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The vulnerable colombian weasel Mustela felipei (Carnivora): new record from Colombia and a review of its distribution in protected areas


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The Colombian weasel Mustela felipei is considered the rarest Neotropical carnivore only known from four localities in Colombia and one in Ecuador. It is considered Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List along its distributional range. We present an unexpected photographic record of a living specimen from Colombia that shed lights on its distribution on the Western Cordillera of Colombia, where it was previously known from single a record obtained on 1986. This is the first confirmed record of the Colombian weasel during the 21 st century. Finally, we discuss the species' occurrence in protected areas of Colombia, to provide tools for the conservation of this rare species. La comadreja colombiana Mustela felipei es considerada el carnívoro neotropical más raro, solo conocida de cuatro localidades en Colom-bia y una en Ecuador. Se considera Vulnerable en la Lista Roja de la UICN a lo largo de su rango de distribución. Presentamos un registro foto-gráfico inesperado de un espécimen vivo de Colombia que arrojó luces sobre su distribución en la cordillera Occidental de Colombia, donde anteriormente se conocía de un solo registro obtenido en 1986. Este es el primer registro confirmado de la comadreja colombiana durante el siglo 21. Finalmente, discutimos la ocurrencia de la especie en áreas protegidas de Colombia, para proporcionar herramientas para la conser-vación de esta especie rara.
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THERYA, 2019, Vol. 10 (2): 207-210 DOI: 10.12933/therya-19-776 ISSN 2007-3364
The vulnerable colombian weasel Mustela felipei (Carnivora): new
record from Colombia and a review of its distribution in protected
Juan M. de Roux1, Elkin A. Noguera-Urbano2, Héctor E. Ramírez-Chaves3*
1 Ponticia Universidad Javeriana de Cali, Calle 18 # 118-250, Cali. Colombia. Email:
2 Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Biológicos, Alexander von Humboldt. Avenida Paseo Bolívar (Circunvalar) 16-20, Bogotá.
D.C., Colombia. Email:
3 Departamento de Ciencias Biológicas, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad de Caldas, Manizales. Caldas,
Colombia. Email: (HRC)
* Corresponding autor
The Colombian weasel Mustela felipei is considered the rarest Neotropical carnivore only known from four localities in Colombia and one in
Ecuador. It is considered Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List along its distributional range. We present an unexpected photographic record of a
living specimen from Colombia that shed lights on its distribution on the Western Cordillera of Colombia, where it was previously known from
single a record obtained on 1986. This is the rst conrmed record of the Colombian weasel during the 21st century. Finally, we discuss the
species’ occurrence in protected areas of Colombia, to provide tools for the conservation of this rare species.
La comadreja colombiana Mustela felipei es considerada el carnívoro neotropical más raro, solo conocida de cuatro localidades en Colom-
bia y una en Ecuador. Se considera Vulnerable en la Lista Roja de la UICN a lo largo de su rango de distribución. Presentamos un registro foto-
gráco inesperado de un espécimen vivo de Colombia que arrojó luces sobre su distribución en la cordillera Occidental de Colombia, donde
anteriormente se conocía de un solo registro obtenido en 1986. Este es el primer registro conrmado de la comadreja colombiana durante el
siglo 21. Finalmente, discutimos la ocurrencia de la especie en áreas protegidas de Colombia, para proporcionar herramientas para la conser-
vación de esta especie rara.
Keywords Andes; Carnivora; photographs; rarity.
© 2019 Asociación Mexicana de Mastozoología,
The Colombian weasel Mustela felipei (Carnivora: Musteli-
dae) is the smallest of all South American weasels (Ramírez-
Chaves and Patterson 2014). It is considered the rarest car-
nivore of South America based on its restricted distribution
(endemic to the Andes of Colombia and Ecuador), and low
population density (Ramírez-Chaves and Patterson 2014;
Ramírez-Chaves and Torres-Martínez 2016). It is known
from only ve localities and six specimens (Ramírez-Chaves
and Mantilla-Meluk 2009; Ramírez-Chaves and Patterson
2014). Globally, it has been categorized as “Vulnerable
(VU; González-Maya et al. 2016), however, in Colombia, is
listed as ‘Endangered’’ mainly due to its restricted distribu-
tion and the habitat transformation of the areas in which
it has been registered (Mesa-González 2006; MADS 2017).
Little is known on this enigmatic species, with all informa-
tion coming from labels of museum vouchers, the most
recent collected on 1986 (Alberico 1994; Ramírez-Chaves
and Mantilla-Meluk 2009; Ramírez-Chaves et al. 2012;
Ramírez-Chaves and Patterson 2014). Morphological traits
on this rare species has been documented and can be used
to separate from its South American congenerics based on
its small size, short tail, darker coloration, and the presence
of a ventral spot on its chest or neck that is the same color
as the dorsum (Izor and de la Torre 1978; Ramírez-Chaves
and Mantilla-Meluk 2009; Ramírez-Chaves et al. 2014).
The Colombian weasel lacked photographs alive, either in
nature or in captivity (Ramírez-Chaves and Patterson 2014;
Suárez-Castro and Ramírez-Chaves 2015).
Material and methods
We report an unexpected record of a living specimen based
on photographs obtained on February 26, 2011, in the
main house of nca Morobia, located in the km 24 in the
Cali-Buenaventura road (3.544745° N, -76.615324° W, 1,780
masl). El Carmen, Dagua, department of Valle del Cauca,
Colombia. The identication was made based on its small
size, short tail lacking a black tip, darker coloration, and the
presence of a ventral spot on its chest or neck that is the
same color as the dorsum (Izor and de la Torre 1978).
The new locality is placed between the 1,750 and the
1,800 masl across the road from a relic of primary forest
(cloud forest); the climate is very humid and ranges from 10
to 25 °C. This forest extends to the south into the National
Natural Park Farallones de Cali. There is a very small moun-
tain stream that runs across nca Morobia, and it is located
about 100 m south of the main house.
In addition, with the new locality, we estimated the
Extent of Occurrence (EOO) and the Area of Occupancy
(AOO), based on a 2 km cell-width. We also tted an Eco-
logical Niche Model (ENM) using the six localities in Maxent
v 3.4.1 (Phillips et al. 2017). Maxent has been shown to out-
perform other algorithms, including when applied to small
208 THERYA Vol. 10 (2): 207-210
data sets (Elith et al. 2006; Pearson et al. 2007). We dened
our study area as a Minimum Convex Polygon plus a 2.5°
buer, to ensure that Maxent select the bioclimatic data
from ‘background’ pixels from a region in which known
records are more likely to form a representative sample of
the climatic conditions suitable for the species (Anderson
and Raza 2010). Environmental datasets were obtained at
30 seconds (~1 km2) resolution from the WorldClim Version
2 (; Fick and Hijmans 2017),
and to avoid highly-correlated and redundant variables,
correlations between pairs of bioclimatic variables were
assessed using the Variance Ination Factor (VIF>10, Zuur et
al. 2010). The resulting 12 bioclimatic variables were used
to build the ecological niche model (BIO2 = Mean Diurnal
Range, BIO3 = Isothermality, BIO4 = Temperature Season-
ality, BIO5 = Max Temperature of Warmest Month, BIO6 =
Min Temperature of Coldest Month, BIO7 = Temperature
Annual Range, BIO11 = Mean Temperature of Coldest Quar-
ter, BIO13 = Precipitation of Wettest Month, BIO14 = Pre-
cipitation of Driest Month, BIO15 = Precipitation Seasonal-
ity, BIO18 = Precipitation of Warmest Quarter and BIO19 =
Precipitation of Coldest Quarter).
Since our sample sizes is low (six localities), we used
the linear and product features (see Phillips et al. 2006, and
Phillips and Dudík 2008 for recommendations regarding
sample sizes and features usage). We run the delete-one
jackknife modeling approach (Pearson et al. 2007; Shche-
glovitova and Anderson, 2013, called “n − 1 jackknife”), and
we estimated optimal model complexity considering sev-
eral regularization multipliers (0 to 2, by 0.5), using ENMeval
(Muscarella et al. 2014). Logistic output format was used to
describe the probability of presence or suitability (Phillips
and Dudík 2008), this is a continuous suitability map which
range between 0 (unsuitable) and 1 (the most suitable).
Then we applied the minimum training presence threshold
associated with any one of the observed records at the suit-
ability map to obtain a boolean map and representing the
potential distribution of the species. We report the accuracy
of the model using the average of the Area Under the Curve
(AUC > 0.75) of the Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC)
curve based on the test records and considering AIC = 0
(Muscarella et al. 2014).
The new record is based on an individual of M. felipei pho-
tographed by J. M. de Roux, while it was stuck in an out-
side bathroom. Back then, in 2011, the main house was
getting remodeled (the wooden oor was being lifted, and
the roong refurbished). The individual delivered a strong
odour (sort of like urine or musky) as it moved frantically,
looking for a way out. After taking the photographs, J. M.
de Roux left the door open for it to escape. The diagnostic
characters (e. g., the presence of a ventral spot on its chest
or neck, of the same color as the dorsum), are visible in
the photographs (Figure 1) casting no doubt on its correct
Figure 1. The Colombian weasel Mustela felipei alive from nca Morobia, Dagua,
Valle del Cauca, Colombia. Note the diagnostic characters: the dark coloration, short tail
without a black tip, and the presence of a ventral spot on its neck of the same color as the
dorsum. Photograph: J. M de Roux.
This is the second validated record of the species in
Western Cordillera and the rst near a protected area in this
Cordillera (Farallones National Natural Park). The locality is
close to the northernmost record at Alto de Galápagos, on
the limits between the departments of Chocó and Valle del
Cauca (Alberico 1994). With this new locality, the approxi-
mated Extent of Occurrence (EOO) is near to 40,146 km2, of
which 37,238 belong to Colombia. The Area of Occupancy
(AOO) is 24 km2 (based on a 2 km cell-width; Figure 2).
The t model (LQ0) had a very high (0.94) average test
and shows higher probabilities (Figure 1a) of the species
to occur in six departments of Colombia (Caquetá, Cauca,
Huila, Nariño, Risaralda and Valle del Cauca) and four prov-
inces in Ecuador (Carchi, Imbabura, Pichincha and Napo).
The potential distribution indicated that the species can be
found along the Western and Central range of the Colom-
bian Andes from Department of Antioquia to Department
of Nariño (Figure 2b). In Nariño we found an untypical
potential distribution, because there is a clear separation
Figure 2. a) Suitability model of the Colombian weasel Mustela felipei. b) Updated
potential distribution of M. felipei in South America. The star within the circle represents
the new locality in nca Morobia, Valle del Cauca, Colombia. The polygon (black line)
indicates the Extent of Occurrence (EOO) and black stars represent conrmed records. 209
M. de Roux et al.
between the western and the eastern slopes of the Nudo
de los Pastos. According to the model, the potential dis-
tribution of the species extends from Carchi Province to
Chimborazo and Morona Santiago provinces in the Eastern
cordillera of Ecuador.
The distribution of M. felipei has been previously stud-
ied (Burneo et al. 2009; Ramírez-Chaves and Mantilla-
Meluk 2009; Ramírez-Chaves and Patterson 2014), and
there were only five confirmed localities in Colom-
bia and Ecuador (Table 1). Other localities, including
records from Western Cordillera of Colombia (e. g., Avila
et al. 2017) have been proved to be wrong or impossible
to validate (Ramírez-Chaves et al. 2012; Ramírez-Chaves
and Torres-Martínez 2016). However, this record repre-
sents the sixth confirmed locality, and the first time the
Colombian weasel is photographed alive. Based on the
six confirmed localities, the AOO suggest that the spe-
cies should be assessed globally as Endangered (EN), as
is listed in Colombia (Mesa-González 2006).
The complete potential distribution of M. felipei com-
prises 82,659 km2. However, the Andean lands represent
the most impacted ecosystems of Colombia and one of the
most impacted in Ecuador (Harden 2006; Hofstede et al.
2002; Rodríguez Eraso 2013). Therefore, it is probable that
the available natural vegetation for the species is much
lower than the estimate potential distribution. M. felipei has
been only recorded in two protected areas in Colombia (the
rst was the National Natural Park Cueva de Los Guácharos,
in the Western Cordillera; Mesa-González 2006). The distri-
bution model shows a high probability of presence of the
Colombian weasel in a second protected area in the West-
ern Cordillera, the National Natural Park Munchique, which
is close to the locality of the new record, and in the Cen-
tral Cordillera, the Puracé National Natural Park. Two of the
previous records come from localities near to Puracé (Mesa-
González 2006). Although the Colombian weasel has not
been registered at Munchique yet, connectivity between
Farallones and Munchique protected areas is crucial for the
species’ persistence, and the creation of wildlife corridors
might represent an invaluable tool to enhance the eec-
tiveness of conservation strategies for this species.
Finally, this is the rst time that photographs provide
evidence on the presence of this rare carnivore during the
21st century (Table 1). The photographs were rstly avail-
able at the website iNaturalist, showing the relevance of cit-
izen science in providing useful information to the knowl-
edge of poorly known carnivores, as also has been shown
for other species (i. e., Gerstner et al. 2018).
We thank the Vicerrectoría de Investigaciones, Univer-
sidad de Caldas, and Bruce D. Patterson and the Science
and Scholarship Committee of the Field Museum of Natu-
ral History (FMNH), Chicago, for allowing us the access to
the information of specimens at the FMNH and support.
Thanks to BioModelos, an initiative that seeks to improve
the knowledge of the distributions of the species from
Colombia based on expert collaboration.
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... In contrast, other species are rarer and more restricted to particular habitat types. For example, Amazonian Weasel, Neogale africana (Desmarest, 1818), is known only from Amazonian rainforest, and Colombian Weasel, Neogale felipei (Izor & de la Torre, 1978), is known only from the cloud forests of the northern Andes (Ramírez-Chaves and Patterson 2014;Ramírez-Chaves et al. 2014;de Roux et al. 2019). Indeed, N. felipei is the rarest carnivore in South America, with only seven validated records over an elevational range of 1525-2700 m (Ramírez-Chaves and Mantilla-Meluk 2009;de Roux et al. 2019). ...
... For example, Amazonian Weasel, Neogale africana (Desmarest, 1818), is known only from Amazonian rainforest, and Colombian Weasel, Neogale felipei (Izor & de la Torre, 1978), is known only from the cloud forests of the northern Andes (Ramírez-Chaves and Patterson 2014;Ramírez-Chaves et al. 2014;de Roux et al. 2019). Indeed, N. felipei is the rarest carnivore in South America, with only seven validated records over an elevational range of 1525-2700 m (Ramírez-Chaves and Mantilla-Meluk 2009;de Roux et al. 2019). Globally, N. felipei is categorized as Vulnerable (González-Maya et al. 2016), although in Colombia, the species is listed as Endangered due to the restriction of its geographic range by the fragmentation of highland forests, which face pervasive transformation by agricultural activities (Mesa-González 2006). ...
... Globally, N. felipei is categorized as Vulnerable (González-Maya et al. 2016), although in Colombia, the species is listed as Endangered due to the restriction of its geographic range by the fragmentation of highland forests, which face pervasive transformation by agricultural activities (Mesa-González 2006). To date, there are only two records of N. felipei from the Cordillera Occidental (Western Cordillera) of Colombia: (1) Alto Galápagos, near the Chocó-Valle del Cauca border (Alberico 1994), and (2) Finca Morobia, Dagua, in Valle del Cauca (de Roux et al. 2019). Here, we present a range extension of N. felipei in the Cordillera Occidental of Colombia, based on data obtained through a long-term trail camera survey in a private nature reserve of the Department of Antioquia. ...
Full-text available
The Colombian weasel, Neogale felipei (Izor & de la Torre, 1978), is one of the most enigmatic and threatened carni-vores in South America, with only six confirmed records in the Andes of Ecuador and Colombia. During a long-term trail camera survey conducted at Mesenia-Paramillo Natural Reserve, we recorded the northernmost occurrence of the species, which extends its distribution by approximately 120 km to the north from the nearest previously known locality in Colombia. We also provide some comments on its natural history.
... Among its main threats is the deforestation of the Andean ecosystems it inhabits (González-Maya et al. 2016;Mesa-González 2006). Due to the scarce knowledge about the Colombian weasel, it has been suggested that sampling efforts should be intensified to know its current conservation status and possible threats (González-Maya et al. 2016;Mesa-González 2006), as well as clarify basic aspects of its ecology and distribution (Cepeda-Duque et al. 2021;de Roux et al. 2019). The objective of this work is to document a new record of N. felipei in Colombia and add a new threat to its populations. ...
... The specimen was likely active during the day, since one of the authors drove that stretch of highway in the morning and did not detect it, implying that the weasel was active and struck later in the day. The specimen MHN-UCa-M 3752 becomes the ninth record for the species, the third within a protected area, and the second within a national park (Cepeda-Duque et al. 2021;de Roux et al. 2019;Negret et al. 2015;Ramírez-Chaves and Torres-Martínez 2016). Our record also validates the presence of N. felipei within the Puracé National Park as previously suggested distribution models ( (Figure 1), but the presence of the species in the latter ecoregion is unlikely. ...
The Colombian weasel, Neogale felipei , previously included in the genus Mustela , is considered the rarest carnivore in the Neotropics and is known from only eight localities in Colombia and Ecuador. It is currently classified as Vulnerable, but little is known about the direct threats that the species faces. We present a new locality record for N. felipei in the Andes of southwestern Colombia based on a road-killed specimen. The record is relevant because it provides additional information about morphological variation and describe a new threat to its populations that even affects individuals within protected areas such as the Puracé National Park, where the specimen was found.
... Considerando la alta diversidad de aves y las recientes visitas a lugares poco explorados, los cuales siguen aportando novedades a la avifauna colombiana (Carantón-Ayala et al. 2016, Peña Alzate et al. 2020, una posible estrategia para mejorar el conocimiento sobre las aves de Colombia podría ser enfocarse en grupos particulares de especies que presentan dificultad para su identificación. A su vez, la confirmación de registros de observación usando evidencia multimedia es una herramienta complementaria para el aporte al conocimiento de la biodiversidad del país y confirmación de identidades (de Roux et al. 2019, Acevedo-Charry et al. 2020b. En este ejercicio abordamos la pregunta hacia el grupo de los semilleros piquigordos (Sporophila, antes Oryzoborus) de Colombia, haciendoénfasis sobre el estatus en el país de Sporophila atrirostris y S. maximiliani. ...
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Resumen Las especies de semilleros piquigordos ( Sporophila , antes Oryzoborus ) presentan una marcada similitud en su morfología y coloración, lo cual puede dificultar la identificación de las especies en campo. Para este grupo de semilleros, presentamos una revisión de registros que cuentan con evidencia multimedia en Colombia. Recopilamos registros fotográficos de las especies Sporophila funerea , S. angolensis , S. crassirostris y S. atrirostris disponibles en la colección multimedia digital Macaulay Library; la especie con más número de registros fotográficos que no correspondían a la especie reportada fue S. crassirostris , seguida de S. funerea y S. angolensis . Con registros multimedia de los autores, disponibles en Macaulay Library, confirmamos la presencia de S. atrirostris en Colombia; estos registros documentan una ampliación en suámbito de distribución de aproximadamente 108 km, desde el norte de Ecuador en la provincia de Sucumbios hasta la llanura amazónica en el departamento de Putumayo, al sur de Colombia. Finalmente, hacemos un llamado a buscar registros actuales de S. maximiliani en la Orinoquia colombiana debido a evidencia histórica proveniente de especímenes de 1975. Palabras clave : distribución, identificación, morfología, Putumayo, registro fotográfico. Abstract The seed-finch species ( Sporophila , formerly Oryzoborus ) present a marked similarity in their morphology and coloration, making them challenging to identify in the field. For this group of seed-finches, we present a review of records that have multimedia evidence in Colombia. We compiled photographic records of the species Sporophila funerea , S. angolensis , S. crassirostris y S. atrirostris available in the Macaulay Library digital multimedia collection; the species with the highest number of mistaken photographic records was S. crassirostris , followed by S. funerea and S. angolensis . Additionally, we confirmed the presence of S. atrirostris in Colombia, documenting an extension on its distribution range of approximately 108 km, from the north of Ecuador in the Sucumbios province to the Amazon plain in the Putumayo department, southern Colombia. Finally, we call to search for S. maximiliani records in the Orinoquian region of Colombian due to historical evidence base on specimens from 1975.
... Camera traps have been one of the most novel and reliable methods for monitoring terrestrial mammal populations (Karanth et al. 2004), its main advantages are: the low stress generated to the individuals photographed (McCleery et al. 2014;Hobbs and Brehme 2017) and that they enable monitoring elusive species or ones that occur in low densities (Moruzzi et al. 2002), such as the neotropical mustelids (Yensen and Tafira 2003;Hernández-Sánchez et al. 2017;De Roux et al. 2019). Although it is argued that its cost is high, it is more cost-effective in time and money when compared to the intensive field days required to obtain the same observational level (Cutler and Swan 1999;Moruzzi et al. 2002); this is in addition to the recent emergence of increasingly cheaper reliable technologies (Rico-Guevara and Mickley 2017; Droissart et al. 2021). ...
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There is little information about the mating process of Eira barbara (tayra or black cat, as it is known in Panamá), reported only in captivity, by Poglayen-Neuwall (1975). Two camera traps were placed, 220 m apart, within the Altos de Campana National Park, in the border area with the community of El Chileno. The sounds emitted by individuals during the event were analyzed using the PREMIERE PRO-6.0.0 and Raven Pro1.5 software. We describe stages of this process evidenced in a sequence of 8 videos of 10 seconds each, captured by one of our camera traps; we consider the event as a single mount. Both individuals make sounds during the event, which we interpret as frequent clicks 3.19 KHz dominant and 3.23 KHz dominant frequency trills. We compared this event with the one reported in captivity by Poglayen-Neuwall (1975). Both in captivity and in our report, the nuchal grasp and the occasional dragging of the female by the male are observed. We also carried out the first bioacoustics analysis of the mating process of this species. Existe poca información acerca del proceso de apareamiento de Eira barbara (tayra o gato cutarro, como se le conoce en Panamá), repor-tado únicamente en cautiverio, por Poglayen-Neuwall (1975). Se colocaron dos cámaras trampa, separadas 220 m, dentro del Parque Nacional Altos de Campana, en la zona limítrofe con la comunidad de El Chileno. Se analizaron los sonidos emitidos por los individuos durante el evento mediante los programas PREMIERE PRO-6.0.0 y Raven Pro1.5. Describimos etapas de este proceso evidenciado en una secuencia de 8 videos de 10 segundos cada uno, captado por una de nuestras cámaras trampa; consideramos el evento como una sola monta. Ambos individuos hacen sonidos durante el evento, que interpretamos como clics con frecuencia dominante de 3.19 KHz y trinos frecuencia dominante de 3.23 KHz. Comparamos este evento con el reportado en cautiverio por Poglayen-Neuwall (1975). Tanto en cautiverio como en nuestro reporte se obser-va el agarre nucal y el arrastre ocasional de la hembra por parte del macho. También realizamos el primer análisis bioacústico del proceso de apareamiento de esta especie.
... But it has also been used to detect diseases, for example in Rhizophora mangle Linnaeus, 1753 (Rossi 2017). In Colombia, it has been used to report the new presence of a weasel, Neogale felipei Izor & de la Torre, 1978, in the Cordillera Occidental (Roux et al. 2019), and it has added data on the natural history of Coendou rufescens (Gray, 1865) (Ramírez-Chaves et al. 2020) and Toromys rhipidurus (Thomas, 1928) (Lozano-Flórez et al. 2020. iNatualist has increased its use among both citizens and scientists. ...
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We report here the rediscovery of Tipulodes annae Przybyłowicz, 2003 (Erebidae, Arctiinae), which was originally collected in 1924 and has been unseen and not collected in 84 years, until 2008. We also report this species' first record in Panama and additional localities in Colombia using citizen science platforms. This data is useful information for the conservation of this small moth, and it highlights the importance and utility of citizen science platforms in biodiversity research.
... Esta información, acompañada de evidencia multimedia, permite confirmar identidades de especies fácilmente confundibles y conocer más a fondo aspectos de la historia natural de muchas especies . La articulación entre el monitoreo estructurado, la colaboración con científicos locales y la revisión constante de las plataformas de ciencia participativa mejoran el conocimiento de la biodiversidad de muchos grupos en Colombia (de Roux, et al., 2019); esta colaboración es particularmente importante en áreas protegidas y en sus zonas de amortiguación , Linares-Romero, et al., 2020, en donde las observaciones de científicos locales están aportando significativamente al conocimiento y entendimiento de la biota colombiana (Peña Alzate, et al., 2020). Sumado a esto, el apoyo al desarrollo económico local mediante el aprovechamiento sostenible de su biota en actividades como el aviturismo (Ocampo-Peñuela & Winton, 2017; Winton & Ocampo-Peñuela, 2018) abre el camino a una conservación basada en el desarrollo comunitario (Şekercioğlu, 2002). ...
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La frontera sur de Colombia incluye extensos bosques amazónicos con diferentes grupos taxonómicos aún inexplorados. Presentamos una lista de especies de aves registradas entre los ríos Caquetá y Putumayo, o Japurá e Içá, a partir de la recopilación de datos históricos provenientes de especímenes biológicos y muestreos en campo realizados principalmente entre 2015 y 2020. Comparamos la diversidad taxonómica y funcional, así como el interés para el aviturista, en relación con un índice de huella humana que permite clasificar el grado de intervención antrópica. La lista incluye 531 especies distribuidas en 66 familias y 25 órdenes, siendo la familia Tyrannidae la de mayor riqueza. La diversidad taxonómica y el interés para el aviturista disminuyeron con el aumento del índice de huella humana, en tanto que la diversidad funcional no varió tan evidentemente con el grado de intervención humana. El refuerzo de estrategias de monitoreo participativo en las zonas rurales de Colombia puede contribuir al crecimiento económico local y tener alcances regionales de conservación que involucren áreas protegidas y otras zonas de importancia ecosistémica a la espera del establecimiento de programas de conservación participativos.
... In Colombia, citizen science has provided valuable information for the study of rare mammal species (Gerstner et al. 2018;De Roux et al. 2019;Ramírez-Chaves et al. 2020a, b) especially in the Andean Region, which is considered a high global priority for biodiversity conservation (Myers 1998), and one of the most threatened regions of the country as it hosts most of the human population (Quintero-Gallego et al. 2018), and its economic activity relies on the industrial sector and extensive agriculture (Armenteras et al. 2003;Rodríguez Eraso et al. 2013). In these studies, however, the collection of physical vouchers by the local community that might be useful for other studies (e.g., taxonomy, systematics) was not considered, limiting the research scope only to distribution and conservation updates. ...
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The Coffee Region of Colombia is one of the most representative areas of the country due to its cultural appeal. 200 of the 528 mammal species in the country occur in this region. Pre-existing knowledge about the group in this region has been obtained through indirect and direct sampling methods. We present new records of mammals of the “Reserva Forestal Protectora Bosques de la Central Hidroeléctrica de Caldas (CHEC)”, located in the Coffee Region, based on vouchered citizen science records. To accomplish this, we held training workshops on the relevance of information provided by non-invasive vouchers for mammal collections that include bone remains, hairs, skin and other signs that can be found incidentally in the field by park rangers and other staff of the Reserve. In addition, we included photographic and video records of mammals taken by park rangers before and after the training workshops. We added vouchers obtained by the park rangers to the biological collection of the Natural History Museum of the Universidad de Caldas (MHN-UCa). Using this method, we obtained records of 34 mammalian species belonging to 20 families and 11 orders. We highlight the obtention of museum preserved vouchers of the Northern Naked-tailed Armadillo, Cabassous centralis (Miller 1899), and the Cauca Slender Opossum, Marmosops caucae (Thomas 1900), that had limited samples in national collections or had not been previously collected in the study area. With this work, a contribution network with the CHEC reserve staff was established, promoting the inclusion of these agents in the development of scientific research, and showing the relevance of collaborative science in assisting with filling information gaps about medium and large mammals.
The role of private reserves is often underestimated due to their small size and discontinuous distribution. To examine the relevance of small reserves in mammal conservation, with this paper we addressed three objectives: 1) to identify patterns of size, altitude, and distribution of the Colombian private reserves belonging to the Protected Areas National System (SINAP), 2) to examine, as a case study, mammal richness and geographical patterns in twelve reserves, and 3) to identify the contribution of small reserves to Colombian mammal's conservation. To address the first objective, we analyzed size, altitude, and distribution of the SINAP reserves sorted by biogeographic provinces. For the other two objectives, we evaluated the relationship between mammal richness and area, altitude, and connectivity of the twelve small reserves. We found that most of the SINAP reserves are less than 100 ha in size, that they were distributed between 1500 and 2500 m, and that they were in the North Andean province. Together, the twelve reserves harbor 224 species of eleven mammalian orders, with a mean richness of 42.7 species (19 bats, and 23.7 non-volant mammals). We found a positive relationship between both total mammal richness and non-volant mammal richness with reserve area and between non-volant mammal richness and altitude. We also identify those small reserves conserve mainly small-sized species although they might serve as a refuge for medium and large species as well. We highlight those small reserves play a significant role in Colombian mammal's conservation.
Climate has long been recognized as one of the main determinants of the geographical distribution of species. Variations associated with primary productivity in temperature, rainfall, and photoperiod can affect survival and reproduction, affecting the peripheries of geographical distributions. The importance of graphical visualization of these distributions lies in conservation, management, and environmental research. With respect to the South American species of mustelids, 37% are threatened according to the IUCN Red List, and the limits of distributions and their determinants are poorly known for the majority of species. Here, complete and updated databases and maps of geographical and temporal distribution are presented for the 12 species of mustelids inhabiting South America. Museum specimens and recorded localities were gathered based on an online search. Geographic limits of distributions were assessed, as were environmental values for all localities. Comparison with IUCN maps was undertaken to determine the need for updating. Finally, sympatry and syntopy among species analyzed were examined using Geographic Information Systems. The most complete and updated database of geographic distributions of South American mustelids to date was assembled for all species, encompassing 9,826 localities. New areas with recorded localities not present in IUCN maps were documented in many species, indicating the need to update current maps for conservation efforts. Areas of sympatry and syntopy were found among many species, indicating that patterns of coexistence between them are not well known. This study will serve as a framework for ensuing efforts in species distribution modeling, conservation decisions, and field studies, among others.
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Privately protected areas with voluntary forest protection are promoted as an innovative solution for biodiversity conservation across the globe, particularly in regions where high biological diversity is threatened by agricultural expansion and human disturbance such as the tropical Andes. Colombia alone has over 2000 privately protected areas, but how well private reserves achieve conservation goals is largely unknown. To understand the attributes of reserves that determine success and the types of species conserved, we evaluated regional diversity of medium and large mammals with camera trapping over two years in the western Andes of Colombia. We examined how mammal occupancy was influenced by the size and land use of privately protected areas, landscape-scale variables, and anthropogenic disturbance. We used a multi-species hierarchical framework to assess responses of species and functional groups to environmental covariates. We found that forest in this reserve network retains a diverse mammal assemblage, but low occurrence and restricted species distributions suggest high vulnerability. Forest-restricted species and large species had higher occupancy in larger sites and sites with a higher proportion of forest, regardless of whether a site was designated as a reserve. However, landscape-level measures of connectivity and human disturbance were the strongest predictors of occupancy. Our research indicates that conservation of biodiversity within reserve networks in the Andes will be effective only if these efforts are linked to landscape-level conservation initiatives that conserve large areas of native forest and limit human disturbance across the landscape.
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Understanding a species’ distributional limits is a necessary step for developing conservation priorities. The olinguito (Procyonidae: Bassaricyon neblina) is a recently described, medium-sized carnivoran found in Northern Andean cloud forests. Here, we provide revised distributional estimates for this species using current ecological niche modeling methods (using Maxent and bioclimatic variables), taking into account sampling bias and using updated locality information including 9 photo-vouchered citizen science records that increased the original data set by 60%. Optimal models were selected via 2 approaches: Akaike’s Information Criterion corrected for small sample size (AICc) and performance on withheld data. The AICc-optimal model aligned more closely with current knowledge of the species’ elevational limits. This model improves on the previously modeled distribution map for the species, especially in terms of elevational discrimination in the Central Cordillera of Colombia, where high mountain peaks are considered unsuitable. Compared with the original map, the revised map suggests more extensive suitable area in northern Colombia, possibly due to the inclusion of new citizen science records, and highlights 6 priority areas for future sampling that have no olinguito records: the northern portion of the Western Cordillera of Colombia, southern portion of the Western Cordillera of Colombia, western slopes of the Andes in southwestern Colombia, both versants of the middle portion of the Central Cordillera of Colombia, western slopes of the Andes in central and southern Ecuador, and eastern slopes of the Andes in Ecuador. This study improves knowledge of the olinguito’s range, increases our understanding of this species’ natural and taxonomic history, and provides an example of modeling the distributions of poorly known species with small sample sizes.
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We created a new dataset of spatially interpolated monthly climate data for global land areas at a very high spatial resolution (approximately 1 km 2). We included monthly temperature (minimum, maximum and average), precipitation, solar radiation, vapour pressure and wind speed, aggregated across a target temporal range of 1970–2000, using data from between 9000 and 60 000 weather stations. Weather station data were interpolated using thin-plate splines with covariates including elevation, distance to the coast and three satellite-derived covariates: maximum and minimum land surface temperature as well as cloud cover, obtained with the MODIS satellite platform. Interpolation was done for 23 regions of varying size depending on station density. Satellite data improved prediction accuracy for temperature variables 5–15% (0.07–0.17 ∘ C), particularly for areas with a low station density, although prediction error remained high in such regions for all climate variables. Contributions of satellite covariates were mostly negligible for the other variables, although their importance varied by region. In contrast to the common approach to use a single model formulation for the entire world, we constructed the final product by selecting the best performing model for each region and variable. Global cross-validation correlations were ≥ 0.99 for temperature and humidity, 0.86 for precipitation and 0.76 for wind speed. The fact that most of our climate surface estimates were only marginally improved by use of satellite covariates highlights the importance having a dense, high-quality network of climate station data.
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This software note announces a new open-source release of the Maxent software for modeling species distributions from occurrence records and environmental data, and describes a new R package for fitting such models. The new release (Version 3.4.0) will be hosted online by the American Museum of Natural History, along with future versions. It contains small functional changes, most notably use of a complementary log-log (cloglog) transform to produce an estimate of occurrence probability. The cloglog transform derives from the recently-published interpretation of Maxent as an inhomogeneous Poisson process (IPP), giving it a stronger theoretical justification than the logistic transform which it replaces by default. In addition, the new R package, maxnet, fits Maxent models using the glmnet package for regularized generalized linear models. We discuss the implications of the IPP formulation in terms of model inputs and outputs, treating occurrence records as points rather than grid cells and interpreting the exponential Maxent model (raw output) as as an estimate of relative abundance. With these two open-source developments, we invite others to freely use and contribute to the software. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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La Comadreja Colombiana (Mustela felipei) es quizás la especie de carnívoro más rara de Sudamérica (Schreiber et al. 1989), debido al escaso número de registros conocidos y validados (Ramírez-Chaves et al. 2012, Ramírez-Chaves & Patterson 2014). La especie puede incluirse en la categoría C de rareza, de acuerdo a Arita et al. (1990), debido a que presenta distribución restringida y bajas densidades poblacionales. Aunque se ha mencionado que existen al menos 10 localidades de registros (Emmons & Helgen 2008, Burneo et al. 2009), también se ha demostrado que muchas de ellas carecen de soporte (RamírezChaves & Mantilla-Meluk 2009, Ramírez-Chaves et al. 2012), debido a estas circunstancias se ha hecho un llamado a la prudencia cuando se trata de presentar registros sobre la especie (Ramírez-Chaves et al. 2012).
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El orden Carnivora constituye uno de los grupos de fauna que más ha llamado la atención del hombre. A través de la historia, las comunidades humanas se han beneficiado de estos mamíferos en varios sentidos. Muchas especies han sido cazadas con fines medicinales, de consumo, de vestido, o para ser mantenidas como mascotas. Ecológicamente, los carnívoros ocupan los niveles más altos de las cadenas tróficas y juegan un papel importante en el control de poblaciones de vertebrados. Además, al ser considerados especies carismáticas, los carnívoros juegan un papel importante como objetivo central de programas de conservación de vida silvestre. Sin embargo, a pesar de su gran importancia económica, ecológica y cultural, y a que ocupan todos los ecosistemas del país, el conocimiento sobre la ecología y taxonomía de este grupo de fauna es escaso y en algunos casos no confiable o verificable. Adicionalmente, en muchas ocasiones el acceso a la información es limitado o se presenta en un lenguaje complejo para la comunidad en general. Esta situación dificulta la integración de datos que favorezcan la implementación de planes de manejo y conservación en proyectos de investigación y consultoría. Ante esta problemática, uno de los primeros pasos consiste en recopilar información que permita sentar bases para el diseño de investigaciones, planes de manejo o programas educativos pertinentes con las necesidades del campo y el manejo de la biodiversidad. La guía “Los carnívoros terrestres y semiacuáticos continentales de Colombia” quiere postularse como una herramienta que pueda ser utilizada por todos aquellos involucrados en el uso, el manejo y la conservación de estos mamíferos. A través de un formato de fichas técnicas, la publicación incluye información sobre las características morfológicas, ecológicas y de distribución para 28 especies del orden registradas en el país. Además, se sintetizan algunos datos de los ejemplares depositados en la colección de mastozoología del Instituto de Ciencias Naturales de la Universidad Nacional de Colombia (ICN), un patrimonio científico de incalculable valor para el entendimiento de la diversidad biológica y cultural nacional. Este ejercicio de investigación y divulgación contó con el apoyo de la Dirección de Bienestar Universitario de la Universidad Nacional de Colombia, la cual incentiva la realización de proyectos que promuevan la difusión de actividades estudiantiles de carácter social, académico y cultural. Cada día se incrementa el número de personas que se vinculan al mundo de la mastozoología a través de investigaciones, actividades de consultoría, espacios académicos o por interés personal. En este sentido, la guía constituye una herramienta no solo para los mastozoólogos del país, sino para todos aquellos involucrados en el uso, el manejo y la conservación de este grupo de fauna en el Neotrópico. Esperamos que este trabajo sirva de ejemplo no solo sobre la importancia de las colecciones biológicas como fuente de información, sino también como puente entre la academia, los grupos estudiantiles y los actores involucrados en el uso y manejo de nuestra biodiversidad. Andrés Felipe Suárez Cástro Editor
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Mustela africana Desmarest, 1818, is a mustelid commonly called the tropical or Amazon weasel and is South America's largest weasel. It has dark pelage with little variation in color on the dorsum; the venter is pale colored with a dark medial longitudinal stripe, matching the color of the dorsum. The species is endemic to the Amazon Basin. Known from about 30 records over 2 centuries from different localities of Brazil, Ecuador, and Peru, it may be one of the rarest carnivores in South America. Globally, it is considered ''Least Concern'' by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.
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Recent studies have demonstrated a need for increased rigor in building and evaluating ecological niche models (ENMs) based on presence-only occurrence data. Two major goals are to balance goodness-of-fit with model complexity (e.g., by “tuning” model settings), and to evaluate models with spatially independent data. These issues are especially critical for datasets suffering from sampling bias, and for studies that require transferring models across space or time (e.g., responses to climate change or spread of invasive species). Efficient implementation of procedures to accomplish these goals, however, requires automation. We developed ENMeval, an R package that: (1) creates datasets for k-fold cross validation using one of several methods for partitioning occurrence data (including options for spatially independent partitions), (2) builds a series of candidate models using Maxent with a variety of user-defined settings, and (3) provides multiple evaluation metrics to aid in selecting optimal model settings. The six methods for partitioning data are: n-1 jackknife, random k-folds (= bins), user-specified folds, and three methods of masked geographically structured folds. ENMeval quantifies six evaluation metrics: the area under the curve of the receiver operating characteristic plot for test localities (AUCTEST), the difference between training and testing AUC (AUCDIFF), two different threshold-based omission rates for test localities, and the Akaike Information Criterion corrected for small sample sizes (AICc). We demonstrate ENMeval by tuning model settings for eight tree species of the genus Coccoloba in Puerto Rico based on AICc. Evaluation metrics varied substantially across model settings, and models selected with AICc differed from default ones. In summary, ENMeval facilitates the production of better ENMs and should promote future methodological research on many outstanding issues.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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Mustela felipei Izor and de la Torre, 1978, is a mustelid commonly called the Colombian or Don Felipe’s weasel and is South America’s smallest weasel. It is also the darkest weasel in South America, with little variation in dorsal coloration; the venter is cream-colored with an oval spot the same color as the dorsum. The species is endemic to the Andes. Known from 6 specimens and 5 localities in Colombia and Ecuador, it may be the rarest carnivore in South America. Globally, it is considered “Vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, although in Colombia it is considered “Endangered.”
A new species of Mustela, subgenus Grammogale, is described. It is characterized by dark, uniform dorsal coloration, reduced anterior premolars, and a wide mesopterygoid fossa. a range extension is recorded for Mustela africana, and an overall evolutionary scheme for the three Neotropical species of Mustela is proposed.