The genus Conepatus (Mammalia, Mustelidae) : variation within a population. American Museum novitates ; no. 2322

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New York, N.Y. : American Museum of Natural History
"One hundred three specimens of the genus Conepatus from Uruguay have been analyzed for age, sex, and individual variation of both skins and skulls. Sexual dimorphism in the cranial measurements is sufficiently great to preclude consideration of both sexes as a single unit in systematc studies. Similarly, there are significant differences between age groups of the same sex great enough to indicate that taxonomic comparisons must be made between individuals of comparable age. Individual variation in cranial dimensions is sufficiently low (coefficient of variation less than 5) in about 10 measurements to suggest that these will be most useful taxonomic criteria. An analysis of color pattern indicates considerable individual variation but no sex or age differences. From the material available, no conclusions about molt or seasonal variation could be made. Kipp (1965) is the only other person who has investigated variation in this genus in detail. Her sample consisted of 84 specimens, of which only 26 were skins with associated skulls. The total sample was drawn from an area larger than 600,000 square miles, with varied topography and climate. Although she called specimens adult, subadult, and juvenile, Kipp did not present data for age criteria, and some of the questions she raised indicate that she did not refine her age categories sufficiently. Her comments (pp. 218-219) on postorbital breadth and zygomatic breadth seem to indicate that she did not recognize these as age characters. In drawing her taxonomic conclusions, she relied almost entirely on characters of the skins. Her placement of Uruguayan material (Kipp, 1965, map p. 226) in the group of skunks having bicolored hair in the tail is not correct. This paper presents the basic analyses that will permit a more objective evaluation of characters used in the classification of the genus Conepatus"--P.33-35.
37 p. : ill., map ; 24 cm.
Includes bibliographic references (p. 36-37).