skunk

(redirected from Mephitidae)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical.

skunk,

name for several related New World mammals of the weaselweasel,
name for certain small, lithe, carnivorous mammals of the family Mustelidae (weasel family). Members of this family are generally characterized by long bodies and necks, short legs, small rounded ears, and medium to long tails.
..... Click the link for more information.
 family, characterized by their conspicuous black and white markings and use of a strong, highly offensive odor for defense. The scent glands of skunks produce an oily, yellowish liquid, which the animal squirts with great force from vents under the tail; this produces a fine mist which, in addition to stinking, causes choking and tearing of the eyes. Skunks do not make use of this weapon unless severely provoked and then only after raising the tail in a warning display. Most animals quickly learn to recognize and avoid skunks, which are consequently quite fearless and move about openly. The two common skunks of the United States, the striped skunk and the spotted skunk, are nocturnal animals; their diets include rodents, insects, eggs, carrion, and vegetable matter. They live, often several individuals or families together, in dens made in abandoned burrows or buildings or in rock piles. Most familiar is the striped skunk, Mephitis mephitis, of the United States, N Mexico, and Canada S of Hudson Bay. It has thick black fur, usually with two white stripes on the back. It is 13 to 18 in. (33–46 cm) long, excluding the bushy tail (7–10 in./18–25 cm), and weighs 6 to 14 lb (2.7–6.4 kg). Because it destroys pests, it is protected in many states. In northern parts of their range the animals sleep through much of the winter, but they do not truly hibernate and may emerge during warm spells. The small, slender, spotted skunk, Spilogale putorius, has several irregular white stripes or lines of spots. It inhabits Mexico and the W, S, and central United States. Its combined head and body length is 9 to 13 in. (23–33 cm) and the tail is 4 to 9 in. (10–23 cm) long. This skunk balances on its front paws as part of its warning display. Central and South American skunks, species of the genus Conepatus, have white backs and tails and black underparts. Good diggers with large claws, they root in the ground for food. One species, the hognose skunk (Conepatus leuconotus), ranges as far north as the SW United States. Skunk fur, especially that of the striped skunk, is much used for coat trimmings. The animals are sometimes kept as pets, usually after having the scent glands removed. Skunks are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
..... Click the link for more information.
, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Carnivora, family Mustelidae.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/

skunk

[skəŋk]
(vertebrate zoology)
Any one of a group of carnivores in the family Mustelidae characterized by a glossy black and white coat and two musk glands at the base of the tail.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

skunk

1. any of various American musteline mammals of the subfamily Mephitinae, esp Mephitis mephitis (striped skunk), typically having a black and white coat and bushy tail: they eject an unpleasant-smelling fluid from the anal gland when attacked
2. Slang a strain of cannabis smoked for its exceptionally powerful psychoactive properties
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
En Mexico se presentan tres generos de zorrillos (Mammalia: Carnivora, Mephitidae): Mephitis (con 2 especies), Conepatus (con una especie) y Spilogale (con cuatro especies); estas ultimas son Spilogale angustifrons, S.
Taphonomy of the bones of rodents consumed by Andean hog-no sed skunks (Conepatus chinga, Carnivora, Mephitidae) in central Argentina.
This study suggests that striped skunks show levels of polymorphism and heterozygosity consistent with other studies of Mephitidae and Mustelidae [respectively, the family in which they are now placed (Dragoo and Honeycutt, 1997) and the family in which they were previously included; see Table 1] and other mammals (Nevo, 1978) and show slightly higher levels than the average for terrestrial carnivores (Merola, 1994).
Los zorrinos (Mephitidae) son considerados como especies omnivoras oportunistas, los cuales se alimentan principalmente de insectos, otros invertebrados y ocasionalmente de mamiferos, frutos y probablemente serpientes (Nowak 1991; Zeballos et al.
Suitable den sites are a basic habitat requirement for skunks (Mephitidae, Carnivora) (Bixler and Gittleman, 2000; Lesmeister et al., 2008).
El orden Carnivora (cinco especies) estuvo representada por tres familias, dentro de las cuales Procyonidae y Mephitidae registraron dos especies respectivamente.
The families with fewer studies were Eupleridae, Mephitidae and Herpestidae, and the families most studied were Mustelidae, Canidae and Felidae, both globally and by continents (Table 2).
Los pequenos gatos de la familia Felidae por su carisma han sido los mas estudiados y actualmente se conoce su distribucion actual de manera general, no asi para los organismos de las familias Mustelidae, Procyonidae y Mephitidae, para las cuales se desconoce su distribucion y estado de conservacion.
Nandiinidae, Felidae, Prionodontidae, Viverridae, Hyaenidae, Herpestidae, Eupleridae, Canidae, Ursidae, Procyonidae, Mephitidae y Mustelidae), mas dos listas de bibliografia, una general y otra referida a descripciones cientificas.
A unica especie da familia Mephitidae com distribuicao para a regiao da area de estudo, Conepatus semistriatus, tambem apresentou registros em diferentes fitofisionomias.
En Mexico se han reportado siete especies de la familia Mephitidae (Ramirez-Pulido et al.