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Related to Ursidae: Odobenidae, Phocidae, Mephitidae


(vertebrate zoology)
A family of mammals in the order Carnivora including the bears and their allies.



a family of mammals of the order Carnivora. The head is elongated, the muzzle is massive, and the eyes and ears are small. The limbs are powerful and have digits; the walk is plantigrade. The claws are large and nonretractile. The tail is short. The body is heavily built, measuring up to 3 m long. The weight varies from 60 kg (sun bear) to more than 700 kg (polar bear). Thus, ursids are the largest living predators. The coat is dense, with a developed undercoat, and is relatively coarse. The color ranges from coal black to lemon white; some species have a light patch on the chest. The incisors and canines are large. The premolars are small and partially reduced, and the molars are massive and flattened. The sense of smell is highly developed, but vision and hearing are poor.

There are four (or seven) modern genera with seven (or nine) species: the spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus), which inhabits the mountainous regions of South America; the sun, or Malay, bear (Ursus [Helarctos] malayanus), the sloth bear (Melursusur-sinus), and the Asiatic black, or moon, bear (Ursus thibetanus), all of which are in Southeast Asia; the American black bear (Ursus americanus), which is distributed in North America; the Eurasian brown bear (Ursus arctos), which lives in northwestern Africa, in Eurasia, and in North America; and the polar bear (Ursus maritimus), which is distributed in the arctic.

Ursids live under the most diverse conditions, ranging from deserts to high mountains and from tropical forests to arctic ice floes. Consequently, their mode of life and eating habits differ. The Asiatic black bear, the American black bear, and the sun bear are good tree climbers and feed on various tree fruits. The sloth bear tears apart termite nests with its claws. The polar bear primarily hunts seals. The Eurasian brown bear lives under a variety of conditions. It inhabits steppes, deserts, subtropical forests, taigas, tundras, and seacoasts. It feeds on both animals and plants. In the fall it finds a den, where it spends the winter in deep sleep.

Ursids become sexually mature in the third or fourth year of life; they do not mate every year. The gestation period is seven months, and a single litter consists of one to five young. The life expectancy ranges from 30 to 40 years. Bear meat is edible; the fat and bile are used in medicine, and the hide is used to make rugs. Most commonly hunted is the Eurasian brown bear. The numbers and range of distribution of all ursids have been reduced sharply in the 20th century. In some countries the animals are protected by law, as for example, the polar bear in the USSR.

Fossil remains of ursids have been found in Middle Miocene deposits of Eurasia (genus Ursavus). The highest number of species (and genera) existed in Eurasia and North America during the Pliocene epoch. Best known are the cave bears, which lived in the Pleistocene epoch in Eurasia. Many ursids (six-seven genera) became extinct during the Anthropogenic period.

Some zoologists include the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleucd) among the ursids. Others regard them as a separate family or as part of the family Procyonidae (raccoons).


Zhiznzhivotnykh. Vol. 5, Moscow 1941; vol. 6, Moscow, 1971.
Mlekopitaiushchie Sovetskogo Soiuza, vol. 2, part 1. Edited by V. G.Geptner and N. P. Naumov. Moscow, 1967.
Belyi medved’ i ego okhrana v Sovetskoi Arktike. Leningrad, 1969.


References in periodicals archive ?
The genera Ballusia and Ursavus have been herein considered as Ursidae incertaea sedis until a more detailed revision of both of them (especially Ursavus) will be carried out (Abella, research in progress).
Ursidae with derived dentition that tends to reduce both the number and complexity of the premolars; we can also observe a distal elongation of the masticatory surface of the molars.
Orden Familia IU CN 2008 DS 034 CITES 2010 Cingulata Myrmecophagidae Myrmecophaga tridactyla VU II Primates Cebidae Saguinus fuscicollis II Aotus azarae II Cebus apella II Saimiri boliviensis II Pitheciidae Callicebus aureipalatii II Atelidae Alouatta sara II Ateles chamek EN VU II Lagothrix cana EN VU II Rodentia Cuniculidae Cuniculus paca III Carnivora Felidae Leopardus pardalis I Puma concolor I Ursidae Tremarctos ornatus VU EN I Perissodactyla Tapiridae Tapirus terrestris VU VU II Cetartiodactyla Tayassuidae Pecari tajacu II Tayassu pecari II
El oso de anteojos u oso andino (Tremarctos ornatus), unico representante de la familia Ursidae que habita en America del Sur, se distribuye desde Venezuela hasta Bolivia y en diversos habitats y altitudes (Figueroa y Stucchi, 2003).
These results may indicate any member of the Ursidae, including grizzly (Ursus horribilis) or black bear (Ursus americanus), or may indicate multiple uses for the tool.
Geoffroy Yahuarundi, eira, postari, Saint-Hilaire, 432 1803) 433 Panthera onca (Linnaeus, 1758) Jaguar, otorongo, uturuncu, puagkat, jenocri Canidae 434 Atelocynus microtis (Sclater, Zorro negro orejicorto, perro de 1883) monte, monte allgo 435 Chrysocyon brachyurus Lobo de crin (Illiger, 1815) 436 Lycalopex culpaeus (Molina, Zorro colorado, atoj 1782) 437 Lycalopex griseus (Gray 1837) Zorro gris, chilla 438 Lycalopex sechurae Thomas, Zorro de Sechura, juancito 1900 439 Speothos venaticus (Lund, Perro de monte, perro de bosque, 1842) zorro vinagre, mashiti Ursidae 440 Tremarctos ornatus (F.
Nandiinidae, Felidae, Prionodontidae, Viverridae, Hyaenidae, Herpestidae, Eupleridae, Canidae, Ursidae, Procyonidae, Mephitidae y Mustelidae), mas dos listas de bibliografia, una general y otra referida a descripciones cientificas.
apella Machin negro Jaanch' Lagothrix lagothricha Chorongo Chuu Pithecia monachus Parahuaco comun Sepur Saimiri sciureus Barizo Tseem CARNIVORA Canidae Atelocynus microtis Perro de orejas Ikam yawa cortas Ursidae Tremarctos ornatus Oso de anteojos Chai Procyonidae Bassaricyon alleni Olingo amazonico Kuji Nasua nasua Cuchucho Kuin Potos flavus Cusumbo Kuji Procyon cancrivorus Mapache Kushikshi Mustelidae Conepatus semistriatus Zorrillo Papash Eira barbara Cabeza de mate Amich Galictis vittata Perro de agua Suach yawa Lontra longicaudis Nutria neotropical Uyuu Mustela africana Comadreja Kujamchana amazonica Felidae Herpailurus yaguarondi Yaguarundi Tuicham Leopardus pardalis Ocelote Yantana L.
El oso andino (Tremarctos ornatus Cuvier 1825) es la unica especie de la familia Ursidae en Sudamerica.
Puebla also possesses five of the six families of terrestrial carnivores in Mexico, missing only the Ursidae.