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Concept: Marten


Monitoring of fur-bearing species populations is relatively rare due to their low densities. In addition to catch data, trappers' experience provides information on the ecology and status of the harvested species. Fisher (Pekania pennanti) and American marten (Martes americana) are mustelids that are sensitive to forest management and therefore considered to be ecological indicators of forest health. Fisher populations have increased in eastern North America since the early 2000s and this could have resulted in a northeastern extension of the species' range and increased overlap with marten’s range. Moreover, habitats of both species are subject to natural and anthropogenic disturbances. The objective of this study was to document the knowledge held by local trappers in the northern area of sympatry between fisher and marten to identify factors that could explain variation in populations of the two species and interactions between them.

Concepts: Mustelidae, Marten, Mustelinae, Martens, American Marten, Mammals of Canada, Sable, Newfoundland Pine Marten


Abstract The complete mitogenome sequence of Martes flavigula, which is an endangered and endemic species in South Korea, was determined. The genome is 16,533 bp in length and its gene arrangement pattern, gene content, and gene organization is identical to those of martens. The control region was located between the tRNAPro and tRNAPhe genes and is 1087 bp in length. This mitogenome sequence data might be an important role in the preservation of genetic resources by allowing researchers to conduct phylogenetic and systematic analyses of Mustelidae.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Biology, Organism, Horizontal gene transfer, Mustelidae, Carnivora, Marten


Pacific martens (Martes caurina humboldtensis) in coastal forests of Oregon and northern California in the United States are rare and geographically isolated, prompting a petition for listing under the Endangered Species Act. If listed, regulations have the potential to influence land-use decisions on public and private lands, but no estimates of population size, density, or viability of remnant marten populations are available for evaluating their conservation status. We used GPS and VHF telemetry and spatial mark-resight to estimate home ranges, density, and population size of Pacific martens in the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, central coast Oregon, USA. We then estimated population viability at differing levels of human-caused mortality (e.g., vehicle mortality). Marten home ranges were small on average (females = 0.8 km2, males 1.5 km2) and density (1.13 martens/1 km2) was the highest reported for North American populations (M. caurina, M. americana). We estimated 71 adult martens (95% CRI [41-87]) across two subpopulations separated by a large barrier (Umpqua River). Using population viability analysis, extinction risk for a subpopulation of 30 martens, approximately the size of the subpopulation south of the Umpqua River, ranged from 32% to 99% with two or three annual human-caused mortalities within 30 years. Absent population expansion, limiting human-caused mortalities will likely have the greatest conservation impact.

Concepts: Demography, Population, Population ecology, United States, Endangered species, Approximation, Oregon Coast, Marten


Arboreal locomotion imposes selective pressures that may affect the evolution of the locomotor apparatus. The limbs have to be mobile to reach across discontinuities, yet at the same time need to be forceful to move against gravity during climbing. However, as intermediaries between the arboreal and terrestrial environment, semi-arboreal mammals appear not extremely specialized and, thus, anatomical adaptations may be less evident than expected for arboreal climbers. Here, we present quantitative data on the muscle anatomy of the forelimbs (N = 14) of two closely related species of Mustelidae and relate the findings to their locomotor habits. The arboreal pine marten (Martes martes) and the more terrestrial stone marten (Martes foina) are the most similar sympatric carnivores in Europe, but distinctly differ in habitat selection and locomotor mode. Via dissections muscle architectural variables including muscle mass, pennation angle, and fiber length were measured and the physiological cross-sectional area and maximum isometric force were estimated for each muscle. The results reveal that the force-generating capacity of the limb flexor and retractor muscles and the excursion capability of the adductor muscles are greater in the pine marten compared to the stone marten. Since the two sympatric martens are very similar in terms of overall appearance, body size, intra-limb proportions, phylogenetic relationships and predation behavior, the differences in forelimb musculature are interpreted to reflect the greater climbing ability of the pine marten. The functional properties appear to facilitate locomotion in a three-dimensionally complex arboreal environment. Anat Rec, 301:449-472, 2018. © 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Concepts: Muscle, Muscle contraction, Muscular system, Locomotion, Carnivora, Marten, Martens, Beech Marten


Carnivores usually act as definitive hosts of Sarcocystis species. However, the number of reports on sarcocyst formation in musculature of predators is on the increase. In the present study, muscle samples of 68 mustelids collected in Lithuania were examined for sarcocysts of Sarcocystis species. Sarcocysts were detected in diaphragm, tongue and limb muscles of ten animals (14.7%) but were not discovered in the heart. Based on 18S rDNA, 28S rDNA, cox1 and ITS1 sequence analysis, Sarcocystis lutrae was identified in three American minks (Neovison vison), two beech martens (Martes foina), three Eurasian badgers (Meles meles), one Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra) and one European polecat (Mustela putorius). The intraspecific variability of this Sarcocystis species was determined only in ITS1 region. Based on the phylogenetic analysis, no clear separation of S. lutrae by intermediate hosts or geographical locations was established. This paper represents the first identification of S. lutrae in the American mink, the beech marten and the European polecat. Current results indicate that S. lutrae is a common species in the muscles of various European mustelids.

Concepts: Mustelidae, Carnivora, Mammals of Europe, Mammals of Asia, Marten, Mustelinae, Weasel, European Mink


Species of the genus Hepatozoon (Adeleorina: Hepatozoidae) are arthropod-transmitted protozoan parasites that infect a wide range of vertebrate hosts. In the present study, we describe a new species of Hepatozoon primarily infecting martens and propose the name Hepatozoon martis n. sp., based on its unique morphological, molecular and pathogenic features. The overall prevalence of infection with H. martis n. sp. assessed by PCR in European pine martens (Martes martes) from Bosnia and Herzegovina and stone martens (Martes foina) from Croatia was 100% and 64%, respectively. Gamonts were found in neutrophils and monocytes, and various developmental stages were described in tissue cross-sections. Hepatozoon martis n. sp. shows a high predilection for muscle tissue, and the heart was the most frequently affected organ among the tissues tested by histopathology. Microscopically, pyogranulomatous lesions associated with the presence of the parasitic forms were observed in the cardiac and skeletal muscles of all positive animals examined. Furthermore, the possible existence of alternative, non-vectorial routes of transmission is discussed.

Concepts: Immune system, Inflammation, Bacteria, Heart, Muscle, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mustelidae, Marten


We studied the food habits of the Japanese marten (Martes melampus) and the raccoon dog (Nyctereutes procionoides) at the Tama Forest Science Garden, western Tokyo, Japan by fecal analysis in 2014/15. Martens were dependent on fruits throughout the year and showed less marked seasonal changes. Raccoon dogs were less dependent on fruits than martens were, and more dependent on mammals in spring, insects in summer and winter, and seeds throughout the year. Martens fed on more fruits containing tiny seeds, such as Actinidia arguta and Stachyurus praecox, whereas raccoon dogs fed on more large-seeded fruits, such as Ginkgo biloba and Diospyros kaki. Martens fed on more fruits that grew at the forest edges, whereas raccoon dogs fed on more fruits growing inside the forest.

Concepts: Ginkgo biloba, Canidae, Carnivora, Marten, Japanese Marten, Martens, Nyctereutes


Population genetic diversity and structure are determined by past and current evolutionary processes, among which spatially limited dispersal, genetic drift, and shifts in species distribution boundaries have major effects. In most wildlife species, environmental modifications by humans often lead to contraction of species' ranges and/or limit their dispersal by acting as environmental barriers. However, in species well adapted to anthropogenic habitat or open landscapes, human induced environmental changes may facilitate dispersal and range expansions. In this study, we analysed whether isolation by distance and deforestation, among other environmental features, promotes or restricts dispersal and expansion in stone marten (Martes foina) populations.

Concepts: Biodiversity, Evolution, Biology, Population, Population genetics, Charles Darwin, Marten, Beech Marten


When anticoagulant rodenticides (ARs) are used to control rodent populations there is also a widespread secondary exposure of non-target predators to ARs. To reduce secondary exposure, regulatory restrictions in AR usage were tightened in Denmark in 2011. The restrictions included the cessation of AR use for plant protection and any use away from buildings, as well as limitations in private consumers' access to ARs. To quantify and evaluate the efficiency of the regulatory measures to reduce secondary exposure, we analysed ARs in liver tissue from 40 stone martens (Martes foina) and 40 polecats (Mustela putorius) collected before and 31 stone martens and 29 polecats collected after the restrictions were imposed. No declines in the prevalence ARs were detected following the regulatory restrictions in either stone marten (Before: 98%, After: 100%) or polecat (Before: 93%, After: 97%). The total AR concentration was higher in stone martens than in polecats in both sampling periods. Between the two sampling periods, the total AR concentrations in the mustelids increased (P<0.001). The increase was significant for stone marten (Before: 419ng/g ww, After: 1116ng/g ww, P<0.001), but not for polecat (Before: 170ng/g ww, After: 339ng/g ww). Overall, the total AR concentration was positively correlated to the urban area and the area used for Christmas tree production in which ARs were regularly used before 2011. The regulatory restrictions in AR usage did not reduce exposure of non-target stone martens and polecats. The temporal and spatial patterns of AR concentrations in predators indicate that chemical rodent control in and around buildings is the dominant source for the exposure of non-target predators in intensively human-dominated landscapes in Denmark. The results suggest that non-chemical methods for rodents control at buildings are necessary to prevent widespread secondary AR exposure of predators in human modified landscapes.

Concepts: Mustelidae, Carnivora, Mammals of Europe, Marten, Mustelinae, Martens, Weasel, Beech Marten


It is common to use multiple field sampling methods when implementing wildlife surveys to compare method efficacy or cost-efficiency, integrate distinct pieces of information provided by separate methods, or evaluate method-specific biases and misclassification error. Existing models that combine information from multiple field methods or sampling devices permit rigorous comparison of method-specific detection parameters, enable estimation of additional parameters such as false-positive detection probability, and improve occurrence or abundance estimates, but with the assumption that the separate sampling methods produce detections independently of one another. This assumption is tenuous if methods are paired or deployed in close proximity simultaneously, a common practice that reduces the additional effort required to implement multiple methods and reduces the risk that differences between method-specific detection parameters are confounded by other environmental factors. We develop occupancy and spatial capture-recapture models that permit covariance between the detections produced by different methods, use simulation to compare estimator performance of the new models to models assuming independence, and provide an empirical application based upon American marten (Martes americana) surveys using paired remote cameras, hair-catches, and snow tracking. Simulation results indicate existing models that assume that methods independently detect organisms produce biased parameter estimates and substantially understate estimate uncertainty when this assumption is violated, while our reformulated models are robust to either methodological independence or covariance. Empirical results suggested that remote-cameras and snow-tracking had comparable probability of detecting present martens, but that snow-tracking also produced false-positive marten detections that could potentially substantially bias distribution estimates if not corrected for. Remote cameras detected marten individuals more readily than passive hair-catches. Inability to photographically distinguish individual sex did not appear to induce negative bias in camera density estimates; instead, hair-catches appeared to produce detection competition between individuals that may have been a source of negative bias. Our model reformulations broaden the range of circumstances in which analyses incorporating multiple sources of information can be robustly used, and our empirical results demonstrate that using multiple field-methods can enhance inferences regarding ecological parameters of interest and improve understanding of how reliably survey methods sample these parameters. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Concepts: Detection theory, Marten, Martens, Newfoundland Pine Marten