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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 ?
This region was historically home to a diverse group of carnivores such as the Caspian tiger (Panthera tigris virgata), the Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica) gray wolf (Canis lupus), striped hyena (Hyaena hyaena), brown bear (Ursus arctos), Anatolian leopard (Panthera pardus tulliana), Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx), caracal (Felis caracal), Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra), golden jackal (Canis aureus), red fox (Vulpes vulpes), European wildcat (Felis silvestris caucasica), pine marten (Marres martes) and other smaller mustelid species (BPPC and EEII 2002).
While odor production serves for intraspecific communication, a mustelid odor can be detrimental to predators when prey populations are low.
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.
Archaeological Phase Species 1a 16 2 3a Domestic mammals Sheep/Goat 76 293 401 61 (Sheep) -- (24) (41) (3) (Goat) (3) (5) (3) (1) Cattle 20 108 158 37 Horse -- 8 24 3 Camel -- -- 1 -- Dog -- 4 6 1 Wild mammals Red deer (Cervus elaphus) 4 14 8 6 Red deer, antler -- 1 -- 2 Goitered gazelle (Gazella -- 1 -- -- subgutturosa) Argali (Ovis ammon) -- -- 1 1 Siberian Ibex (Capra sibirica) 1 1 -- 2 Wild pig (Sus scrofa) -- -- 2 2 Fox (Vulpes vulpes) -- 3 10 1 Mustelid (Mustela spec.
This mustelid was considered rare in Panama, where it has been documented from the provinces of Colon, Panama, Bocas del Toro, and Darien (Handley, 1966).
Back in 1175 even King Henry II appointed a King's otter hunter,charged with hunting the mustelid with hounds for its skins,and to protect royal fish stocks.
Small mustelids frequently inhabit the ancient stone graves, and the sites' bone records may to some extent reflect their diet.
Several other Mustelids also have the word ferret in their common names, including an endangered species, the Black-footed Ferret.
Weasels and other mustelids are known to hunt primarily by sound (Gillingham, 1986; King and Powell, 2007).
Nest predators at our sites are unknown, as failed nests or kill sites often had little sign to interpret, but we assume canids, hawks and owls, mustelids, and small mammals are likely predators (Robinson 1980, Boag and Schroeder 1992).
Sometimes the movements of species directly reverse the logic of planned acclimatisation: insofar as mustelids were introduced to combat the rabbit population, Guthrie-Smith finds it ironic 'that the weasel should have arrived on the station before the rabbit [.
These species included Plesiosorex donroosai (5), an insectivore, the rodents Umbogaulus galushai, and Megasminthus gladiofex (3), the mustelids Brachypsalis sp.