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name for carnivorous, largely arboreal mammals (genus Martes) of the weaselweasel,
name for certain small, lithe, carnivorous mammals of the family Mustelidae (weasel family). Members of this family are generally characterized by long bodies and necks, short legs, small rounded ears, and medium to long tails.
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 family, widely distributed in North America, Europe, and central Asia. Martens are larger, heavier-bodied animals than weasels, with thick fur and bushy tails. Members of most species are brown above and light-colored below. The American marten, Martes americana, also called American pine marten and American, or Hudson Bay, sable, is from 20 to 25 in. (51–64 cm) long, including the 7- to 8-in. (18- to 20-cm) tail, and has yellow-brown fur. It lives in coniferous forests from Alaska to the extreme N United States, extending south in western mountain ranges. It is mostly nocturnal and spends much of the time in trees, where it leaps from branch to branch, although it also forages on the ground; it makes its den in a hollow tree or log. Its diet consists chiefly of small animals, especially red squirrels (Tamiasciurus), but it also eats berries and nuts. The other North American species, M. pennanti, is called fisherfisher,
name of a large North American marten, Martes pennanti. This carnivorous, largely arboreal mammal is found in hardwood forests of Canada, the extreme N United States, and mountain ranges of the W United States.
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; both are valued for their fur. Similar to the American marten are the European pine marten, M. martes, and the stone, or beech, marten, M. foina, of Europe and central Asia. The stone marten is grayish. The Siberian sablesable,
species of marten, Martes zibellina, found in Siberia, N European Russia, and N Finland. This carnivorous mammal is highly valued for its thick, soft fur, which is dark brown or black, sometimes with white underparts and sometimes flecked with silver.
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, M. zibellina, is a marten species that produces extremely valuable fur. The yellow-throated martens, M. flavigula of E Asia and M. gwatkinsi of S Asia, are patterned in shades of brown, yellow, and orange. Martens are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Carnivora, family Mustelidae.



any one predatory mammal of the genus Martes of the family Mustelidae. The body length is 40 to 80 cm. The trunk is elongated and flexible, and the tail is long (20–50 cm) and sometimes bushy. The fur, which is very soft and fluffy, is predominantly reddish brown and brown. There are six or eight species, distributed in Europe, Asia, and North America. Four species are found in the USSR. The European, or pine, marten (Martes martes) is found in the forest and forest-steppe zones of Europe, in the Caucasus, in the Urals, and in the southern part of Western Siberia. The stone marten (M. foina) inhabits the mountains and some plains of Europe and of Southwest, Middle, and Central Asia. The sable (M. zibellina) is found in the northern Cisural region, Siberia, and the Far East. The yellow-throated marten (M. flavigula) inhabits the Amur region and the Primor’e.

Martens live predominantly in forests. Only the stone marten is encountered in open areas, usually on mountains and often in populated places. Martens feed on small rodents, birds, nuts, berries, and fruits. They climb well and are nocturnal. Breeding occurs in July and August; the gestation period is 236 to 274 days. The hybrid of the sable and pine marten is called the kidas. Martens, particularly the sable, are commercially valuable for their fur.


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.


(vertebrate zoology)
Any of seven species of carnivores of the genus Martes in the family Mustelidae which resemble the weasel but are larger and of a semiarboreal habit.


1. any of several agile arboreal musteline mammals of the genus Martes, of Europe, Asia, and North America, having bushy tails and golden brown to blackish fur
2. the highly valued fur of these animals, esp that of M. americana
References in periodicals archive ?
Colonization history of the sable Martes zibellina (Mammalia, Carnivora) on the marginal peninsula and islands of northeastern Eurasia.
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