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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter March 12, 2020

Skunks and gray foxes in a tropical dry region: casual or positive interactions?

  • Gabriela Pérez-Irineo , Salvador Mandujano EMAIL logo and Eva López-Tello
From the journal Mammalia


Previous studies have shown that skunks present negative interactions with foxes. However, recently published observations have demonstrated that southern spotted skunk (Spilogale angustifrons) individuals follow gray foxes (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) in the Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Biosphere Reserve (TCBR) in Mexico. In this paper, we reported the same interaction in other locations in the TCBR and evaluated whether this interaction is casual or statistically positive. In this analysis, we included data pertaining to three skunk species (S. angustifrons, Conepatus leuconotus, and Mephitis macroura) and U. cinereoargenteus. We sampled 172 sites using camera traps from 2011 to 2018 for a total effort of 49,764 trap-days. The four studied species were nocturnal; the overlap coefficient between foxes and skunks varied from 0.70 to 0.83. Of the 32 consecutive records between S. angustifrons and U. cinereoargenteus, 11 showed that individuals of this skunk species closely followed U. cinereoargenteus and that these encounters were not random (time interval <1 min). We did not find evidence of a behavioral association of U. cinereoargenteus with C. leuconotus and M. macroura.

Award Identifier / Grant number: CB-2009-01-130702

Award Identifier / Grant number: CB-2015-01-256549

Funding statement: This study received logistic support from Red de Biología y Conservación de Vertebrados of the Instituto de Ecología, A.C., and was financed by Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACyT), Funder Id: (CB-2009-01-130702 and CB-2015-01-256549). The authors thank the people who collaborated in the fieldwork. The first author (GPI) received a postdoctoral fellowship.


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Received: 2019-03-21
Accepted: 2020-01-30
Published Online: 2020-03-12
Published in Print: 2020-09-25

©2020 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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