Date of this Version
Berentsen, A.R., W.C. Pitt, and R.T. Sugihara. 2018. Ecology of the small Indian mongoose (Herpestes auropunctatus) in North America. pgs. 251-267. In: W.C. Pitt, J.C. Beasley, and G.W Witmer, editors. Ecology and Management of terrestrial vertebrate invasive species in the United States. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL. 403 pp.
The small Indian mongoose (Herpestes auropunctatus) is a diurnal opportunistic omnivore native to parts of the Middle East, India, and Asia (Corbet and Hill 1992; Lekagul and McNeely 1977; Veron et al. 2007). Much of what is known about the species comes from records of populations where they were introduced to control rodents on sugarcane plantations (predominantly the Caribbean Islands and Hawaii) rather than their native range (Horst et al. 2001). In published research, the introduced mongoose is alternately, and often synonymously, identied as H. auropunctatus or H. javanicus. However, research by Veron et al. (2007) suggests that H. auropunctatus and H. javanicus are distinct taxa with unique biogeographic ranges: H. auropunctatus from the Middle East to Myanmar and H. javanicus from Myanmar and east, throughout Southeast Asia. Myanmar represents the eastern and western limits of H. auropunctatus and H. javanicus, respectively (Veron et al. 2007). Given documentation by Espeut (1882) that the mongoose’s introduced to the Caribbean, and later Hawaii, originated from Calcutta, India, it is now generally accepted that the mongoose species introduced to North America is H. auropunctatus.