Common kusimanse

Last updated

Common kusimanse
Crossarchus obscurus Plzen zoo 02.2011.jpg
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Suborder: Feliformia
Family: Herpestidae
Genus: Crossarchus
Species:
C. obscurus
Binomial name
Crossarchus obscurus
G. Cuvier, 1825
Common Cusimanse area.png
Common kusimanse range

The common kusimanse (Crossarchus obscurus), also known as the long-nosed kusimanse or simply cusimanse, [2] [3] is a small, diurnal kusimanse or dwarf mongoose. Of three subfamilies of Herpestidae (Herpestinae, Mungotinae and Galidiinae), the kusimanse is a member of Mungotinae, [4] which are small and very social.

Contents

Description

Skull of a common kusimanse Crossarchus obscurus 02 MWNH 223.jpg
Skull of a common kusimanse

The common kusimanse has a vaguely weasel-shaped body with dark or reddish [5] brown fur that is thick, with a wiry texture down the back, and fine and soft on the underside. It has a long snout, short legs, a short, relatively stiff tail which tapers to a point, long claws, small ears, small, dark colored eyes, and an elongated nose. Adult size is typically around 33 cm (13 in) with a weight of approximately 1 kg (2.2 lb).

Behavior

This mongoose is a highly social animal which lives in a small family group of 10 to 20 or more individuals, with a strict hierarchical structure. The members of the family group communicate through various vocalizations including whistles, chirps and growls. The whistles are emitted for the purpose of maintaining contact in the dense rainforest understory while traveling. [6]

It is capable of climbing, but tends to restrict most of its activities to the ground. It is very territorial, and will mark the group's territory with anal scent glands, and defend it vehemently against intruders, even those of a much larger size. It has a variety of threat displays which include various growls and snorts, as well as physical movements such as lunging, back arching, and hair erection. The group is nomadic, not spending much time in one particular area of their territory. As they move from place to place, they find shelter in tree hollows, other animal's burrows, or termite mounds.

As they do not occupy permanent den sites, the young are not able to keep up with the group for several weeks and must be carried to different foraging spots. Individuals in the group take turns carrying the young and also help to feed them. [6]

Distribution and habitat

The common kusimanse is found in the west African countries of Ghana, Ivory Coast, Benin, [3] Liberia, and Sierra Leone, [7] and it has been exported to various other countries for the pet trade.

It differs from other mongooses primarily in its choice of habitat, which is generally forested areas near water, whereas most species of mongoose tend to prefer open grasslands, or semi-arid brush. It can be found from sea level to elevations of 1000 m (3280 ft).

Diet

Kusimanses are active foragers, and excellent diggers, which feed on a wide variety of things. Their diet is primarily carnivorous, consisting of insects, larvae, fresh water crabs, small reptiles, and small rodents. They have excellent eyesight and keen sense of smell, making them adept small prey hunters. They prefer to kill their prey with a single bite to the back of the neck. They will also consume various types of fruits and berries in small quantity. [8]

Where kusimanses live near human populations, they are "seen as natural pesticides." [3]

Reproduction

Drawing of Crossarchus obscurus. Crossarchus obscurus.jpg
Drawing of Crossarchus obscurus.

Due to their hierarchical social structure, only the primary members of a family group are permitted to breed. Subordinate offspring are often killed and eaten by the more dominant members of the group. Sexual maturity is reached between nine months of age to a year old. Females go into estrus up to nine times a year. Males initiate and terminate copulation without much courting. Gestation is approximately eight weeks, and each litter averages 2–4 babies, though they have six mammae. Females are capable of having three litters per year. Babies are born about 13 mm (0.5 in) long with their eyes closed, and a thick undercoat of fur. After about twelve days, they begin to open their eyes and explore their environment. At around three weeks the mother weans them, their guard hairs begin to grow in, and they actively forage on their own. They do not grow to adult size until around 6–9 months of age. The life span of the common kusimanse in captivity is 10 years.[ citation needed ]

In captivity

Tame common kusimanse sitting on a human lap. Cusimanse.jpg
Tame common kusimanse sitting on a human lap.

Due to its ease of training, and social nature, the common kusimanse is commonly available in the exotic pet trade and is found in many zoos worldwide. It tends to become quite bonded to its owner, and does not interact well with any other kind of household pet. It is highly energetic, requiring a large amount of space to satiate its natural wandering instinct. Without it, it tends to pace and act out with aggression. Its dietary needs can be met with a mix of various things including commercially available crickets, mealworms, or mice, along with a quality cat food.

In captivity the risk of obesity is high, and care should be taken to assure its diet is varied, and that it gets an appropriate amount of exercise. It will often try to eat almost anything it is offered or that it comes across which seems even remotely edible, and will often become aggressive if what it perceives as a food item is taken away. Captive breeding is not commonplace, but has been done.

Conservation status

The common kusimanse is not listed as threatened or endangered, and while no exact numbers of the wild population is known, is not considered to be at risk.

Related Research Articles

Coati Species of mammal

Coatis, also known as coatimundis, are members of the family Procyonidae in the genera Nasua and Nasuella. They are diurnal mammals native to South America, Central America, Mexico, and the southwestern United States. The name coatimundi purportedly derives from the Tupian languages of Brazil.

Meerkat species of small carnivoran in the mongoose family (Herpestidae)

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.

Mongoose A family of mammals in Africa and Asia

A mongoose is a small terrestrial carnivorous mammal belonging to the family Herpestidae. This family is currently split into two subfamilies, the Herpestinae and the Mungotinae. The Herpestinae comprises 23 living species that are native to southern Europe, Africa and Asia, whereas the Mungotinae comprises 11 species native to Africa. The Herpestidae originated about 21.8 ± 3.6 million years ago in the Early Miocene and genetically diverged into two main genetic lineages between 19.1 and 18.5 ± 3.5 million years ago.

Common degu species of small caviomorph rodent

The common degu, or, historically, the degu, is a small hystricomorpha rodent endemic to the Chilean matorral ecoregion of central Chile. The name degu on its own indicates either the entire genus Octodon or, more commonly, just the common degu. Common degus belong to the parvorder Caviomorpha of the infraorder Hystricognathi, along with the chinchilla and guinea pig. The word degu comes from the indigenous language of Chile, Mapudungun, and the word dewü, meaning 'mouse' or 'rat'.

Fossa (animal) Cat-like, carnivorous mammal endemic to Madagascar

The fossa is a cat-like, carnivorous mammal endemic to Madagascar. It is a member of the Eupleridae, a family of carnivorans closely related to the mongoose family Herpestidae. Its classification has been controversial because its physical traits resemble those of cats, yet other traits suggest a close relationship with viverrids. Its classification, along with that of the other Malagasy carnivores, influenced hypotheses about how many times mammalian carnivores have colonized Madagascar. With genetic studies demonstrating that the fossa and all other Malagasy carnivores are most closely related to each other forming a clade, recognized as the family Eupleridae, carnivorans are now thought to have colonized the island once, around 18 to 20 million years ago.

Yellow mongoose species of mammal

The yellow mongoose, sometimes referred to as the red meerkat, is a member of the mongoose family. It averages about 1 lb (1/2 kg) in weight and about 20 in (500 mm) in length. It lives in open country, from semi-desert scrubland to grasslands in Angola, Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, and Zimbabwe.

Banded mongoose species of 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.

<i>Crossarchus</i> genus of mammals

Crossarchus is a mongoose genus, commonly referred to as kusimanse, often cusimanse, mangue, or dwarf mongoose. They are placed in the subfamily Herpestinae or Mungotinae, which are small, highly social mongooses.

Angolan kusimanse species of mammal

The Angolan kusimanse, also known as Ansorge's kusimanse, is a species of small mongoose. There are two recognized subspecies: C. a. ansorgei, found in Angola; and C. a. nigricolor, found in DR Congo, which do not have overlapping ranges. It prefers rainforest type habitat, and avoids regions inhabited by humans. It grows to 12–18 inches in length, with a 6–10 inch long tail, and weighs 1–3 lb. Little is known about this species of kusimanse, and there are no estimates of its wild population numbers or status. Until 1984, the species was only known from two specimens from Baringa but are now thought to be quite common in some regions. Threats are probably habitat loss and bushmeat hunting. However, this species is protected by Salonga National Park.

Alexanders kusimanse Species of mammal

Alexander's kusimanse is a mongoose species native to Central African rainforests up to an elevation of 2,900 m (9,500 ft).

Galidiinae subfamily of carnivorans

Galidiinae is a subfamily of carnivorans that is restricted to Madagascar and includes six species classified into four genera. Together with the three other species of indigenous Malagasy carnivorans, including the fossa, they are currently classified in the family Eupleridae within the suborder Feliformia. Galidiinae are the smallest of the Malagasy carnivorans, generally weighing about 600 to 900 g. They are agile, short-legged animals with long, bushy tails.

Common dwarf mongoose species of mammal, small African carnivore

The common dwarf mongoose is a mongoose species native to Angola, northern Namibia, KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, Zambia and East Africa. It is part of the genus Helogale and as such related to Helogale hirtula.

White-tailed mongoose species of mammal

The white-tailed mongoose is on average the largest species in the mongoose family (Herpestidae). It is the only member of the genus Ichneumia.

Liberian mongoose species of mammal

The Liberian mongoose is a mongoose species native to Liberia and Ivory Coast. It is the only member of the genus Liberiictis. Phylogenetic analysis shows it is closely related to other small, social mongooses and that the banded mongoose is its closest relative.

Feliformia suborder of mammals in the order Carnivora

Feliformia is a suborder within the order Carnivora consisting of "cat-like" carnivorans, including cats, hyenas, mongooses, viverrids, and related taxa. Feliformia stands in contrast to the other suborder of Carnivora, Caniformia.

Wildlife of Benin Natural flora and fauna of Benin

Benin has varied resources of wildlife comprising flora and fauna, which are primarily protected in its two contiguous protected areas of the Pendjari National Park and W National Park. The former is known for many species of avifauna and the latter park is rich in mammals and predators. In addition, many other forest reserves are noted in the country but are not easily accessible, well protected or adequately surveyed for its wildlife resources. The protected area system of Benin defined as National Protected Area System is situated in the northern Benin, mostly with a woody savanna ecosystem. It covers 10.3% of the national territory and is part of the three nation transboundary W-Arly-Pendjari (WAP) complex.

Red-backed mousebird species of bird

The red-backed mousebird is a species of bird in the Coliidae family. It is found in Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The name mousebird is based on bird's soft feathers with texture similar to a mouse's fur. The red-backed mousebird got its name from the red or chestnut color patch on its back.

References

  1. Angelici, F.M. & Do Linh San, E. (2015). "Crossarchus obscurus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species . 2015: e.T41595A45205532.
  2. Dunham, Amy E. (2004). "Mongooses and Fossa (Herpestidae)". In Hutchins, Michael; et al. (eds.). Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia (2nd ed.). Detroit: Gale. p. 347. ISBN   0787653624.
  3. 1 2 3 Djagoun, Chabi A. M. S.; et al. (2009). "Mongoose Species in Southern Benin: Preliminary Ecological Survey and Local Community Perceptions". Mammalia. Walter de Gruyter. 73 (1): 27–32. doi:10.1515/mamm.2009.009.
  4. Veron, Geraldine (2010). "Phylogeny of the Viverridae and 'Viverrid-like' Feliforms". In Anjali Goswami; Anthony Friscia (eds.). Carnivoran Evolution: New Views on Phylogeny, Form, and Function. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 70. ISBN   9780521515290.
  5. Dunham, "Mongooses and Fossa," p. 357.
  6. 1 2 Dunham, Amy E. (2004). "Mongooses and Fossa (Herpestidae)". In Hutchins, Michael; et al. (eds.). Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia (2nd ed.). Detroit: Gale. p. 350. ISBN   0787653624.
  7. Olson, Annette Lynn (2001). The Behavior and Ecology of the Long-Nosed Mongoose, Crossarchus obscurus [Doctoral dissertation]. Coral Gables: University of Miami.
  8. Holmes, Stacie. "Crossarchus obscurus, long-nosed cusimanse". Animal Diversity Web. Retrieved January 1, 2013.