Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: South Dakota
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

South Dakota Project

Distribution, habitat selection, and survival of plains spotted skunks in South Dakota

January 2020 - June 2024


Participating Agencies

  • South Dakota Game, Fish, & Parks

The plains spotted skunk (Spilogale interrupta), is a recently recognized species and has been petitioned for listing under the Endangered Species Act. Long-term harvest trends, and anecdotal evidence, suggest widespread population declines of spotted skunks across their range with notable declines in the Great Plains region Although a mechanistic driver of these declines has not been identified, current hypotheses attribute habitat loss (via agricultural production), intraguild competition, and disease as major factors. Key gaps in in knowledge for plains spotted skunks highlight the critical need for research into their population demographics. Our project objectives are to delineate the distribution of plains spotted skunks in South Dakota, quantify ecological and biological correlates with habitat selection by plains spotted skunks, and estimate survival rates of plains spotted skunks in South Dakota. Our study is a collaboration between the USGS Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units, South Dakota State University, and the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks.

Research Publications Publication Date
White, K. M., J. D. Stafford, and R. C. Lonsinger. 2023 The first documented interaction between a long-tailed weasel (Mustela frenata) and a plains spotted skunk (Spilogale interrupta) carcass. Ecology and Evolution 13(1):e9758. DOI: 10.1002/ece3.9758. | Abstract | Download January 2023
Presentations Presentation Date
White, K.M., J. Stafford, A. Cheeseman, and R.C. Lonsinger. 2022. Predicted distribution of plains spotted skunk in eastern South Dakota. The Wildlife Society Annual Meeting, Spokane, WA November 2022