Visual Acuity in the Striped Skunk (Mephitis mephitis)

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Abstract

The visual acuity of striped skunks (Mephitis mephitis) was tested using a 2 alternative forced-choice task with square wave gratings. Skunks were reinforced with food items for touching a ball in front of a striped stimulus when paired with a ball in front of a solid gray stimulus. Skunks demonstrated a maximum visual acuity of 0.42 cycles per degree when tested with bright outdoor illumination. This poor visual acuity may be due to their nocturnal lifestyle, lack of predation, and is consistent with their preferential use of smell and sound during foraging.

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