We examined 96 museum specimens belonging to 14 species of Carnivora from the Mexican State of Puebla. In addition, four species were documented based on literature records and by indirect evidence. The carnivorous mammals of Puebla belong to 5 families, 18 genera, 18 species and 23 subspecies. Eight of these 23 taxa are reported herein for the first time from the state of Puebla. Of the 18 species, Herpailurus yagouaroundi, Lontra longicaudis, Taxidea taxus, and Galictis vittata are considered by Norma Oficial Mexicana as threatened species, Leopardus wiedii and Eira barbara in danger of extinction, and Potos flavus is under special protection. We found Lynx rufus, Canis latrans, Taxidea taxus, and Bassariscus astutus were found only in the Nearctic region of the State, whereas Herpailurus yagouaroundi, Leopardus wiedii, Lontra longicaudis, Galictis vittata, Eira barbara, Potos flavus, and Nasua narica were found only in the Neotropical region of the State. The remaining seven species (Puma concolor, Urocyon cinereoargenteus, Mustela frenata, Mephitis macroura, Spilogale putorius, Conepatus leuconotus, and Procyon lotor) have been taken in both the Nearctic and Neotropical regions. Localities in the Sierra Norte de Puebla had the greatest species richness and abundance of individuals. The carnivores confront serious conservation problems in the state because they are hunted indiscriminately as trophies and by the local residents as harmful species. Moreover they are hunted for economic benefit by the sale of theirs skins or as living pets. The carnivores in some areas are used as food items and for therapeutic proprieties of their fat, skin, or bones. Unfortunately at this time we can’t assess the full impact of these activities on the local populations.
Organisms often respond in ways that appear to benefit others rather than themselves. This phenomenon is consistent with the views of Darwin (1859) and Dawkins (1999) that individuals may exploit the responses of others. This phenomenon, “social parasitism”, has been extensively investigated in social insects, particularly, ants. Other empirical studies have demonstrated social parasitism in fish, birds, and mammals. This paper reviews several possible examples of mammalian social parasitism, with an emphasis upon intraspecific social parasitism (ISP) in Neotropical primates. Social parasitism is discussed as a life history feature of long-lived, social organisms such as many primates, including humans. A simple mathematical model, applied to social parasitism, is presented linking parasite transmission to a parasite’s influence on its host. Phenotypic manipulation is assessed as a mechanism of social parasitism, and possible examples from the literature on Neotropical primates are provided. Social parasitism is discussed in relation to the evolution of higher grades of sociality (eusociality, cooperative breeding), manipulation success (infectivity), and the evolution of virulence (e.g., aggression, punishment). It is proposed that an understanding of variations in virulence and infectivity by social parasites is likely to reveal important evolutionary dynamics for an integrated view of social evolution.
Use of hair tubes and hair characterization of the Red-Bellied Squirrel Callosciurus erythraeus. The Asiatic Red-Bellied Squirrel has been introduced into the Pampas Region, where a wild population has now been established and is colonizing new areas. Hair tubes have been successfully used to assess the presence/absence of other species of squirrel through the identification of the collected hairs. The objectives of this study were to characterize the hairs of the Red-Bellied Squirrel and to test the use of hair tubes to detect the presence of this species. The study was conducted in the province of Buenos Aires, Argentina, from January to July 2004. Hairs from the back, head and tail have dark and light stripes while hairs from the belly are uniformly reddish brown. A multi-seriated medullar pattern was observed in the hairs of the back, head and belly, while the tail’s hairs showed a different medullar pattern that can be described as overlapped dark rings. Cuticle scales patterns corresponded to the normal mosaic type in the hairs of the tail, back, head and belly, and for the last three regions a different pattern was observed next to the hair bulb. Hair tubes were made of PVC tubes (25 × 6 cm) opened at both extremes. The tubes had an adhesive tape attached at both extremes and bait (peanuts and nuts) was offered in the centre. Given the arboreal habits of this squirrel, traps were placed on tree branches and inspected weekly. The hair tubes were successful in collecting hairs of the Red-Bellied Squirrel that can be distinguished from those of other mammals inhabiting the same area. Because this is quite a simple and inexpensive technique, we consider it an appropriate method to evaluate the presence of this alien species in the region.