Eastern spotted skunk (Spilogale putorius) survival and cause-specific mortality in the ouachita mountains, Arkansas

Damon B. Lesmeister, Joshua J. Millspaugh, Matthew E. Gompper, Tony W. Mong

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    Survival and cause-specific mortality of eastern spotted skunks (Spilogale putorius) was assessed for a radio-monitored population in the Ouachita Mountains of westcentral Arkansas, USA. We monitored 33 eastern spotted skunks over a 23 mo period. Mean annual survival was 0.354 (0.339-0.368, 95 CI), and survival estimates were similar across age and sex categories. Survival increased for males as measures of body condition index increased. This pattern was reversed for females, although interpretation of the patterns is potentially confounded by female reproductive status. Of 19 mortality events, 63 (12) were caused by avian predators, most likely great horned owls (Bubo virginianus), 26 (5) were caused by mammalian predators, and 11 (2) were due to unknown causes. Although eastern spotted skunks are known to avoid open areas and forested areas where the understory is less dense and the canopy more open, 11 of 12 avian-caused deaths occurred in mature shortleaf pine stands with an open canopy and herbaceous understory.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)52-60
    Number of pages9
    JournalAmerican Midland Naturalist
    Volume164
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jul 2010

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