Detection rates of eastern spotted skunks (Spilogale putorius) in Missouri and Arkansas using live-capture and non-invasive techniques

H. Mundy Hackett, Damon B. Lesmeister, Jacqueline Desanty-Combes, Warren G. Montague, Joshua J. Millspaugh, Matthew E. Gompper

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    The eastern spotted skunk (Spilogale putorius) is a rare species of conservation concern throughout much of its range, but effective management is hampered by a lack of information on appropriate survey strategies. We validated three commonly used techniques to identify the presence of eastern spotted skunks at four sites in Missouri and Arkansas where the species was known to occur. Live-capture with box-traps revealed a strong seasonal pattern in capture success in both states, with virtually all captures occurring between late Sept. and early May. This pattern of detection also occurred when surveys were conducted using non-invasive camera-traps and enclosed track-plates in Missouri. Track-plates were more efficient than camera-traps at detecting eastern spotted skunks, with a lower latency to initial detection (LTD) and higher probability of detection (POD). Our results indicate that the use of enclosed track-plates is a powerful non-invasive technique for detecting eastern spotted skunks when surveys are conducted between late Sept. and early May. Surveys conducted during late spring and summers are inappropriate given the high likelihood of not detecting the species despite its presence.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)123-131
    Number of pages9
    JournalAmerican Midland Naturalist
    Volume158
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jul 2007

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