June, 3, 2013
Alison Barrett, Ed. D.
Food Web Diagram Paper
Small Indian Mongoose
The small indian mongoose, or Herpestes javanicus, is a species introduced by sugar planters in 1883, as they “imported the small Indian mongoose from Jamaica to four Hawaiian islands, Hawai‘i, O‘ahu, Maui, and Kaua‘I”, (Hays & Contant, 2007, p. 3) with the hopes this specie would aid in controlling invasive rat and snake populations within this ecosystem. This organism was selected for its predatory nature since the species introduced to the region have shown, in both males and females studied, that their canines or predatory teeth, have shown expansive growth in diameter when compared to their counterparts introduced in other regions (Carlson, Asner, Hughes, Ostertag, & Martin, 2007, p. 2091). The majority of small indian mongooses can be identified physically by their brown fur, which is known to tuft outward when approached by a threat, increasing their suggested appearance to almost twice their size in most instances.
The main organ structure for Herpestes javanicus, which is quite similar to a cat, includes the brain, esophagus, heart, lungs, digestive system comprised of a stomach, small and large intestines, appendix-like caecum, kidney, anal pouch, and the reproductive system noting differences in not only reproductive physiology, but also adrenal gland differences among male and female mongooses (Nellis, 1989, pp. 2-3). The brain contains unique acetylcholine receptors, which have evolved in such a fashion that most mongooses are immune from most venomous snake’s neurotoxins, citing a paramount environmental adaptation. The esophageal tube connects to the lungs and top of the stomach quite similarly to most other land mammals, providing clear passage for both vital breathing and digestive functions. The heart consists of pericardium, valves, chambers, aorta and large vessels (Association of Zoos & Aquariums: AZA Small Carnivore Taxon Advisory Group & AZA Animal Welfare Committee, 2005, p. 100) and the rate of a resting yet restrained mongoose is 252 beats per minute which yields an amazing “output volume of 334 ml/kg of body mass and an aortic blood pressure of 114 mm Hg (Nellis, 1989, p. 3). The mongoose’s digestive system is capable of masticating and processing an array of small vertebrates within its ecosystem, such as small reptiles of varying sorts, rodents, even smaller insects such as snails and worms, but is also considered an omnivore, capable of ingesting fruits such as guava and tubers (Dunham, Hutchins, Evans, Jackson, Kleiman, Murphy, Thoney, & et., 2004, p. 351). The kidney is unilobular with a single papilla which is capable of “maintain[ing] higher concentration-gradients…hence achieve higher urine concentrations than possible for more typical kidneys of similar dimensions” (Nellis, 1989, p. 2). The mongoose is a predatory creature by nature, but its capability to digest what it kills in such a rapid and aggressive fashion makes it an agile, terrestrial specie. Not only will they attack their prey fearlessly, but “animals in the wild may live until their teeth are worn beyond the gum line with no apparent adverse influence on their health” (Nellis, 1989, p. 3). Additionally, the anal pouch is able to emit chemicals that may “constitute individual signatures and indicate reproductive condition, sex, and/or dominance rank” (Dunham, Hutchins, Evans, Jackson, Kleiman, Murphy, Thoney, & et. al, 2004, p. 351).
The male reproductive system consists of testes, penis, and accessory sex glands. The female reproductive system consists of ovaries, oviducts, uterus, cervix, vagina, and mammary glands. Both are capable of polyestric mating with litter yield ranging from one to six, although full sexual maturity is reached at two years, there have been documented instances where the Herpestes javanicus has reproduced as soon as 10 weeks (Dunham, Hutchins, Evans, Jackson, Kleiman,