Skunk (Family Mephitidae)

 

Skunks are mammals best known for their ability to secrete a liquid
with a strong, foul-smelling odor. General appearance ranges from
species to species, from black-and-white to brown or cream colored.
Skunks belong to Family Mephitidae and to Order Carnivora.


There are 10 species of skunks, which are divided into four genera:
Mephitis (hooded and striped skunks, two species), Spilogale (spotted
skunks, two species), Mydaus (stink badgers, two species), and
Conepatus (hog-nosed skunks, four species). The two skunk species
in the Mydaus Genus inhabit Indonesia and the Philippines; all other
skunks inhabit the Americas from Canada to central South America.

 

Skunks were formerly classified as a subfamily within the family
Mustelidae, which includes ferrets, weasels, otters, badgers, and
relatives. However, recent genetic evidence suggests that the skunks
are not as closely related to the mustelids as previously thought; they
are now classified in their own family.

 

 

Back to Inventory of Mammal Families and Species

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