Nasua narica yucatanica
General Zoological Data
"There is only one species of coati, Nasua nasua " (Simpson, 1980). Nowak (1999), however, accepted two species of coatis, the more northern species Nasua narica and the more southern South American species, Nasua nasua. Several subspecies have been alluded to as well, as far instance the species considered here that comes from Mexico. More southern South American coatis are a darker red than the browner northern animals. All have white noses, a feature often referred to. As the name suggests, the animal is characterized by its long, flexible nose and has a long, striped tail held upright most of the time. Coatis extend from Arizona (where they have become uncommon now) to Argentina and prefer wooded areas. They frequent trees, are mostly frugivorous but also hunt small insects, pray on eggs and some rodents. Beisiegel (2001) described the structure and behavior of coatis in Southern Brazil and related their preference for bromeliads. Adult coatis weigh up to 6 kg, while newborns are 100 g or more. Jones (1982) described their longevity as being at least 17 + years. The name "coatimundi" derives from the Tupi Indian name of this species (Gotch, 1979). Many zoos exhibit and breed coatimundis. Timock & Vaughan (2002) made a census of Cebus, coati and armadillo in the Punta Leona Refuge of Costa Rica and suggested from the data the population density. They sighted 148 cebus monkeys, 46 coatis and 8 nine-banded armadillos among some minor numbers of other species. Gompper et al. (1998) used multilocus DNA fingerprints to study the philopatry of coatis; females are more philopatric than males and close relationships exist in specific bands of animals. In a detailed study of mtDNA by Zhang & Ryder (1993) it was found that the lesser panda has no close relationship to either bears or procyonids; also, that the procyonids diverged from one another early although grouping together amongst the carnivores.
General Gestational Data
The length of gestation is 10-11 weeks (67-73 days) (Nowak, 1999) and produces between 2 and 7 young that weigh between 100 and 180 g. The placenta of the coatimundi is very similar to that of the raccoon that was well described by Watson (1881 ) and by Vacek (1951), but that publication was not accessible to me. It is zonary and, when delivered, it has an ovoid shape. In 1986 I had access to one full term coatimundi placenta that was still attached to a male neonate weighing 98 g. Its CR length was 12 cm and the tail measured 10.5 cm. This male neonate died from cryptosporidiosis. The placenta was ovoid and measured 5 x 2 cm. At one pole the placenta had a distinct yellow discoloration that is seen histologically as being represented by yellow crystalline deposits and appears to be the remains of the so-called haemophagous organ.
The Coatimundi also has a zonary placenta with central attachment of the short umbilical cord. The microscopic structure of the exchange organ is labyrinthine. The interface is primarily endothelio-chorial. Mossman (1987) also makes reference to large central hematomas. While the placenta I observed is bets described as having been "oval", it had originally doubtless been zonary and the yellow discoloration seen at one end is very much most likely the remains of the former haemophagous organ. It conforms in all respects to that described for the remnants of the haemophagous organ of the raccoon. Moreover, the histologic appearance is identical. Regrettably, it was detached from the uterus and the endometrium could thus not be observed.
Details of fetal/maternal barrier
The feto-maternal barrier of Nasua is essentially the same as that of Procyon. In early gestation it would appear that the region of the haemophagous organ has a hemochorial relationship. The labyrinth is identical to that of the raccoon. There is a relatively small amount of villous connective tissue that is covered by trophoblast which, in many areas has a syncytial quality. Other regions are more cuboidal, and projections of fetal capillaries into the trophoblast are focally evident. The presenting maternal surface is largely the cuboidal, and prominent, endothelium of its vascular channels. I have not seen a closer contact between mother and fetus in the sections I possess. Beneath the chorion, the trophoblast is much more cylindrical as will be seen in the photographs below. In the central areas (towards the maternal surface) foci of concentrations of syncytiotrophoblast are present without a clear relationship to exchange function.
The umbilical cord of this specimen was 7 cm long, much longer than the length given by Starck (1957) which was given as 0.5 cm. It had no spirals and possessed three blood vessels. The surface was smooth and had no areas of squamous metaplasia. Watson (1881) described a very much shorter umbilical cord to exist in the raccoon gestation but no other information is available at this time. There have been no considerations of the length or type of cords in the many placental specimens described by Biggers and Creed.
Trophoblast external to barrier
No endometrium was available, but from what is known of raccoon placentation, trophoblast invasion does not occur.
No special features are known to me.
Watson (1881) described the ovary of the raccoon as being lobulated and encircled by the Fallopian tube but lacking a bursa. This is contrary to the observation of Mossman & Duke (1973) who described a complete bursa.
Coatimundis have 38 chromosomes as shown below (from, Hsu & Benirschke, 1970). A variety of other studies cited there have confirmed this karyotype. Wurster-Hill & Gray (1975) have studied other procyonids (all 2n=38) with Giemsa banding and found structural differences among them but they also remarked at the great similarity of some chromosomes to those of felidae. Hybrids have not been described. Zhang & Ryder (1993) examined the mitochondrial DNA sequence evolution of many carnivora and found that lesser pandas were distinct from procyonids and that, as a group, the procyonids separated from each other early in their evolution. Both species (N. narica and N. nasua) have the same chromosomes (see Hsu & Arrighi, 1966; Todd et al., 1966; Panzetta & Alaimo, 1967; Wurster & Benirschke, 1968). A “marker chromosome” with secondary constriction is present in all and is very similar in structure. In general, the karyotype is not very different from that of Felidae; but serologically these families are not closely related as relevant studies showed in the past (Leone & Wiens, 1956; Pauly & Wolfe, 1957).
Costa et al. (1995) studied the delayed hypersensitivity reaction to paracoccidioidin in captive arboreal vs. terrestrial animals of Brazil ; they found the former to have a much lower reactivity (22 vs. 83%).
Chittick et al. (2001) described pyometra and an endometrial carcinoma in a coati that had been implanted with melengestrol acetate for 4.5 years.
Other remarks - What additional Information is needed?
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