Black mongoose

Last updated

Black mongoose
Black mongoose waterberg.jpg
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Suborder: Feliformia
Family: Herpestidae
Genus: Galerella
Species:
G. nigrata
Binomial name
Galerella nigrata
Thomas, 1928 [1]

The black mongoose (Galerella nigrata) is a species of mongoose found in Namibia and Angola. Although originally described as a separate species by Thomas (1928), [1] it has often been considered a subspecies of the slender mongoose. However, genetic analysis has confirmed its status as a separate species. [2] Evidence suggests the two species diverged around four million years ago, likely due to some populations becoming separated as the habitat in southern Africa was changing. [3] The black mongoose now occupies a distinct habitat in areas with large boulders and rocky outcrops known as inselbergs in the mountainous regions of northwest Namibia and southwest Angola. [4] After remaining in these areas for millions of years, the black mongoose is highly specialized to survive in the harsh arid environment. [3]

Contents

Description

The black mongoose resembles the slender mongoose except that its coat is almost entirely black with dark reddish hues on the flank. [3] The black pelage is thought to be an adaptation to provide camouflage in the shadowed crevices between large boulders where they hunt. It has a body mass of about 0.7 to 0.9 kg and a body length of about 6.4 to 7.0 cm with a tail between 3.2 and 3.6 cm. [4]

Diet and behavior

Like other species of Galerella in southern Africa, the black mongoose has a broad diet, consuming adult, larval, and pupal Sarcophagid flies and other insects, as well as reptiles, birds, small mammals and fruits. [5] They may sometimes scavenge meat but they prefer to eat the flies and larva found near the carcass. [6] The black mongoose is mostly solitary, although occasional congregations may form, such as in the presence of an abundant food source such as the flies found near the rotting carcass of a large animal. [6] Although highly solitary, they are not usually aggressive towards other members of their species and are not known to be territorial. In fact, home ranges of males may overlap up to 100%. However, scent-marking seems to occur through marking with urine and rubbing of the throat and chest on rocks to deposit scent gland products. Individuals usually have multiple dens, which they use sporadically, but they do not share dens between individuals. Males have been known to form temporary hunting pairs, in which one individual flushes out prey for the other. The black mongoose is a stalking predator that will sometimes pursue prey much larger than itself, such as rock hyraxes, but more commonly birds, such as guinea fowl and drongos, and rodents. [4]

Range and habitat

The range of the black mongoose extends from the Kunene River region southward toward the Erongo Mountains of Namibia. It is known as an obligate petrophile because it is highly adapted to living in extremely rocky areas with many large boulders. Individuals have been observed to spend 65% of their time among boulders, where they hunt and build their dens. [4] The species is a habitat specialist and is almost never observed in the relatively open plains found between the isolated granite inselbergs. [3] When in open areas, the black mongoose is vulnerable to predation from raptors such as the African hawk eagle. Home ranges vary widely in size from 12 to 145 hectares. [4]

Related Research Articles

Meerkat

The meerkat or suricate is a small mongoose found in southern Africa. It is characterised by a broad head, large eyes, a pointed snout, long legs, a thin tapering tail, and a brindled coat pattern. The head-and-body length is around 24–35 cm (9.4–13.8 in), and the weight is typically between 0.62 and 0.97 kg. The coat is light grey to yellowish brown with alternate, poorly defined light and dark bands on the back. Meerkats have foreclaws adapted for digging and have the ability to thermoregulate to survive in their harsh, dry habitat. Three subspecies are recognised.

Elephant shrew

Elephant shrews, also called jumping shrews or sengis, are small insectivorous mammals native to Africa, belonging to the family Macroscelididae, in the order Macroscelidea. Their traditional common English name "elephant shrew" comes from a perceived resemblance between their long noses and the trunk of an elephant, and their superficial similarity with shrews in the order Eulipotyphla. However, phylogenetic analysis revealed that elephant shrews are not classified with true shrews, but are in fact more closely related to elephants than shrews. In 1997, the biologist Jonathan Kingdon proposed that they instead be called "sengis", a term derived from the Bantu languages of Africa, and in 1998, they were classified into the new clade Afrotheria.

Brown hyena

The brown hyena, also called strandwolf, is a species of hyena found in Namibia, Botswana, western and southern Zimbabwe, southern Mozambique and South Africa. It is currently the rarest species of hyena. The largest remaining brown hyena population is located in the southern Kalahari Desert and coastal areas in Southwest Africa. The global population of brown hyena is estimated by IUCN at a number between 4,000 and 10,000 and its conservation status is marked as near threatened in the IUCN Red List.

Banded mongoose

The banded mongoose is a mongoose species native from the Sahel to Southern Africa. It lives in savannas, open forests and grasslands and feeds primarily on beetles and millipedes. Mongooses use various types of dens for shelter including termite mounds. While most mongoose species live solitary lives, the banded mongoose live in colonies with a complex social structure.

Bateleur

The Bateleur is a medium-sized eagle in the family Accipitridae. Its closest relatives are the snake eagles. It is the only member of the genus Terathopius and may be the origin of the "Zimbabwe Bird", the national emblem of Zimbabwe. It is endemic to Africa and small parts of Arabia. "Bateleur" is French for "street performer".

Angolan slender mongoose

The Angolan slender mongoose is a mongoose native to southwestern Africa, specifically southwestern Angola and northwestern Namibia. It has been listed as "Least Concern" on the IUCN Red List, as it is not threatened and thought to be common. It has a long, slim body and there are different colour forms, a black or dark brown form in the southern part of its range, and a yellowish- or reddish-brown form in the north. This mongoose inhabits dry, rocky habitats and feeds on insects, scorpions and small vertebrates.

Slender mongoose

The slender mongoose, also known as the black-tipped mongoose or the black-tailed mongoose, is a very common species of mongoose of sub-Saharan Africa.

Selouss mongoose

Selous's mongoose is a mongoose species native to Southern Africa. It is the only member of the genus Paracynictis.

Namaqua sandgrouse Species of bird

The Namaqua sandgrouse, is a species of ground-dwelling bird in the sandgrouse family. It is found in arid regions of south-western Africa.

Black-chested prinia

The black-chested prinia is a species of bird in the family Cisticolidae. It is found in Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Its natural habitat is dry savanna.

Southern African hedgehog

The Southern African hedgehog is a species of mammal in the family Erinaceidae. It is found in Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

Swamp musk shrew Species of mammal native to African swamps

The swamp musk shrew, or musk shrew, is a species of mammal in the family Soricidae. It occurs in Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Eswatini, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Its natural habitat is swamps, and it is a common species in suitable habitats, with the International Union for Conservation of Nature listing it as being of "least concern".

<i>Galerella</i>

Galerella is a genus of the mongoose family (Herpestidae) native to Africa and commonly called the slender mongooses.

Grey-faced sengi

The grey-faced sengi is a species of elephant shrew that is endemic to the Udzungwa Mountains of south-central Tanzania. The discovery of the species was announced in January 2008; only 15 species of elephant shrew were known until then, and the last discovery was made more than 120 years ago. As the name implies, the species is characterised by a distinctive grey face and a black rump, as well as being larger than the other species of elephant shrews.

Mesocarnivore

A mesocarnivore is an animal whose diet consists of 50–70% meat with the balance consisting of non-vertebrate foods which may include insects, fungi, fruits, other plant material and any food that is available to them. Mesocarnivores are from a large family group of mammalian carnivores and vary from small to medium sized, which are less than fifteen kilograms. Mesocarnivores are seen today among the Canidae, Viverridae (civets), Mustelidae, Procyonidae, Mephitidae (skunks), and Herpestidae. The red fox is also the most common of the mesocarnivores in Europe and has a high population density in the areas they reside.

Erindi Private Game Reserve is a protected reserve in Namibia, located southeast of Omaruru. It is a private game reserve located on a central plateau in Namibia, just three hours north of Windhoek. The reserve rests in between the towns of Otjiwarongo, Omaruru and Okahandja. The land on which Erindi was founded, has been reclaimed as part of a massive rehabilitation and conservation venture. The owners, Chris and Gert Joubert, originally bought the 70 719 hectares of land with the intention of going into cattle farming. It was soon realized that farming cattle is an extremely costly practice, and they abandoned the idea in favor of a private game reserve. The aim was to restore endemic species to the area, with the hope that they would once again thrive there.

<i>Agama planiceps</i> species of reptile

The Namib rock agama is a species of agamid lizard that is native to granite rocky outcrops in northwestern Namibia and southwestern Angola.

Namibian savanna woodlands

The Namibian savanna woodlands, also known as the Namib escarpment woodlands, are deserts and xeric shrublands ecoregion of Namibia and Angola.

References

  1. 1 2 Thomas O (1928). "Two new S. W. African mongooses" (PDF). Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. 10 (59): 408. doi:10.1080/00222939208677435.
  2. Tromp S (2007). "Introducing the black mongoose" (PDF). University of Queensland. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2011-10-26.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Rapson, Sarah A. (2012). "Species boundaries and possible hybridization between the black mongoose (Galerella nigrata) and the slender mongoose (Galerella sanguinea)". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 65 (3): 831–839. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2012.08.005.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 Rathbun, Galen; Tristan Cowley (2008). "Behavioural ecology of the black mongoose (Galerella nigrata) in Namibia". Mammalian Biology - Zeitschrift für Säugetierkunde. 73 (6): 444–450. doi:10.1016/j.mambio.2008.02.006.
  5. Warren Y; Cunningham P; Mbangu A; Tutjavi V (2009). "Preliminary observations of the diet of the black mongoose (Galerella nigrata, Thomas, 1928) in the Erongo Mountains, Namibia". African Journal of Ecology. 47 (4): 801–803. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2028.2008.01028.x.
  6. 1 2 Rathbun, Galen; Tristan Cowley & Otto Zapke (2004). "Black mongoose (Galerella nigrata) home range and social behaviour affected by abundant food at an antelope carcass". African Zoology. 40: 154–157.