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Distribution and Relative Abundance of Eastern Spotted Skunk Records Across Their Range

Roger W. Perry1,*, D. Blake Sasse2, J. Clint Perkins3, and Nicholas W. Sharp4

1USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station, Hot Springs, AR 71902. 2Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Mayflower, AR 72106. 3Department of Natural Resources Management, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX 79409. 4Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, Tanner, AL 35671. *Corresponding author.

Southeastern Naturalist,Volume 20, Special Issue 11 (2021): 13–23

Evidence suggests the range of Spilogale putorius (Eastern Spotted Skunk) has contracted and its abundance has declined in the past 70 years, leading to conservation concerns. We summarized county records of Eastern Spotted Skunks collected during 2000–2020 to determine the current range and relative abundance of the species. We accumulated 1174 records from 257 counties across its historic range in the United States, with 901 records from 197 counties considered verified. Verified records included museum specimens, photo-documented occurrences, and captures by researchers. We created 2 distribution maps: one of their current range based on all occurrence records and another from only verified records. Records indicated the Eastern Spotted Skunk persisted across a large portion of its historic range, and is relatively abundant in the Interior Highlands, Appalachian Mountains, central Texas, central South Dakota, and south Florida. Our results also suggest that the species’ overall range has contracted since 1959. Regions with a relatively high abundance of current records covered a variety of ecosystems, including agricultural areas, grasslands, woodlands, and forests. These data provide managers with information concerning where research and conservation efforts can be focused for this potentially declining species.

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