Conservation Status of the Plains Spotted Skunk in Texas
Perkins, James Clinton.
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Research of rare or understudied species often benefits from the use of multiple methods and survey techniques. The potentially endangered plains spotted skunk (Spilogale putorius interrupta) is an uncommon mephitid historically distributed throughout much of Texas. To assess the status of the skunk, I collected presence data using both field surveys and crowd source methods. Field surveys were conducted throughout the state using live traps, trail cameras, and track plates. Additional presence data were also compiled from academic, wildlife, and citizen scientists’ groups. Skunk presence data were used to create a species distribution model. The model predicts that the skunk is still widely distributed in Texas. The results of the project indicate that the skunk has low localized abundance, but there are at least 2 areas with high local abundance: native prairies northwest of Houston and mixed oak/juniper forests in the Cross Timbers ecoregion.