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a family of small or medium-sized predatory mammals. The fur is thick and fluffy, with a fine, soft undercoat. These animals generally have an elongated and flexible body and a bushy tail. The claws are not retractile, and in many species the digits are webbed. Special anal glands release a fetid secretion. Mustelids are distributed throughout the world except for Australia, the antarctic, Madagascar, Iceland, and some small islands. There are five subfamilies, with 28 or 30 genera. Sixteen species, making up eight genera, are found in the USSR.

Short-tailed, or snow, weasels (Mustela nivalis), polecats, and martens—all of the subfamily Mustelinae—are active predators. Feeding primarily on mammals and birds, they have molars with sharp cutting ridges. These species are terrestrial, and some are good tree-climbers. Badgers of the subfamily Melinae have digits with strong claws adapted for digging burrows. Feeding on animal and vegetable food, they have molars with broad, flat crowns that serve for grinding food. The common otter and the sea otter, which are both of the subfamily Lutrinae, are aquatic mammals, with well-developed swimming webs. These otters feed on fish, mollusks, and other aquatic animals.

Almost all mustelids are commercially valued for their fur (especially sable and sea otter).


Ognev, S. I. Zveri SSSR i prilezhashchikh stran. (Zveri Vostochnoi Evropy i severnoi Azii), vol. 2. Moscow-Leningrad, 1931.
Mlekopitaiushchie Sovetskogo Soiuza, vol. 2, part 1. Edited by V. G. Geptner and N. P. Naumov. Moscow, 1967.
References in periodicals archive ?
The European pine marten (Martes martes), a mustelid weighing up to 2.
While odor production serves for intraspecific communication, a mustelid odor can be detrimental to predators when prey populations are low.
javanicus introduction are there native or introduced herpestids, viverrids, or mustelids.
However, we believe that these mustelid populations are currently far below pre-1900 levels and these dramatic population decreases occurred during the 1940s and 1950s because of the introduction and widespread use of pesticides.
Reproductive investment under fluctuating predation risk: microtine rodents and small mustelids.
For example, mustelids are said to be strongly affected by the Vallesian Crisis, losing up to twenty species.
9% of the carnivores have a monograph: 28% of the monographs corresponds to mustelids (29 species), 26% to canids (28 species), 12% to felines (13 species), and 10% to herpestids (11 species).
It is possible that porcupines may have been responding to the strength of the odor cue: urine, being water based, may have a weaker odor than the oil-based musk produced by mustelids, or may have faded more quickly in the field.
The lack of studies on litter size variation in mustelid predators is an obvious gap in empirical knowledge, since their role is central in the Fennoscandian vole cycles (Hanski et al.
Specialist mustelid predators, most notably the least weasel (Mustela nivalis), are the dominant small-rodent predators in a number of communities where rodents fluctuate cyclically.
002); therefore, we used the proportion of weasel prints in April to represent small mustelid abundance during the grouse breeding season.
The River Otter (Lontra canadensis) is a large aquatic mustelid endemic to North America north of Mexico (Melquist and others 2003).