Tres Marias raccoon

Tres Marias raccoon

Tres Marias raccoon


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Procyon lotor insularis

The Tres Marias raccoon (Procyon lotor insularis ) is a subspecies of the common raccoon endemic on the two main islands of the Islas Marías, an archipelago off the western coast of the Mexican state of Nayarit. Although sometimes considered to be a valid species, the Tres Marias raccoon is now regarded to be a subspecies of the common raccoon, introduced to the Islas Marías in the recent past. It is slightly larger than the common raccoon and has a distinctive angular skull. There are fewer than 250 mature individuals on the islands, they are hunted by the islanders and the International Union for Conservation of Nature has rated their conservation status as being "endangered".


The average body length of five adult males, including the tail, was stated as 84.1 cm (33.1 in) by Edward William Nelson in 1898. Three mounted specimens, which were between 84.0 and 90.4 cm (33.1 and 35.6 in) long, were measured in 2005. Samuel I. Zeveloff calls the Tres Marias raccoon large compared to an average sized common raccoon, so that it is not an example of insular dwarfism. The coat of the Tres Marias raccoon is pale and short and on its underparts only a few guard hairs cover the light brown ground hairs. The most distinctive feature compared to other subspecies is its angular skull. Another feature different from that of the Northern raccoon is that it has narrow molars.




In 1996, the Tres Marias raccoon was classified as endangered by the IUCN since less than 250 mature individuals were living in the wild. The subspecies Procyon insularis vicinus endemic on María Magdalena is assumed to be extinct. Since only two mounted specimens exist in museums, it will probably never be known whether it is taxonomically distinct from the subspecies endemic on María Madre. The Tres Marias raccoon is hunted by the islanders and no conservation efforts have been made to protect the species from extinction. Considering its small range, the Tres Marias raccoon was most likely never numerous, like the four other island raccoons (Cozumel raccoon, Bahamian raccoon, Guadeloupe raccoon and the extinct Barbados raccoon).


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