Marsh mongoose

Last updated

Marsh mongoose
Marsh mongoose or water mongoose, Atilax paludinosus, at Rietvlei Nature Reserve, Gauteng, South Africa (22548192738).jpg
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Suborder: Feliformia
Family: Herpestidae
Subfamily: Herpestinae
Genus: Atilax
F. Cuvier, 1826
Species:
A. paludinosus
Binomial name
Atilax paludinosus
G. Cuvier, 1829
Atilax paludinosus range map.png

The marsh mongoose (Atilax paludinosus) is a medium-sized mongoose native to sub-Saharan Africa, where it inhabits foremost freshwater wetlands. It has been listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List since 2008. [1]

Contents

Taxonomy

The generic name Atilax was introduced in 1826 by Frédéric Cuvier. [2] In 1829, Georges Cuvier referred to a mongoose in the marshes of the Cape Province using the scientific name Herpestes paludinosus. [3] It is the only member of the genus Atilax. [4]

Characteristics

The marsh mongoose's fur is dark reddish brown to black with white and fawn coloured guard hairs. The hair behind the neck and in front of the back is short, but longer on the hind legs and on the tail. Its muzzle is short with a fawn coloured mouth, short whiskers and a naked rhinarium. It has 3.1.3.23.1.3.2 × 2 = 36 teeth. Its short ears are round. It has two nipples. Its feet have five flexible digits each with curved claws, but without any webbing. The soles of its feet are naked. [5]

Females measure 48.72 cm (19.18 in) in head-to-body length, and males 51.38 cm (20.23 in), with a 32.18–34.11 cm (12.67–13.43 in) long tail. In weight, adults range from 2.56 to 2.95 kg (5.6 to 6.5 lb). Both sexes have anal glands in a pouch that produce a musky smelling secretion. [6]

Distribution and habitat

The marsh mongoose occurs in sub-Saharan Africa from Senegal to Ethiopia, and south to Southern Africa, except Namibia. [1] It inhabits freshwater wetlands such as marshes and swamps along slow-moving rivers and streams, but also estuaries in coastal areas. [5] It was probably introduced to Pemba Island in the Zanzibar Archipelago. [7]

In Guinea's National Park of Upper Niger, it was recorded during surveys conducted in 1996 to 1997. [8] In Gabon’s Moukalaba-Doudou National Park, it was recorded only in forested habitats during a two-months survey in 2012. [9]

In the Ethiopian Highlands, it was recorded at an altitude of 3,950 m (12,960 ft) in Bale Mountains National Park. [10]

Behaviour and ecology

The marsh mongoose is solitary. [11] It is an excellent swimmer and can dive for up to 15 seconds, using its feet to paddle. On land, it usually trots slowly, but can also move fast. [12] Radio-collared marsh mongooses in Kwa-Zulu Natal showed crepuscular activity, and were active from shortly after sunset until after midnight, but not during the day. [13] A male marsh mongoose radio-collared in Dzanga-Sangha Special Reserve was most active in early mornings and late evenings. During the day it rested in burrows situated in dry areas above water and mud in dense cover of high grasses and climbing plants. [14]

Feeding behaviour and diet

Feeding behaviour of eight captive marsh mongooses was studied in 1984. When the mongooses sighted prey in the water, they swam or walked towards it, used their digits to seek it out, but kept their heads above water. Once located, they grabbed it with the mouth and killed it outside the water. They killed rodents and frogs by biting them in the head, and occasionally also shook them. When finished eating, they wiped their mouths with the forefeet. They broke eggs by throwing them backwards between the legs. [11] Scat of marsh mongooses collected around Lake St Lucia contained foremost remains of crustaceans, amphibians, insects and fish. Marsh mongooses were observed while carrying mudcrabs (Scylla serrata) ashore. They removed the chelipeds and opened the sternum to feed on the body contents. [15] They deposit scat at specific latrine sites located on low shrubs, on rocks or sand well away from the water edge. Scat of marsh mongoose collected in a rocky coastal habitat contained remains of sandhoppers, shore crab (Cyclograpsus punctatus), pink-lipped topshell ( Oxystele sinensis ) and Tropidophora snails. [16] Research in southeastern Nigeria revealed that the marsh mongoose has an omnivorous diet. It feeds on rodents like giant pouched rats (Cricetomys), Temminck's mouse (Mus musculoides), Tullberg's soft-furred mouse (Praomys tulbergi), grass frogs (Ptychadena), crowned bullfrog (Hoplobatrachus occipitalis), herald snake ( Crotaphopeltis hotamboeia ), mudskippers (Periophthalmus), insects such as spiders and Coleoptera, snails and slugs, Bivalvia, Decapoda as well as fruits, berries and seeds. [17]

Reproduction

After a gestation of 69 to 80 days, females give birth to a litter of two to three young, which are fully furred. Their eyes open between the 9th and 14th day, pupils are bluish at first and change to brown at the age of three weeks. Their ear canal opens between the 17th and 28th day. Females start weaning their offspring earliest on the 30th day, and young are fully weaned by the age of two months. [18]

Threats

In 2006, it was estimated that about 950 marsh mongooses are hunted yearly in the Cameroon part of the Cross-Sanaga-Bioko coastal forests. [19]

Related Research Articles

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.

Viverridae family of mammals, the viverrids

Viverridae is a family of small to medium-sized mammals, the viverrids, comprising 15 genera, which are subdivided into 38 species. This family was named and first described by John Edward Gray in 1821. Viverrids occur all over Africa, into southern Europe, in South and Southeast Asia across the Wallace Line. Their occurrence in Sulawesi and in some of the adjoining islands shows them to be ancient inhabitants of the Old World tropics.

African civet largest representative of the African Viverridae

The African civet is a large viverrid native to sub-Saharan Africa, where it is considered common and widely distributed in woodlands and secondary forests. It is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List since 2008. In some countries, it is threatened by hunting, and wild-caught individuals are kept for producing civetone for the perfume industry.

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.

Stripe-necked mongoose species of mammal

The stripe-necked mongoose is a mongoose species native to forests and shrublands from southern India to Sri Lanka.

Genet (animal) genus of mammals

A genet is a member of the genus Genetta, which consists of 14 to 17 species of small African carnivorans. The common genet is the only genet present in Europe and occurs in the Iberian Peninsula and France.

Common genet species of mammal

The common genet is a small viverrid indigenous to Africa that was introduced to southwestern Europe and the Balearic Islands. It is widely distributed north of the Sahara, in savanna zones south of the Sahara to southern Africa and along the coast of Arabia, Yemen and Oman. It is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.

Eupleridae family of carnivorans

Eupleridae is a family of carnivorans endemic to Madagascar and comprising 10 known living species in seven genera, commonly known as euplerids, Malagasy mongooses or Malagasy carnivorans. The best known species is the fossa, in the subfamily Euplerinae. All species of Euplerinae were formerly classified as viverrids, while all species in the subfamily Galidiinae were classified as herpestids.

Crab-eating mongoose species of mammal

The crab-eating mongoose is a mongoose species ranging from the northeastern Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia to southern China and Taiwan. It is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.

Egyptian mongoose Species of mammal

The Egyptian mongoose, also known as ichneumon, is a mongoose species native to the Iberian Peninsula, coastal regions along the Mediterranean Sea between North Africa and Turkey, tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas, and shrublands in Africa. Because of its widespread occurrence, it is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.

Black-footed mongoose species of mammal

The black-footed mongoose is a mongoose species native to Central Africa, where it inhabits deep deciduous forests from eastern Nigeria to the southern Democratic Republic of the Congo. It has been listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List since 2008. It is omnivorous and feeds on ants, termites, Orthoptera, small rodents, frogs, lizards and fruits. It is mostly solitary and nocturnal.

Slender mongoose species of mammal

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.

Indian brown mongoose species of mammal

The Indian brown mongoose is a mongoose species native to the Western Ghats in India and the western coast in Sri Lanka. It is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.

Long-nosed mongoose species of mammal

The long-nosed mongoose is a mongoose native to Central African wetlands and rainforests. It has been listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List since 1996.

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.

<i>Herpestes</i> genus of mammals

Herpestes is a genus within the mongoose family Herpestidae. It is the type genus of the family and comprises ten living species, with a number of subspecies, and one extinct species.

<i>Potamonautes sidneyi</i> species of crustacean

Potamonautes sidneyi is a species of freshwater crab in the family Potamonautidae. The common name is the Natal river crab or Sidney's river crab, although they may also be referred to as "river crabs", "fresh water crabs" or "land crabs".

<i>Paradoxurus aureus</i> species of mammal

Paradoxurus aureus, the golden palm civet, also called golden paradoxurus and golden wet-zone palm civet is a viverrid species native to Sri Lanka. It was first described by Frédéric Cuvier in 1822.

References

  1. 1 2 3 Do Linh San, E.; Angelici, F. M.; Maddock, A. H.; Baker, C. M.; Ray, J. (2015). "Atilax paludinosus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species . 2015: e.T41590A45204865.
  2. Cuvier, F. G. (1826). "Vansire". In E. Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire; F. G. Cuvier (eds.). Histoire Naturelle des Mammifères : avec des figures originales, coloriées, dessinées d'aprèsdes animaux vivans. Tome 5. Paris: A. Belin. p. LIV.
  3. Cuvier, G. (1829). "Les Mangoustes. Cuv. (Herpestes, Illiger)". Le règne animal distribué d'après son organisation, pour servir de base à l'histoire naturelle des animaux et d'introduction à l'anatomie comparée. Paris: Chez Déterville. pp. 157–158.
  4. Wozencraft, W.C. (2005). "Atilax paludinosus". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 562. ISBN   978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC   62265494.
  5. 1 2 Baker, C. M.; Ray, J. C. (2013). "Genus Atilax paludinosus Marsh Mongoose". In J. Kingdon; M. Hoffmann (eds.). The Mammals of Africa. V. Carnivores, Pangolins, Equids and Rhinoceroses. London: Bloomsbury. pp. 298−302. ISBN   9781408189962.
  6. Baker, C. M. (1992). "Atilax paludinosus" (PDF). Mammalian Species. 408: 1–6. doi:10.2307/3504291. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 22 September 2011.
  7. Walsh, M. T. (2007). "Island subsistence: hunting, trapping and the translocation of wildlife in the Western Indian Ocean" (PDF). Azania: Journal of the British Institute in Eastern Africa. 42 (1): 83−113. doi:10.1080/00672700709480452.
  8. Ziegler, S.; Nikolaus, G.; Hutterer, R. (2002). "High mammalian diversity in the newly established National Park of Upper Niger, Republic of Guinea" (PDF). Oryx. 36 (1): 73–80. doi:10.1017/s003060530200011x.
  9. Nakashima, Y. (2015). "Inventorying medium-and large-sized mammals in the African lowland rainforest using camera trapping". Tropics. 23 (4): 151–164. doi: 10.3759/tropics.23.151 .
  10. Yalden, D. W.; Largen, M. J.; Kock, D.; Hillman, J. C. (1996). "Catalogue of the Mammals of Ethiopia and Eritrea. Revised checklist, zoogeography and conservation". Tropical Zoology 9 (1): 73−164.
  11. 1 2 Baker, C. M. (1989). "Feeding habits of the water mongoose (Atilax paludinosus)" (PDF). Zeitschrift für Säugetierkunde. 54 (1): 31–39.
  12. Taylor, M. E. (1970). "Locomotion in some African viverrids". Journal of Mammalogy. 51 (1): 42–51. doi:10.2307/1378530.
  13. Maddock, A. H.; Perrin, M. R. (1993). "Spatial and temporal ecology of an assemblage of viverrids in Natal, South Africa". Journal of Zoology. 229 (2): 277–287. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7998.1993.tb02636.x.
  14. Ray, J. (1997). "Comparative ecology of two African forest mongooses, Herpestes naso and Atilax paludinosus". African Journal of Ecology. 35 (3): 237–253. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2028.1997.086-89086.x.
  15. Whitfield, A. K.; Blaber, S. J. M. (1980). "The diet of Atilax paludinosus (water mongoose) at St Lucia, South Africa" (PDF). Mammalia. 44 (3): 315–318. doi:10.1515/mamm.1980.44.3.315.
  16. Louw, C. J.; Nel, J. A. J. (1986). "Diets of coastal and inland-dwelling water mongoose" (PDF). South African Journal of Wildlife Research. 16 (4): 153–156.
  17. Angelici, F. M. (2000). "Food habits and resource partitioning of carnivores (Herpestidae, Viverridae) in the rainforests of southeastern Nigeria: preliminary results" (PDF). Revue d'Écologie (La Terre et La Vie). 55: 67–76.
  18. Baker, C. M.; Meester, J. (1986). "Postnatal physical development of the Water mongoose (Atilax paludinosus)" (PDF). Zeitschrift für Säugetierkunde. 51 (4): 236–243.
  19. Fa, J. E.; Seymour, S.; Dupain, J. E. F.; Amin, R.; Albrechtsen, L.; Macdonald, D. (2006). "Getting to grips with the magnitude of exploitation: bushmeat in the Cross–Sanaga rivers region, Nigeria and Cameroon" (PDF). Biological Conservation. 129 (4): 497–510. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2005.11.031.