Channel Islands spotted skunk Spilogale gracilis amphiala, photographed by Brian Kentosh.

Belongs within: Carnivora.
Contains: Conepatus, Procyonidae, Mustelidae.

The Musteloidea is a clade of mostly small-bodied carnivorans, including the weasels, raccoons and related taxa. Previously divided between the families Procyonidae and Mustelidae, more recent phylogenetic analyses have agreed in placing the skunks (Mephitidae) and red panda Ailurus fulgens outside the clade formed by the former two taxa. The skunks are omnivorous animals native to North and South America, commonly with contrasting black and white colour patterns and with defensive anal scent glands that produce a noxious spray.

Synapomorphies (from Flynn et al. 1988): Auditory bulla with caudal ectotympanic ventrally and posteriorly expanded, with relative shortening of carotid canal (reversed in some sublineages); alisphenoid canal absent; third upper and lower molars both absent.

<==Musteloidea [Melinae] MJ11
    |  i. s.: Megalictis Matthew 1907 D07
    |           `--M. ferox D07
    |         Bavarictis RDT09
    |         Aelurocyon FNT88
    |         Zodiolestes FNT88
    |--+--Mydaus FS15
    |  |    |--M. javanensis FS15
    |  |    `--M. marchei FS15
    |  `--Mephitidae [Mephitinae] MJ11
    |       |  i. s.: Miomephitis pilgrimi MJ11
    |       |--+--Brachyprotoma obtusata FS15
    |       |  `--Conepatus FS15
    |       `--+--Mephitis FS15
    |          |    |--M. macroura Lichtenstein 1832 MB86
    |          |    |    |--M. m. macroura [incl. M. macroura vittata] G69
    |          |    |    `--M. m. milleri Mearns 1897 MB86
    |          |    `--M. mephitis DD06
    |          |         |--M. m. mephitis B75
    |          |         |--M. m. avia B75
    |          |         |--M. m. hudsonica Richardson 1829 [=M. americana var. hudsonica] B75
    |          |         `--M. m. mesomelas B75
    |          `--Spilogale FS15
    |               |--S. pygmaea FS15
    |               `--+--S. gracilis FS15
    |                  |    |--S. g. gracilis DD06
    |                  |    |--S. g. amphiala DD06
    |                  |    `--S. g. leucoparia Merriam 1890 MB86
    |                  `--+--S. angustifrons Howell 1902 FS15, MB86 [=S. gracilis angustifrons MB86]
    |                     `--S. putorius FS15
    |                          |--S. p. putorius B75
    |                          |--S. p. ambarvalis J68
    |                          |--S. p. interrupta (Rafinesque 1820) [=Mephitis interrupta] B75
    |                          `--S. p. tropicalis G69
    `--+--Mustelictis olivieri MJ11
       `--+--Ailuridae MJ11
          |    |--Amphictis ambigua SA06, MJ11
          |    `--+--Simocyon batalleri SA06
          |       `--Ailurinae SA06
          |            |--Magerictis imperialensis SA06
          |            `--+--Pristinailurus Wallace & Wang 2004 WW04
          |               |    `--*P. bristoli Wallace & Wang 2004 WW04
          |               `--+--Ailurus fulgens WW04
          |                  |    |--A. f. fulgens R84
          |                  |    `--A. f. styani R84
          |                  `--Parailurus WW04
          |                       |--P. anglicus WW04
          |                       `--P. hungaricus WW04
          `--+--+--Procyonidae MJ11
             |  |--Broiliana WW04
             |  |--Pseudobassaris riggsi MJ11
             |  `--Stromeriella RDT09
             `--+--+--+--Mustelidae MJ11
                |  |  `--Plesiogale RDT09
                |  `--Promartes RDT09
                `--Plesictis Pomel 1846 RDT09, D07
                     |--P. genettoides D07
                     |--P. himilidens D07
                     |--P. mayeri D07
                     `--P. vireti D07

*Type species of generic name indicated


[B75] Bowles, J. B. 1975. Distribution and biogeography of mammals of Iowa. Special Publications, The Museum, Texas Tech University 9: 1–184.

[D07] Dixon, D. 2007. The Complete Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs & Prehistoric Creatures. Hermes House: London.

[DD06] Doty, J. B., & R. C. Dowler. 2006. Denning ecology in sympatric populations of skunks (Spilogale gracilis and Mephitis mephitis) in west-central Texas. Journal of Mammalogy 87 (1): 131–138.

[FS15] Faurby, S., & J.-C. Svenning. 2015. A species-level phylogeny of all extant and late Quaternary extinct mammals using a novel heuristic-hierarchical Bayesian approach. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 84: 14–26.

[FNT88] Flynn, J. J., N. A. Neff & R. H. Tedford. 1988. Phylogeny of the Carnivora. In: Benton, M. J. (ed.) The Phylogeny and Classification of the Tetrapods vol. 2. Mammals pp. 73–116. Clarendon Press: Oxford.

[G69] Goodwin, G. G. 1969. Mammals from the State of Oaxaca, Mexico, in the American Museum of Natural History. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 141 (1): 1–269, 40 pls.

[J68] Johnson, M. L. 1968. Application of blood protein electrophoretic studies to problems in mammalian taxonomy. Systematic Zoology 17 (1): 23–30.

[MB86] Matson, J. O., & R. H. Baker. 1986. Mammals of Zacatecas. Special Publications, Museum of Texas Tech University 24: 1–88.

[MJ11] Meredith, R. W., J. E. Janečka, J. Gatesy, O. A. Ryder, C. A. Fisher, E. C. Teeling, A. Goodbla, E. Eizirik, T. L. L. Simão, T. Stadler, D. L. Rabosky, R. L. Honeycutt, J. J. Flynn, C. M. Ingram, C. Steiner, T. L. Williams, T. J. Robinson, A. Burk-Herrick, M. Westerman, N. A. Ayoub, M. S. Springer & W. J. Murphy. 2011. Impacts of the Cretaceous terrestrial revolution and KPg extinction on mammal diversification. Science 334: 521–524.

[R84] Russell, J. K. 1984. Other procyonids. In: Macdonald, D. (ed.) All the World’s Animals: Carnivores pp. 98–99. Torstar Books Inc.: New York.

[RDT09] Rybczynski, N., M. R. Dawson & R. H. Tedford. 2009. A semi-aquatic Arctic mammalian carnivore from the Miocene epoch and origin of Pinnipedia. Nature 458: 1021–1024.

[SA06] Salesa, M. J., M. Antón, S. Peigné & J. Morales. 2006. Evidence of a false thumb in a fossil carnivore clarifies the evolution of pandas. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 103: 379–382.

[WW04] Wallace, S. C., & X. Wang. 2004. Two new carnivores from an unusual late Tertiary forest biota in eastern North America. Nature 431: 556–559.

Last updated: 7 August 2018.

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