially true in Costa Rica, where it inhabits only a very small area (Poglayen-Neuwall 1989). It is completely dependent on forests, making it particularly susceptible to deforestation (Nowak 1999).

CITES: appendix iii

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

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IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2008

Assessor/s
Samudio, R., Pino, J.L. & 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 the species has a wide distribution range, is present in a variety of habitats including cloud and evergreen forests, scrub and secondary forest, and occurs in numerous protected areas. However it may be undergoing some localized declines due to habitat loss and fragmentation.

History
  • 1994
    Vulnerable
    (Groombridge 1994)
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Population

Population
The status of its population is unknown. It is suspected to be uncommon over much of its range (Glatston, 1994), however, it can be locally common. It is common in the remnant forests of Veracruz, but it is rare in Panama (Emmons, 1990). It is suspected to be fairly common in some portions of Belize, El Salvador and Honduras and patchily distributed in Guatemala and Mexico (Poglayen-Neuwall pers. comm.).

Population Trend
Unknown
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Threats

Major Threats
Loss of habitat due to deforestation is a major threat. In Mexico the rate of forest clearance is tremendously high and forest fragmentation is also a major problem. In addition, it is hunted in Honduras and Mexico for its fur and for meat by indigenous people (Nowak, 2005).
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
The cacomistle is listed in CITES Appendix III by Costa Rica, and it is also listed as an endangered species in Costa Rica. In Belize it is covered by the Wildlife Protection Act. It is not protected by law in Panama. Elsewhere the situation is unknown. Cacomistles are known to occur in the proposed Volcano Baro National Park in Panama, in the Monte Cristo National Park in El Salvador and in the Cockscomb Basin Reserve in Belize and may be living in a number of protected areas where there is suitable habitat (Glatston, 1994).
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Domestic poultry sometimes falls prey to B. sumichrasti (Poglayen-Neuwall 1989).

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Humans hunt B. sumichrasti for fur and meat (Nowak 1999).

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Wikipedia

Cacomistle

The cacomistle, Bassariscus sumichrasti, is a nocturnal, arboreal and omnivorous member of the carnivoran family Procyonidae. Its preferred habitats are wet, tropical, evergreen woodlands and mountain forests, though seasonally it will venture into drier deciduous forests.

Nowhere in its range (from southern Mexico to western Panama) is B. sumichrasti common. This is especially true in Costa Rica, where it inhabits only a very small area. It is completely dependent on forest habitat, making it particularly susceptible to deforestation.

In IPA, its name is pronounced "cacomistle" [kakoʊmisleɪ], or "cacomixle" [kakoʊmɪsleɪ].[2]

The term cacomistle is from the Nahuatl language (tlahcomiztli) and means "half cat" or "half mountain lion";[3] it is sometimes also used to refer to the ringtail, Bassariscus astutus, a similar species that inhabits arid northern Mexico and the American Southwest.

Classification[edit]

The cacomistle is part of the family Procyonidae which includes other small omnivores such as the raccoon and the Brazilian coati. The cacomistle and its close relative the ringtail cat are the only living species of the subfamily Procyoninae and the genus Bassariscus. Within the Cacomistle species there are 5 subspecies (Bassariscus sumichrasti variabilis, Bassariscus sumichrasti sumichrasti, Bassariscus sumichrasti oaxacensis, Bassariscus sumichrasti notinus, and Bassariscus sumichrasti latrans).[4]

Physical description[edit]

The Central American cacomistle's body is 38–47 cm in length, which is attached to a tail of approximately the same length, if not longer (typically 39–53 cm long). The male cacomistle is often slightly longer than its female counterpart, however both male and female have approximately the same weight, usually between 1 and 1.5 kg.[5] Their body consists of dark brown and grey fur, which stands as a stark contrast to the black and white striped tail. The tail stripes are the most defined near the animal's posterior end and gradually fade to a solid black at the end of the tail. The cacomistle is often confused with its close relative the Ring-tailed cat (Scientific name: Bassariscus astutus) because of the similarity of their appearance, but unlike the ring-tail cat the cacomistle does not have retractable claws. The cacomistle can also be identified by its faded tail and the observation of ears that come to a point.[4]

Habitat and range[edit]

The cacomistle inhabits the tropical forests of Central America, from south central Mexico to Panama. These animals are quite solitary and thus spread themselves out, with each cacomistle having a home range of at least 20 hectares (an area equivalent to 20 sports fields [6])and are typically seen in the middle and upper levels of the canopy.[4] Throughout their broad range this species is found to inhabit a wide variety of different forests ecosystems. In Mexico the cacomistle tends to avoid oak forest, secondary forest, and overgrown pastures, but in Costa Rica the cacomistle has been shown to favor those exact habitats.[5] <

Diet[edit]

Cacomistles are considered generalist feeders, because they can survive on a wide variety of different feedstuffs.[5] The diet of this species consists primarily of fruits, insects, small vertebrates such as reptiles, amphibians, and rodents, the specificity of these food options depends on what is available in the particular habitat in which an individual dwells.[4] The bromeliad is an excellent reservoir for food in the southern edge of the cacomistle's range, as these plants naturally collect water, insects and small animals found high in the canopy.[5]

Reproduction[edit]

Mating season is the only time cacomistles interact with each other, and it is only briefly as the female is only receptive to male approaches for one day. After mating, the female cacomistle undergoes a gestation period of approximately two months before giving birth to a single offspring. When the cub is three months old it is weaned, and then taught hunting and survival skills by its mother before going off to develop their own territory.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Samudio, R., Pino, J.L. & Helgen, K. (2008). Bassariscus sumichrasti. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 26 January 2009.
  2. ^ http://www.thefreedictionary.com/cacomistle "The Free Dictionary - Cacomistle" See several pronunciation versions and hear it pronounced.
  3. ^ Merriam-Webster
  4. ^ a b c d Cacomistle Pictures and Facts. Retrieved on March 19, 2012 from: http://thewebsiteofeverything.com/animals/mammals/Carnivora/Procyonidae/Bassariscus/Bassariscus-sumichrasti.html Cacomistle Pictures and Facts
  5. ^ a b c d Garcia N.E., Vaughen C.S., McCoy M.B. (2002). Cacomistle Ecology in Costa Rica. Vida Silvestre Neotropical: 11(1-2).
  6. ^ How big is a hectare?. Retrieved March 22, 2012 from http://metricviews.org.uk/2007/11/how-big-hectare/
  7. ^ Trout, J.(2006). Central American Cacomistle. Retrieved on March 22, 2012 from http://itech.pensacolastate.edu/sctag/Central_American_cacomistle/index.htm
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