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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 ?
Inspired by this historical example recounted by the geographer Strabo, Pitford believes that ferrets and other mustelids are also the solution to New Zealand's rabbit problem.
Mustelid tracks measuring >5 cm in length with a bounding stride >81 cm were considered to be those of Fisher.
Morphologically the large mustelid from the Lukeino Formation accords better with this new species than with P.
Whether other mustelids (e.g., weasels, badgers, and ferrets) or even humans in close contact with infected mink are susceptible to this virus merits further study.
Thus taking one of these unique and abundant mustelids was an exciting event that generated some income to the concession in turn adding impetus to the management of such species.
However, very little is known about the biology of these small mustelids in the Arctic.
These species included Plesiosorex donroosai (5), an insectivore, the rodents Umbogaulus galushai, and Megasminthus gladiofex (3), the mustelids Brachypsalis sp.
They are, in fact, mustelids, related to stoats, polecats, otters and badgers.
Winter distribution and abundance of mustelids and beavers in the river valleys of Bialowieza Primeval Forest.