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Martes zibellina (Carnivora: Mustelidae)

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Martes zibellina (Linnaeus, 1758) is a mustelid commonly called the sable. It is a widespread Siberian species that inhabits a spectrum of localities in the mountain and plain taiga, and also coniferous and deciduous forests in 6 countries. Main resources and largest part of its distribution area are located in Russia. M. zibellina is common in many zoos of large cities and breeding populations are maintained in fur farms in the Russian Federation, Finland, and probably other countries. M. zibellina is comparatively well studied, primarily because of its value as a furbearer. The number of individuals is estimated in the range of 1.1–1.3 million and recent estimates of annual production (after 2000) are 300,000–400,000 pelts from the wild. Annual sales at auctions from fur farms are about 10,000–20,000 pelts.
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Martes zibellina (Carnivora: Mustelidae)
VLADIMIR G. MONAKHOV
Institute of Plant & Animal Ecology of Russian Academy of Sciences, 202, 8th Marta Street, Ekaterinburg, Russia, 620144;
mon@ipae.uran.ru
Abstract: Martes zibellina (Linnaeus, 1758) is a mustelid commonly called the sable. It is a widespread Siberian species that
inhabits a spectrum of localities in the mountain and plain taiga, and also coniferous and deciduous forests in 6 countries.
Main resources and largest part of its distribution area are located in Russia. M. zibellina is common in many zoos of large
cities and breeding populations are maintained in fur farms in the Russian Federation, Finland, and probably other countries.
M. zibellina is comparatively well studied, primarily because of its value as a furbearer. The number of individuals is estimated
in the range of 1.1–1.3 million and recent estimates of annual production (after 2000) are 300,000–400,000 pelts from the wild.
Annual sales at auctions from fur farms are about 10,000–20,000 pelts.
Key words: China, furbearer, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Mongolia, mustelid,
Russia, taiga dweller
E26 May 2011 American Society of Mammalogists
Synonymies completed 1 January 2011
DOI: 10.1644/876.1 www.mammalogy.org
Martes Pinel, 1792
Mustela Linnaeus, 1758:45. Part.
Martes Frisch, 1775:11. Unavailable name (International
Commission on Zoological Nomenclature 1954).
Martes Pinel, 1792:55. Type species Martes domestica Pinel,
1792 (5Mustela foina Erxleben, 1777), by original
designation.
Zibellina Kaup, 1829:31, 34. Type species Mustela zibellina
Linnaeus, 1758, by Linnaean tautonomy.
Mustela Blasius, 1857:8. No type specimen mentioned; said
to contain Mustela martes and Mustela foina.
Pekania Gray, 1865:107. Type species Martes pennanti:
Gray, 1865 (5Mustela pennanti Erxleben, 1777), by
monotypy.
Foina Gray, 1865:108. Type species Martes foina: Gray, 1865
(5Mustela foina Erxleben, 1777), by monotypy.
Charronia Gray, 1865:108. Type species Martes flavigula:Gray,
1865 (5Mustela flavigula Boddaert, 1785), by monotypy.
Lamprogale Ognev, 1928:26. Replacement name for Char-
ronia Gray, 1865; preoccupied by Charonia Gistel, 1848,
a mollusc genus.
CONTEXT AND CONTENT. Order Carnivora, family Mustelidae,
subfamily Mustelinae, tribe Mustelini, genus Martes.Martes has
8 extant species (Anderson 1970; Wozencraft 2005). Anderson
(1970) recognized 3 subgenera: Pekania (pennanti), Charronia
(flavigula and gwatkinsii), and Martes (americana,foina,martes,
melampus,andzibellina). The following key to 8 living species is
derived from characters described in Anderson (1970). Characters
Fig. 1.—Adult female Martes zibellina from Yakutia, Russia. Used
with permission of the photographer E. S. Zakharov.
MAMMALIAN SPECIES 43(876):75–86
6 and 7 were modified from Novikov (1956) and Gorner and
Hackethal (1988).
1. Species present in North America ....... ........ ........ .. 2
Species not present in North America ........ ........ .... 3
2. Total length ,700 mm; tail ,300 mm; condylobasal
length: male ,90 mm, female ,82 mm ........
................................................................M. americana
Total length .700 mm; tail .300 mm; condylobasal
length: male .90 mm, female .82 mm M. pennanti
3. Total length .800 mm; tail .300 mm; condylobasal
length: male .93 mm, female .85 mm ............ 4
Total length ,800 mm; tail ,300 mm; condylobasal
length: male ,93 mm, female ,85 mm ............ 5
4. General coloration from dark brown to black.
Distributed in forests of southern India M. gwatkinsii
General coloration yellow-brown, hind legs and tail
dark brown. Distributed in forests of southeast
Asia, except southern India ........ ....... M. flavigula
5. General coloration sandy, fawn, or yellow-brown;
darker on legs, belly, and tail. Distributed in Japan
and Korea ... ... ........ ........ ........... .... M. melampus
General coloration ranging from light brown to
nearly black, frequently with light bib (5throat
patch). Distributed in Eurasian mountains and
forests including Sakhalin Island and Hokkaido
Island ... ........ ........... ........ ........ ... ................ .. 6
6. Tail is short, not more than one-half body length;
small, indistinct bib, frequently absent; forehead
lighter than back; distance between bullae #one-
half their length ......... ........... ........ .... M. zibellina
Tail .one-half body length; light, clear-cut bib;
forehead has same coloration as back, distance
between bullae .one-half their length ........ ....... 7
7. Bib is clear white, L-shaped; tail 250–320 mm; finger-
pads are slightly furred; tip of nose flesh-colored
or reddish; oral edge of palatine arch without,
or negligible, outgrowth; length of inner lobe of
M1 ,70% of its width; distance between mental
foramina ,length of lower canine (see Anderson
1970:8, 12) ......... ........ ........ ........... ....... M. foina
Bib commonly yellow or orange, I-shaped; tail
220–260 mm, finger-pads are densely furred; tip
of nose black; oral edge of palatine arch with clear
outgrowth; length of inner lobe of M1 .70% of its
width; distance between mental foramina .length
of lower canine (see Anderson 1970:8, 12) .......
......................................................................M. martes
Martes zibellina (Linnaeus, 1758)
Sable
Mustela zibellina Linnaeus, 1758:45. Type locality ‘‘asia
septentrionali,’’ restricted by Thomas (1911) to ‘‘N.
Asia;’’ further restricted by Ognev (1931:562) to
‘‘Tobol’skaya gub. v ee severnoi chasti’’ [‘‘northern part
of Tobol’sk Province’’] [Russia].
M[ustela]. melampus Wagner, 1840:229. Type locality
‘‘Japan.’’
Mustela brachyura Temminck, 1844:33. Type locality
‘‘Japan and Kuriles.’’
Mustela zibellina var. asiatica (Brandt, 1855:6, 23). No type
locality specified.
M[ustela]. zibellina var. alba (Brandt, 1855:14). No type
locality specified.
M[ustela]. zibellina var. fusco-flavences (Brandt, 1855:14).
No type locality specified.
M[ustela]. zibellina var. ochracea seu ferruginea (Brandt,
1855:14). No type locality specified.
M[ustela]. zibellina var. maculata (Brandt, 1855:14). No type
locality specified.
Mustela zibellina var. asiatica rupestris (Brandt, 1855:14).
No type locality specified.
Mustela zibellina var. asiatica sylvestris (Brandt, 1855:14).
No type locality specified.
Mustela zibellina var. kamtschatica (Dybowski, 1922:349).
Nomen nudum.
Mustela zibellina var. baicalensis (Dybowski, 1922:349).
Nomen nudum.
Mustela zibellina var. amurensis (Dybowski, 1922:349).
Nomen nudum.
Martes zibellina: Ognev, 1925:276. First use of current name
combination.
Martes zibellina coreensis Kishida, 1927a:130. Type locality
‘‘Corean peninsula.’’
Martes zibellina hamgyenensis Kishida, 1927b:509. Type
locality ‘‘Corean peninsula.’’
Martes zibellina tungussensis Kuznetsov, 1941:116. Type
locality ‘‘Nizhnaya Tunguska river,’’ Mid-Siberia.
Martes zibellina arsenjevi Kuznetsov, 1941:122. Nomen
nudum.
Martes zibellina schantaricus Kuznetsov, 1941:122. Nomen
nudum.
Martes zibellina averini Bashanov, 1943:53, Type locality
‘‘Southern Altai (Katon-Karagai district of East-
Kazakhstan oblast).’’
Martes zibellina arsenjevi Bobrinskii, Kuznetsov, and Ku-
zyakin, 1944:120. Type locality ‘‘Ussuri River basin.’’
Martes zibellina schantaricus Bobrinskii, Kuznetsov, and
Kuzyakin, 1944:120. Type locality ‘‘Shantar Isle, lower
basin of Amur River.’’
Martes zibellina altaica Jurgenson, 1947:179. Type locality
‘‘Altai mountains (Oyrotski oblast).’’
Martes zibellina tomensis Timofeev and Nadeev, 1955:37.
Type locality ‘‘Kuznetsky Alatau, Tom River.’’
Martes zibellina angarensis Timofeev and Nadeev, 1955:41.
Type locality ‘‘Angarra River, Boguchanski district of
Krasnoyarsk region.’’
76 MAMMALIAN SPECIES 43(876)—Martes zibellina
Martes zibellina ilimpiensis Timofeev and Nadeev, 1955:44.
Type locality ‘‘Kochechui and Kotui Rivers.’’
Martes zibellina vitimensis Timofeev and Nadeev, 1955:47.
Type locality ‘‘Vitim and Mama Rivers.’’
Martes zibellina obscura Timofeev and Nadeev, 1955:47.
Type locality ‘‘Chikoi River, Selenga Basin.’’
Martes zibellina jakutensis Novikov, 1956:185. Type locality
‘‘Aldan and Kurchum Rivers’’ (after Kuznetsov 1941).
Martes zibellina linkouensis Ma and Wu, 1981:196. Type
locality ‘‘Linkou, Heilungjiang province’’ (northeastern
China).
Martes zibellina jurgensoni Pavlinov and Rossolimo,
1987:63. Type locality ‘‘South-West Altai.’’
CONTEXT AND CONTENT. Context as for genus. Anywhere
from 2 to 30 subspecies of Martes zibellina have been
recognized (2 [Birula 1922, 4 [Monakhov 1976], 7 [Aristov
and Baryshnikov 2001; Pavlinov and Rossolimo 1979], 17
[Heptner et al. 1967; Wozencraft 2005], and 30 [Ları
´viere
and Jennings 2009]). A revision of subspecies taxonomy is
needed but this may prove difficult because the species is
quite variable across its range and many introductions and
reintroductions occurred throughout most of the species’
range in Russia during the 1900s in efforts to restore the
population (Abramov and Wozencraft 2008; Heptner et al.
1967; Ları
´viere and Jennings 2009; Monakhov and Bakeyev
1981). Some beginning efforts have been made to clarify
subspecific structure (Balmysheva and Solovenchuk 1999;
Hosoda et al. 1997; Monakhov 2001b; Monakhov and
Ranyuk 2010) but more work needs to be done. Wozencraft
(2005) recognized the following 17 subspecies:
M. z. angarensis Timofeev and Nadeev, 1955:41. See above.
M. z. arsenjevi Bobrinskii, Kuznetsov, and Kuzyakin,
1944:120. See above.
M. z. averini Bashanov, 1943:13. See above; altaica Jurgeson
and jurgensoni Pavlinov and Rossolimo are synonyms.
M. z. brachyura Temmink, 1844:33. See above.
M. z. ilimpiensis Timofeev and Nadeev, 1955:44. See above.
M. z. jakutensis Novikov, 1956:185. See above.
M. z. kamtschadalica (Birula, 1918:82). Type locality
‘‘Kamchatka;’’ kamtschatica (Dybowski) is a synonym.
M. z. linkouensis Ma and Wu, 1981:196. See above.
M. z. obscura Timofeev and Nadeev, 1955:47. See above.
M. z. princeps (Birula, 1922:08). Type locality ‘‘Bargusin
Mountains, Transbaikalia;’’ baicalensis (Dybowski) and
vitimensis (Timofeev and Nadeev) are synonyms.
M. z. sahalinensis Ognev, 1925:279. Type locality ‘‘Sahalin,
Vedernikovo [5Saghalien, Wedernikovo].’’
M. z. sajanensis Ognev, 1925:278. Type locality ‘‘Orsyba
River, northern part of the Sajansky Mountains.’’
M. z. schantaricus Bobrinskii, Kuznetsov, and Kuzyakin,
1944:120. See above.
M. z. tomensis Timofeev and Nadeev, 1955:37. See above.
M. z. tungussensis Kuznetsov, 1941:116. See above.
M. z. yeniseensis Ognev, 1925:277. Type locality ‘‘Krasno-
jarsk district, the forests of the plain along Yenisei
River.’’
M. z. zibellina Linnaeus, 1758:45. See above; alba (Brandt),
asiatica (Brandt), fusco-flavescens (Brandt), maculata
(Brandt), ochracea (Brandt), rupestris (Brandt), and
sylvestris (Brandt) are synonyms.
DIAGNOSIS
Martes zibellina is slightly larger than other similar
Holarctic martens (M. martes [European pine marten], M.
americana [American marten], and M. melampus [Japanese
marten]) but smaller than M. pennanti (fisher) and M. flavigula
(yellow-throated marten) and has more dark coloration in the
pelage. A variably sized yellowish (orange) patch (bib) occurs
on throat and breast (Fig. 1), but it is sometimes absent; head
usually lighter than back, sometimes whitish. Pelage is
monotonic ranging from light brown (or sandy-yellow) to
almost black; frequently occurs with sporadic white (gray or
yellowish) hairs throughout the pelt. In the fur trade this is
referred to as ‘‘sedina’’ (grayness [Fig. 2]). In general, M.
zibellina is most similar morphologically to M. martes,M.
americana,andM. melampus (Anderson 1970; Clark et al. 1987;
Hagmeier 1961); however, it has a shorter tail and darker, more
lustrous and silky pelage. Tail length with tip hairs is no more
than one-half of body length (Ognev 1931). Skull bullae (Fig. 3)
are extended and closer together than in M. martes and the
beech marten (M. foina—Heptner et al. 1967). The internal one-
half of the upper molar (Fig. 3) is wider than the external one-
half (Aristov and Baryshnikov 2001). Bacula are 39–43 mm
long (in adult males) with a forked end that forms an unclosed
ring (Fig. 4) and so have morphological differences with M.
martes and M. americana (Heptner et al. 1967; Pawlinin 1966).
Fig. 2.—Martes zibellina from a fur farm illustrating the ‘‘grayness’’
condition. Photograph by V. Monakhov.
43(876)—Martes zibellina MAMMALIAN SPECIES 77
GENERAL CHARACTERS
Martes zibellina has relatively short feet that are
pentadactyl and semiplantigrade. Body mass (g) is 1,150–
1,850 for males and 650–1,600 for females; body length (cm)
is 32–53 for males and 30–48 for females; tail length (cm) is
13.0–18.0 for males and 12.0–16.0 for females; and height of
ear (cm) is 4.9–5.7 for males and 4.3–5.5 for females
(Monakhov and Bakeyev 1981). Males are about 8–12%
(X
¯59.03%) larger than females (Monakhov 2009).
Adult skull measurements (mm; mean 6SE,range)of
M. z. kamtschadalica (196 males, 190 females), M. z.
arsenjevi (201 males, 161 females), and M. z. zibellina (137
males, 116 females), respectively, were: condylobasal
length—87.86 60.14, 82.6–94.0; 80.97 60.12, 75.0–84.8;
77.82 60.12, 73.8–82.1; 71.27 60.12, 68.0–75.8; 84.88 6
0.16, 77.6–90.3; 77.70 60.14, 74.5–84.5; length of
maxillary toothrow—34.06 60.06, 31.2–36.2; 30.98 6
0.06, 28.8–34.7; 30.10 60.07, 27.9–32.9; 27.98 60.06,
25.3–29.8; 32.22 60.08, 29.9–34.2; 29.07 60.09, 26.6–
34.2; maximum width of skull—38.59 60.09, 35.7–41.5;
35.86 60.07, 32.9–38.4; 34.94 60.06, 32.4–37.3; 32.45 6
0.07, 29.6–35.0; 37.68 60.09, 35.0–41.1; 34.74 60.08,
32.2–38.2 (Monakhov 2006b).
Length of guard hairs (mm; mean 6SE,males,
females) is 51.33 60.35, 46.04 60.41 in animals from
the Barguzin District and 53.3 60.32, 46.70 60.31 in those
from the Vakh River basin. For the same 2 geographic
areas, length of underfur is 32.34 60.26, 26.87 60.17 and
31.54 60.20, 28.76 60.26, respectively (Monakhov 2005a).
Thickness of guard hairs (mm; mean 6SE,males,females)
is 88.15 60.94, 82.02 60.90 in the Barguzin District and
88.06 62.15, 85.02 61.25 in the Vakh River basin;
thickness of underfur for the same 2 geographic regions is
19.21 60.30, 17.73 60.20 and 19.56 60.25, 19.06 60.21,
respectively (Monakhov 2005a). Geographical variation of
body size, color, and fur quality of M. zibellina is
considerable (Monakhov 2006b; Monakhov and Bakeyev
1981; Timofeev and Nadeev 1955). Based on the variation
of these features, .20 geographical races have been
described. Four categories are used to describe color
variation: golovka (the darkest), podgolovka, vorotovoy,
and mekhovoy (the lightest—Heptner et al. 1967; Tav-
rovsky 1971). The largest M. zibellina dwell in Kamtchatka,
Altai, and Ural forests and the smallest are found in Ussuri
and Amur forests in Russia. Darkest pelages occur in the
Baikal Region, Yakutia and Amur Basin, and the lightest in
Trans-Urals, Russia (G. Monakhov 1976; V. Monakhov
Fig. 3.—Dorsal, ventral, and lateral views of skull and lateral view
of mandible of an adult female Martes zibellina. Specimen from the
private collection of Vladimir Monakhov. Condylobasal length is
78.7 mm. Photograph by V. Monakhov.
Fig. 4.—Lateral view of bacula (distal tip to right) of Martes
zibellina zibellina: A) juveniles and B) adult animals. Specimens
from collection of Zoological Museum, Institute of Plant and
Animal Ecology, Ekaterinburg, Russia. Photograph by
V. Monakhov.
78 MAMMALIAN SPECIES 43(876)—Martes zibellina
2006b; Monakhov and Bakeyev 1981; Timofeev and
Nadeev 1955).
DISTRIBUTION
Martes zibellina occurs in 6 countries: Russia, Mon-
golia, China, North Korea, Japan (Buskirk et al. 1994;
Proulx et al. 2004), and Kazakhstan (Afanasyev 1960;
Bashanov 1943; Kuznetsov 1948; Nasimovich 1973; Timo-
feev and Nadeev 1955). It occupies conifer forests of Siberia
and northern and eastern Europe (Fig. 5). To the west, it
extends to the Ural Mountains where it is sympatric with M.
martes (Bakeyev and Sinitsyn 1994; Grakov 1994; Heptner
et al. 1967; Monakhov 2005c). In Russia, Mongolia,
Kazakhstan, and China, in the Altai and West Sajan
mountains, distribution of M. zibellina overlaps with that
of M. foina (Heptner et al. 1967; Proulx et al. 2004).
Distribution of M. zibellina extends southward to 55–60uN
latitude in western Siberia, and 42uN in the mountains of
eastern Asia. In the southernmost part of its distribution M.
zibellina tends to occur in peninsular or insular mountains.
M. zibellina also occupies Sakhalin Island, off the eastern
coast of Siberia (Heptner et al. 1967; Proulx et al. 2004).
In Mongolia, it occurs in the Altai Mountains of the far
northwest and in forests around Lake Hovsgol (Heptner et al.
1967). The latter area is contiguous with the Trans-Baikal
boreal forest region, which produces the best known and most
valuable pelts of M. zibellina (Ognev 1931; Sabaneev 1875) and
has the most continental climate experienced by any Martes,
with warm summers but long, severe winters. In eastern
Kazakhstan M. zibellina inhabits basins of the Bukhtarma and
Uba rivers southwest of the Altai mountains (Heptner et al.
1967; Lobachev and Afanasyev 1982; Monakhov and Bakeyev
1981; Ternovsky 1977; Timofeev and Nadeev 1955). In China,
M. zibellina currently occurs in a small area of the Xinjiang
Uygur Autonomous Region, where the southern Altai
Mountains enter China from the north. In northeastern China,
it is now limited to the Daxinganling Mountains of Heilong-
jiang Province and Inner (Nei) Mongolia. In the Xiaoxingan
ling Mountains of eastern Heilongjiang, persistence of M.
zibellina is suspected but not confirmed (Helin et al. 1999; Ma
and Xu 1994). M. zibellina also occupies the Changbaishan
Mountains along the border with, and southward into North
Korea. M. zibellina occurs in Hokkaido, the northernmost
major island of Japan, in the main Japanese archipelago, and
on the Korean peninsula (Anderson 1970; Corbet 1978;
Hosoda et al. 1997; Proulx et al. 2004).
FOSSIL RECORD
Most subarctic mammal species were migratory during
some point in their evolution; Anderson (1970) concluded
that the genus Martes belonged in that category. She
believed that the ancestor of M. zibellina and other species
(M. foina,M. martes,M. melampus,andM. americana) was
an early Pleistocene species like M. vetus (Anderson 1970).
Between the Pleistocene and Holocene with retreat of
glaciers and rapid expansion of forests, M. zibellina left
refugia and settled into new suitable territories (Abramov
1967; Mensbir 1934; Monakhov 1976; Pawlinin 1966). M.
zibellina has occurred in the Ural Mountains for about
20,000–40,000 years (Kosintsev 1996; Kuzmina 1966, 1982;
Ponomarev 2001; Vereshagin 1982), but likely never
occurred in high numbers until 8,000–10,000 years ago
during postglacial time. Bones of M. zibellina in Altai have
been dated .100,000 years old (Derevjanko et al. 2003). No
remains of M. zibellina .20,000 years old have been found
in Trans-Ural and western Siberia; however, this cannot
necessarily be interpreted as its absence during that period
(Bobkovskaya 2002; Kosintsev and Borodin 1990; Kuzmina
1982; Ponomarev 2001; Smirnov et al. 1986).
FORM AND FUNCTION
Molting in Martes zibellina takes place in spring and
autumn; the timing of molt is related to photoperiod
(Monakhov and Bakeyev 1981). Spring molt begins in
March and lasts about 2 months, and autumn ecdysis occurs
from the end of August to November. M. zibellina has
its winter pelage for 4–5 months and its summer pelage for
1.5–2.0 months.
Martes zibellina can be aged with 3 methods: cementum
annuli in teeth (Klevezal and Kleinenberg 1969), width of
the canine root canal (Smirnov 1960), and development of
the mastication muscles and sagittal crest on the skull
(Timofeev and Nadeev 1955). The first 2 methods produce
similar results (r50.95) and are suitable for monitoring and
commercial game management (Monakhov 2004a, 2005b).
The 3rd method is simpler but less accurate and is
recommended only for the preliminary assessment of age
ratios in populations (Klevezal and Kleinenberg 1969).
When large samples are studied for the purposes of
Fig. 5.—Geographical distribution of Martes zibellina.
43(876)—Martes zibellina MAMMALIAN SPECIES 79
monitoring and management planning, the method pro-
posed by Smirnov (1960) is preferable.
The dental formula is i 3/3, c 1/1, p 4/4, m 1/2, total 38.
Dentition of M. zibellina is very similar to that of M. martes
and M. americana (Clark at al. 1987). Length of M1 is 7.0–
9.5 mm. Width of M1 is almost equal to length of P4. Length
of internal lobus of M1 is more noticeable than external
lobus and equal to nearly three-fourths of the crown width.
Length of m1 is 7.8–10.6 mm (Aristov and Baryshnikov
2001). The vertebral formula is 7 C, 14 T, 6 L, 3 S, 15–16 Ca,
total 45–46 (Ternovsky 1977).
In summer, M. zibellina has a low body mass, and in
winter, body mass increases 7–10% (Tumanov 2003). Heat
production in December is lower by 17–18% than in July
(Afanasyev and Pereldik 1966). Body temperature of M.
zibellina females is 39.9uC61.0 SE, and respiration rate is
53 breaths/min (range: 48–62—Tumanov 2003). M. zibellina
requires daily about 20% of its body mass in food. This
amounts to catching 6–8 voles/day (Safronov 2002). Heart
rate is 216 beats min
21
kg body mass
21
for adult males and
269 beats min
21
1 kg body mass
21
for adult females.
Females show high intensity of systole to diastole muscle
work with a tenseness index of 463 67.2 SE and systolic
index of 55 60.5 SE (Tumanov 2003).
The average fatness mass index of males and females,
respectively, is 24.99 and 22.71%in May and 31.50 and
27.67%in November (Pavlyuchenko et al. 1979). The lowest
recorded rate of metabolism for M. zibellina is 107 kcal/kg in
December and the highest is 127 kcal/kg in July–August. The
mean blood temperature of adult M. zibellina is 38.2uC
(range: 36.0–40.4uC). Concentrations of erythrocyte (310
6
/
mm
3
) in blood are 7.2 in males and 8.2 in females;
hemoglobin content is 144 g/l in males and 159 g/l in
females (Pavlyuchenko et al. 1979). Mass (g; mean, range) of
internal organs of 77 male and 95 female M. z. zibellina from
the Yugan River basin, Russia, were: heart mass, 8.57, 6.3–
12.8 and 6.44, 4.4–9.7; liver mass, 31.95, 18.5–60.5 and
25.87, 12.0–43.6; kidney mass, 3.77, 2.1–6.2 and 3.12, 1.9–
4.8; and lung mass, 18.5, 8.5–31.0 and 13.75, 7.3–25.8
(Monakhov 2001a).
Martes zibellina possesses a high cerebral index, 17%6
0.3%in males and 20%60.4%in females. These are 2-fold
more than what is recorded in the more specialized
American mink (Neovison vison—Ternovskaya 2006).
ONTOGENY AND REPRODUCTION
The breeding season for Martes zibellina generally
occurs from mid-June to early August (Afanasyev and
Pereldik 1966). Ovulation is induced by copulation (Pavlyu-
chenko et al. 1979) and lasts from 15 June to 15 August
(Kler 1941; Starkov 1939). Length of spermatozoan head is
about 8 mm, and its flagellum is 55 mm; fertilized ova are
900–1,100 mm in diameter, and develop into blastocysts of
554–722 mm in diameter by September and 1,200–1,250 mm
at late February (Pavlyuchenko et al. 1979). Gestation lasts
245–298 days (Kler 1941) and 7.5–8.0 months of diapause.
Duration of embryonic development after implantation
(true pregnancy) is 30–35 days (Pavlyuchenko et al. 1979).
Births take place from 25 March to 3 May (Kler 1941).
Body length of newborns is 11–12 cm, and body mass is
25–30 g (Starkov 1947). Incisors appear 38 days after birth.
Deciduous teeth are replaced by permanent teeth at 3–4 months
of age. Month-old offspring have a mean mass of 260 g, and at
2 months of age, they are 600 g (Starkov 1947). Litter size is 1–7
kits, with an average range of 2.5–3.5 (Heptner et al. 1967). In
Russia, mean number of corpora lutea differs geographically
from 2.52 in the Sayan Mountains to 4.47 in Kamchatka
(Monakhov and Bakeyev 1981) to 4.97 near Demjanka River
(Ob Basin—Monakhov 2006a). Maximum number of corpora
lutea in the wild is 8 for M. z. zibellina; and in captivity, 9
corpora lutea were noted at Saltikovsky fur farm (Monakhov
2004b, 2006a). Sex ratio at birth is 53 males : 47 females (n5
3,622—Monakhov and Bakeyev 1981).
Typically, M. zibellina reaches full reproductive potential
at .2 years of age (Monakhov and Bakeyev 1981). Juveniles
(age class 0) do not reproduce; the mating period takes place
in July–August when they are only 2–3 months old. Yearlings
in age class 1 (14–15 months old) do not always reach sexual
maturity by the end of the breeding season and thus do not
fully realize their reproductive potential (Manteifel 1934;
Rayevsky 1947; Zaleker 1950). In 1978–1990, the portion of
pregnant females in their 2nd year was 76.4% and the number
of corpora lutea was 2.96/female in the northern Sub-Urals,
and 23.4% and 0.64 in the Kizir population of west Sayan
Mountain country, respectively. In contrast, for the same
areas, females 2 years of age and females .2 years of age were
94.2% and 4.06 and 56.6% and 1.92 (Monakhov 2005b),
respectively. Similar observations occur in other wild
populations of M. zibellina (Belov 1980; Kartashov 1989)
and in those from fur farms as well (Mamatkina and
Monakhov 1970; Pavlyuchenko et al. 1979).
ECOLOGY
Population characteristics.—The average proportion
of males in populations of Martes zibellina is 54.5% 6
0.08% SE (n513,997—Monakhov and Bakeyev 1981). Age
composition is highly variable among populations. Subyear-
lings (juveniles) can represent 30.5–75.6% of a population
(Monakhov 2005b), averaging 44.8% (Monakhov and
Bakeyev 1981). The estimated proportion of juveniles is
often very high, in contrast with the natural rate of
population growth and observed litter size, which may be
a result of the predominant removal of juveniles in the
hunting process (i.e., selective catching, shooting, and
trapping—Monakhov 1983a, 2005b; Monakhov and
Bakeyev 1981). Age structure of M. zibellina defined by
80 MAMMALIAN SPECIES 43(876)—Martes zibellina
the method of Klevezal and Kleinenberg (1969) was:
juveniles 562.7%; yearlings 512.6%; 2–4 year olds 5
2.5–4.3%; 5–7 year olds 51.6–2.5%; and .8 year olds 5
0.6–1.2% in Trans-Urals (n52,150) and 75.6%, 0.6%, 2.7–
4.9%, 0.8–2.5%, and 0.2–0.7%, respectively, in the western
Sayan Mountains (n51,765—Monakhov 2005b). Annual
survival rates of M. zibellina were 19.9% for juveniles, 44.0%
for yearlings, and 75.9–79.4% for individuals 2–9 years of
age in Trans-Urals and 33.0%, 59.6%, and 49.3–75.8%,
respectively, for individuals in the western Sayan Mountains
(Monakhov 2005b; Sokolov 1979). Only two 18-year-old
individuals from a sample of 2,150 animals in the northern
Sub-Urals (Monakhov 2005b) were found. Thus, the
number of senescent animals in the population is very low.
Nineteen-year-old males (Afanasyev and Pereldik 1966) and
22-year-old females (Ternovskaya 2006) have been noted in
fur farms. Total number of feral M. zibellina is estimated at
1.1–1.3 million individuals (Bakeyev et al. 2003; Borisov and
Lomanov 2006; Safonov et al. 2006).
Space use.—Martes zibellina occupies dense coniferous
taiga forests, flatlands, and mountainous areas in Siberia
(Heptner et al. 1967). M. zibellina is found in the spruce
(Picea), larch (Larix), pine and cedar (Pinus), and birch
(Betula) forests of northern and southern Siberia and
Russian Far East. Home ranges of M. zibellina are 4–
30 km
2
(Heptner et al. 1967). M. zibellina has a permanent
home range and also utilizes a few temporary ranges (Gusev
1966). Home-range sizes and travel rates depend on abundance
and availability of food, climate, age, sex, and population
density of animals. Adult M. zibellina occupy areas 2–3 times
larger than juveniles. If food availability is low, M. zibellina
moves widely; young M. zibellina tend to leave their 1st
permanent ranges under such conditions (Bakeyev and
Sinitsyn 1994; Heptner et al. 1967). The average travel rate is
7.3–10.6 km/day for males and 6.5–12.0 km/day for females
(Gusev 1966). Among marked M. zibellina, 83% of males and
96% of females moved out no further than 30 km from tagging
locations (Chernikin 2006; Komarov 1972; Sutula and Popov
2001). Maximum distances traversed by ear-tagged males (no
females registered) were 100–200 km (Bakeyev et al. 1980;
Chernikin 2006) and up 300 km after translocation releases
(Bakeyev and Sinitsyn 1994). On a few occasions M. zibellina
has been captured 130–160 km beyond the described
distribution range for the species range (Monakhov 2010).
Diet.—Martes zibellina is a euryphagous predator
(Bakeyev et al. 2003; Heptner et al. 1967; Monakhov and
Bakeyev 1981; Timofeev and Nadeev 1955). Foods of M.
zibellina are well studied in winter (harvesting period). In the
mountain taiga of Sayan and Trans-Baikal, stomach and
fecal samples of M. zibellina contained 64–80% mammals
(mainly small), 6–12% birds, 33–77% nuts of Pinus sibirica
and P. pumila, and 4–33% berries; similar proportions were
found in the plain taiga of western Siberia (75–90%, 24–80%,
20–53%, and 20–63%, respectively—Monakhov and
Bakeyev 1981). The prey of M. zibellina also can include
larger mammals such as chipmunks (Tamias sibiricus), pikas
(Ochotona), squirrels (Sciurus and Pteromys), muskrats
(Ondatra), marmots (Marmota), mountain hares (Lepus
timidus), and musk deer (Moschus moschiferus—Chernikin
2006; Khlebnikov 1977; Monakhov and Bakeyev 1981;
Moskov 1973; Zirjanov et al. 2001). Tavrovsky (1971) and
Chernikin (2006) recorded mustelids (Mustela erminea
[ermine] and M. nivalis [least weasel]) as prey for M.
zibellina of Baikal and Yakutia. Cannibalism in M. zibellina
was shown by Kolichev (1976) in Yenisei and Trans-Baikal
regions. The diet of M. zibellina occasionally includes fish
(Monakhov and Bakeyev 1981; Tavrovsky 1971).
Diseases and parasites.—Fourteen species of parasitic
worms have been identified in Martes zibellina (Petrov
1941): 2 trematodes, 2 cestodes, and 10 nematodes. Bakeyev
et al. (2003) reported 34 species of helminths found in M.
zibellina. Helminths are localized in frontal sinuses and
respiratory organs and digestion. For M. zibellina of
Kamchatka Peninsula 19 species of helminths were found,
localized in the respiratory organs, alimentary tract, and
muscles. Genera most often registered were Crenosoma,
Thominx,Filaroides,Soboliphyme,Capillaria,Mesocestoides,
Thaenia,andAscaris (Tranbenkova 2001). Young animals
have the highest intensity of helminth infections (Monakhov
1983b, 1999). Fungal skin disease in M. zibellina as the result
of Cephalosporium (class Hyphomycetes) has been docu-
mented (Stepanenko 2007). Twenty-one species of fleas (two
of which are specific: Chaetopsylla zibellina, Vermipsyllidae;
and Ceratophyllus paradoxus, Ceratophyllidae) and 3 species
of gamasid mites (Gamasidae) have been recorded for M.
zibellina (Bakeyev et al. 2003).
Interspecific interactions.—Martes zibellina is trophically
related to 36 species of mammals, 220 species of birds, and
21 species of plants (Bakeyev et al. 2003; Gusev 1966). M.
zibellina is prey for 8 species of mammals (brown bear [Ursus
arctos], wolf [Canis lupus], red fox [Vulpes vulpes], arctic fox
[Vulpes lagopus], wolverine [Gulo gulo], yellow-throated
marten [Martes flavigula], tiger [Panthera tigris], lynx [Lynx
lynx] and 8 species of birds (eagle-owl [Bubo bubo], 2 eagles:
golden eagle [Aquila chrysaetus] and white-tailed eagle
[Haliaeetus albicilla], raven [Corvus corax], hawks: goshawk
[Accipiter gentilis] and sparrow-hawk [Accipiter nisus], and 2
owls: great gray owl [Strix nebulosa] and northern hawk owl
[Surnia ulula]). Intraspecific competition likely occurs among
M. zibellina and 28 species of mammals and 27 species of
birds (Chernikin 2006; Monakhov and Bakeyev 1981).
HUSBANDRY
Since 1928, Martes zibellina, commonly known as the
Russian sable in the fur trade, has been reared on fur farms.
The 1st offspring from captive females occurred in 1931
(Afanasyev and Pereldik 1966; Manteifel 1934). Commerical
breeding has occurred since 1933 (Pavlyuchenko et al. 1979).
43(876)—Martes zibellina MAMMALIAN SPECIES 81
M. zibellina is a valuable furbearer species with registered
auction sales in 2010 of about 11,000 farm pelts for an
average price per pelt of $167.00 (for the same period about
366,000 wild pelts were sold for an average price per pelt of
$138.00—http://www.sojuzpushnina.ru). In comparison, for
2006–2009 the average annual sales during auctions were
358,670 (range 328,500–415,400) pelts of feral M. zibellina,
with an average price per pelt of $123.10 (range $85.70–
160.0—http://www.sojuzpushnina.ru). Presently, a race of
large M. zibellina with black coloration and adapted to life
in captivity is favored on fur farms (Fig. 6).
Animals are reared in standardized sheds—each holding
260 individual cages (Pavlyuchenko et al. 1979). Captive M.
zibellina are fed by-products from the meat and dairy
industry, zooplankton, and vegetables (Afanasyev and
Pereldik 1966; Pavlyuchenko et al. 1979).
Among harvested feral M. zibellina and those reared in
fur farms, animals with an unusual pelage are sometimes
reported (Bakeyev et al. 2003; Pavlyuchenko et al. 1979).
Some animals will have whitish (partial albino), spotted (feet
and muzzle [Fig. 7]), golden, speckled, or blue fur. Trapezov
(2006) believes that by artificial selection it is possible to
create the same color types in M. zibellina that are found in
captive Neovison vison (American mink).
BEHAVIOR
Martes zibellina is solitary in nature. It is an adroit,
tireless, and strong predator with excellent hearing and well-
developed hunting skills that allow it to locate prey based on
sounds and smell (Bakeyev et al. 2003). The movements of
M. zibellina are typical of a terrestrial animal, moving
mainly by small jumps 40–70 cm in length. When escaping
the pursuit of a predator, it can extend its jumps up to 3–4 m
in length (Timofeev and Nadeev 1955). Adult animals can
easily detect hunting dogs from a distance and escape.
Juveniles will climb up trees or hide in refuges.
Martes zibellina uses scent glands located on the
posterior part of the abdomen for scent communication
and marking its territory (Aristov and Baryshnikov 2001;
Rozhnov 2002).
Some researchers (Bakeyev et al. 2003; Shaposhnikov
1956) report that M. zibellina shows agonistic behavior to
Mustela sibirica (the Siberian weasel) and Mustela erminea.
According to Petrashov (1971), 72% of M. zibellina are
active during twilight times, 18% at night, and 10% in the
daytime. During the reproductive season it is active in the
daytime (Devyatkin 1993). In snowfalls and rainy weather M.
zibellina, as a rule, seeks shelter. Movement significantly goes
down when there is a hard frost (Chernikin 2006; Rayevsky
1947; Timofeev and Nadeev 1955), and individuals may stay in
refuges up to several days (Stroganov 1969; Timofeev 1948).
Martes zibellina chooses a variety of refuges: in tree
hollows and under tree roots, fallen wood, stone piles,
between rocks, and in precipitous banks of rivers and creeks.
It is difficult to find the den without trained dogs, especially
those dens containing litters. M. zibellina will choose the
driest areas of taiga for the litter den. The den floor is often
covered with dry grass, lichens, feathers, and fur. Excrement
of kits is often found near the den (Chernikin 2006). Young
Fig. 6.—A male Martes zibellina illustrating dark coloration of fur
produced by selective breeding at a fur farm in Russia. Photograph
by V. Monakhov.
Fig. 7.—A female Martes zibellina with white-spotted pelage from a
fur farm. Photograph by V. Monakhov.
82 MAMMALIAN SPECIES 43(876)—Martes zibellina
animals spend considerable time engaged in play behavior
(Ternovsky 1977) and the play reflex also is demonstrated by
adults when hunting and interacting with prey and during
sexual interactions (Ternovsky 1977). Young disperse in
August (Dulkeit 1957; Sabaneev 1875; Tavrovsky 1971).
The predatory instinct is reduced in M. zibellina during
seasons when an abundance of vegetable foods are available.
In years that forage is reduced, M. zibellina often will spend
more time in the proximity of human settlements. When
searching for food, M. zibellina shows crepuscular activity
such as do its main prey—mice and voles (Chernikin 2006).
Width of the controlled hunting strip is up to 10 m
(Chernikin 2006). M. zibellina does not use permanent
refuges in winter and very few records document food
stocking (Timofeev and Nadeev 1955). However, in some
cases, described by Chernikin (2006), pantries were found in
May–June and contained carcasses of the Siberian chip-
munk (Tamias sibiricus), least weasel (Mustela nivalis), up to
7 voles (Microtus and Myodes [formerly Clethrionomys]),
and the cones of Pinus sibirica and Pinus pumila.
GENETICS
Martes zibellina has a diploid number (2n) of 38
chromosomes and a fundamental number (FN) of 66;
autosomes consist of 5 pairs of metacentric, 10 pairs of
submetacentric, and 3 pairs of acrocentric chromosomes
(Aristov and Baryshnikov 2001; Orlov and Malygen 1969).
The X chromosome is medium in size; the Y chromosome is
a small metacentric (Orlov and Malygen 1969).
Both M. zibellina and M. martes occur in the Urals. This is
a zone of introgression and here, these 2 species provide a
hybrid, called the kidus or kidas (Grakov 1994; Jurgenson
1947). Results based on mitochondrial DNA indicate a high
degree of reciprocal introgression of the 2 species in the
northern Urals (Rozhnov et al. 2010). This suggests that
hybridization is common within this zone of sympatry. The
kidus is intermediate between M. zibellina and M. martes in
morphological features. It has coarser fur than M. zibellina,a
bright spot on the throat, a long, bushy tail, and a larger head.
Kidus also has been raised on fur farms by crossing the 2
species. Grakov (1981) reported no offspring for self crossing
the hybrids and only in 1 case were offspring obtained from
back crossing the hybrids with M. zibellina or M. martes;this
involved a cross of a female kidus and a male M. martes
(Grakov 1981). The male kidus is sterile (Grakov 1994).
CONSERVATION
In the early 20th century, numbers of Martes zibellina
were very low because of overharvesting (Heptner et al.
1967; Sabaneev 1875; Timofeev and Nadeev 1955). To
restore its populations, hunting and trapping were stopped
and mass reintroductions (nearly 20,000 individuals) oc-
curred from 1940 to 1960 (Pavlov et al. 1973); these efforts
were considered successful (Gusev 1971; Monakhov 1978,
1995, 2006b; Monakhov and Bakeyev 1981; Nasimovich
1973; Tavrovsky 1971).
Martes zibellina is listed as a species of ‘‘Least Concern’’
by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and
Natural Resources (Abramov and Wozencraft 2008). Its
major threats are commercial hunting, logging of the dense
coniferous forests in some areas, and the introduction in
some areas of Martes melampus, which is a competitor
(Abramov and Wozencraft 2008). M. zibellina is considered
endangered in the southern part of its range but its
widespread distribution and presumably large population
size are thought to prevent the type of decline required to
reach threatened status (Abramov and Wonzencraft 2008).
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
I thank an anonymous reviewer for the suggestions on
improving this account and V. Hayssen for the opportunity
to publish this work. I also am grateful to A. V. Abramov,
Yu. M. Baranovsky, G. F. Baryshnikov, E. M. Chernikin,
A. A. Darensky, V. S. Kriuchkov, A. A. Sinitsyn, V. P.
Novikov, I. Ya. Pavlinov, V. D. Petrenko, O. L. Rossolimo,
V. V. Shurigin, A. S. Valentsev, and A. G. Vasiliev for access
to skull collections. E. S. Zakharov kindly provided the
photo for Fig. 1.
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86 MAMMALIAN SPECIES 43(876)—Martes zibellina
... The sable (Martes zibellina) is distributed in the taiga and deciduous forests of north central and northeastern Eurasia. The sable is solitary and omnivorous, relying on hearing and olfaction to locate prey, even under snow cover during winter months (Liu et al., 2020;Monakhov, 2011). Unlike wolverines, seasonal changes do not cause dramatic fluctuations in resource availability for sables as they are able to exploit a wider variety of food sources, and are adapted to tolerate short-term food scarcity . ...
... Unlike wolverines, seasonal changes do not cause dramatic fluctuations in resource availability for sables as they are able to exploit a wider variety of food sources, and are adapted to tolerate short-term food scarcity . Their diet consists of small mammals, birds, nuts and berries, and in some instances food caching during the winter period has been reported (Monakhov, 2011). Similar to wolverines and many other species of mustelids, sables have a well-defined reproductive season and exhibit delayed blastocyst implantation (Proulx & Aubry, 2017). ...
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Species of the mustelid subfamily Guloninae inhabit diverse habitats on multiple continents, and occupy a variety of ecological niches. They differ in feeding ecologies, reproductive strategies and morphological adaptations. To identify candidate loci associated with adaptations to their respective environments, we generated a de novo assembly of the tayra (Eira barbara), the earliest diverging species in the subfamily, and compared this with the genomes available for the wolverine (Gulo gulo) and the sable (Martes zibellina). Our comparative genomic analyses included searching for signs of positive selection, examining changes in gene family sizes, as well as searching for species‐specific structural variants (SVs). Among candidate loci associated with phenotypic traits, we observed many related to diet, body condition and reproduction. For example, for the tayra, which has an atypical gulonine reproductive strategy of aseasonal breeding, we observe species‐specific changes in many pregnancy‐related genes. For the wolverine, a circumpolar hypercarnivore that must cope with seasonal food scarcity, we observed many changes in genes associated with diet and body condition. All types of genomic variation examined (single nucleotide polymorphisms, gene family expansions, structural variants) contributed substantially to the identification of candidate loci. This strongly argues for consideration of variation other than single nucleotide polymorphisms in comparative genomics studies aiming to identify loci of adaptive significance.
... Variants in different genes cause spotting patterns ranging from sparse white markings to total body discoloration; some piebald phenotypes are accompanied by hypopigmented eyes [27,28]. We applied the term 'white spotted' [7,26,44] to these phenotypes in our study. Animals with de-pigmented front toes, paws, or lower forelimbs ('gloving', according to cat fanciers [24,26,45]) are extremely rare in the wild and are usually observed in selectively bred domestic animals [25]. ...
... These mutations, compared to other random mutations causing depigmentation in the wild, are more stable and specific and usually occur in selectively bred or inbred domestic animals [24,25,44]. It is quite possible that the frequent occurrence of abnormally colored martens is also due to inbreeding among the small population in an isolated habitat (isolated population). ...
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Mammalian coat color is determined by heritable variations such as disease, nutrition, and hormone levels. Variation in animal coat color is also considered an environmental indicator and provides clues for the study of population genetics and biogeography. Records of abnormal coloration in the wild are rare, not only because it is often selected against, but also because of the difficulties in detection of the phenomenon. We used long-term camera-trapping data to first report abnormal coat coloration in yellow-throated marten (Martes flavigula) in China. Six types of abnormal coloration were found only in the Northeast Tiger and Leopard National Park, Northeast China, which were not reported in other regions in China. A total of 268 videos of Martes flavigula contained normal coloration, 455 videos of individuals of the species contained abnormal coloration, 437 contained the ‘gloving’ type (martens with de-pigmented front toes, paws or lower forelimbs), while the remaining other 18 videos contained five types (different degrees of white-spotting and dilution). The higher relative abundance index (0.428, ‘gloving’ to 0.329, normal) and wide distribution area of the ‘gloving’ type indicated that this abnormal coat coloration type is usual in Northeast China, which may reflect genetic variability in the local population. These records will contribute to further research on animal coat color and its corresponding adaptive strategy.
... The sable (Martes zibellina) is distributed in the taiga and deciduous forests of north central and north eastern Eurasia. The sable is solitary and omnivorous, relying on hearing and olfaction to locate prey, even under a snow cover during winter months (Monakhov 2011;. Unlike wolverines, seasonal changes do not cause dramatic fluctuations in resource availability for sables as they are able to exploit a wider variety of food sources, and are adapted to tolerate short-term food scarcity . ...
... Unlike wolverines, seasonal changes do not cause dramatic fluctuations in resource availability for sables as they are able to exploit a wider variety of food sources, and are adapted to tolerate short-term food scarcity . Their diet consists of small mammals, birds, nuts and berries, and in some instances food caching during the winter period has been reported (Monakhov 2011). Similar to wolverines and many other species of mustelids, sables have a well-defined reproductive season and exhibit delayed blastocyst implantation (Proulx and Aubry 2017). ...
Preprint
Full-text available
Species of the mustelid subfamily Guloninae inhabit diverse habitats on multiple continents, and occupy a variety of ecological niches. They differ in feeding ecologies, reproductive strategies and morphological adaptations. To identify candidate loci associated with adaptations to their respective environments, we generated a de novo assembly of the tayra (Eira barbara), the earliest diverging species in the subfamily, and compared this with the genomes available for the wolverine (Gulo gulo) and the sable (Martes zibellina). Our comparative genomic analyses included searching for signs of positive selection, examining changes in gene family sizes, as well as searching for species-specific structural variants (SVs). Among candidate loci that appear to be associated with phenotypic traits, we observed many genes related to diet, body condition and reproduction. For the tayra, which has an atypical gulonine reproductive strategy of aseasonal breeding, we observe species-specific changes in many pregnancy-related genes. For the wolverine, a circumpolar hypercarnivore that must cope with seasonal food scarcity, we observed many specific changes in genes associated with diet and body condition. Despite restricting some of our analyses to single-copy orthologs present in all three study species, we observed many candidate loci that may be linked to species traits related to environment-specific challenges in their respective habitats.
... It is necessary to determine how environmental conditions affect sables. Previous studies demonstrated that sable population in different climatic habitats differed in various characteristics [9], and much effort has been paid to sable morphology [4,10,11], behavior [12][13][14][15], geographic distribution [16][17][18], and habitat ecology [19,20]. Characteristics of intestinal microflora, such as energy metabolism, are essential for adapting to harsh environmental conditions [21]. ...
... Our results cast a new light on wild animal gut that bacterial diversity in sable gut seems to be resilient to environmental changes. This is because sable is a mesocarnivore mammal, which may consume diverse food sources in harsh conditions [11]. ...
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In recent decades, wild sable (Carnivora Mustelidae Martes zibellina) habitats, which are often natural forests, have been squeezed by anthropogenic disturbances such as clear-cutting, tilling and grazing. Sables tend to live in sloped areas with relatively harsh conditions. Here, we determine effects of environmental factors on wild sable gut microbial communities between high and low altitude habitats using Illumina Miseq sequencing of bacterial 16S rRNA genes. Our results showed that despite wild sable gut microbial community diversity being resilient to many environmental factors, community composition was sensitive to altitude. Wild sable gut microbial communities were dominated by Firmicutes (relative abundance 38.23%), followed by Actinobacteria (30.29%), and Proteobacteria (28.15%). Altitude was negatively correlated with the abundance of Firmicutes, suggesting sable likely consume more vegetarian food in lower habitats where plant diversity, temperature and vegetation coverage were greater. In addition, our functional genes prediction and qPCR results demonstrated that energy/fat processing microorganisms and functional genes are enriched with increasing altitude, which likely enhanced metabolic functions and supported wild sables to survive in elevated habitats. Overall, our results improve the knowledge of the ecological impact of habitat change, providing insights into wild animal protection at the mountain area with hash climate conditions.
... Difficulties with the revision of intraspecific sable systematics arose because of the sable's highly varied morphological characteristics and high migration activity. Additional difficulties were created by massive reintroductions in Russia in the mid-20 th century, when animals from the Baikal region, where one sable subspecies supposedly lived, were translocated to Western and Eastern Siberia to the habitat of another subspecies (Monakhov, 2006(Monakhov, , 2011Monakhov et al., 2018;Timofeev & Pavlov, 1973). Thus, sable reintroductions may have changed the historically formed natural population structure of this species. ...
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Morphological variation and active migration of sables (Martes zibellina Linnaeus, 1758) cause confusion in this species’ intraspecific taxonomy. Four to 17 subspecies have been described thus far. In this study, we clarified sable population structure using 11 microsatellite loci in 665 specimens from 33 sable populations. According to subspecies taxonomy, we expect to find four genetic groups. Our results confirmed the presence of two genetic groups in the territories of Western Siberia (subspecies Martes zibellina zibellina L innaeus, 1758) a nd t he Western A ltai M ountains (subspecies Martes zibellina averini Bashanov, 1943). Another genetic group is formed by the populations of the Central Siberian Plateau and presumably represents the subspecies Martes zibellina yeniseensis Ognev, 1925. Previous descriptions of the area occupied by this subspecies include the mountain regions of Southern Siberia. We found a few genetic groups in the Baikal region, whereas only one subspecies Martes zibellina princeps Birula, 1918 had been described previously.
... The sable (Martes zibellina L.) and pine marten (Martes martes L.) can be quite reliably distinguished by their external features: the color of the fur, its silkiness, gray hair, throat spot, tail length, etc. (Ognev, 1931;Novikov, 1956;Gromov et al., 1963;Anderson, 1970;Aristov and Baryshnikov, 2001;Monakhov, 2011). It is much more difficult to determine the species of the animal by the carcass without the skin, and even more difficult, by the skull, especially in areas where the two species live together. ...
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Comparative analysis of three craniometric traits that characterize the length-to-width ratios in the frontal surface of the skull in the sable and the pine marten was performed. The character Δ (delta) was proposed for the first time as the distance from the postorbital narrowing to the line drawn between the postorbital processes in the sagittal plane. When analyzing tutorial (n = 431) and test samplings (n = 154), the high discriminating capacity of this trait was revealed for species identification based on craniological material. A joint analysis of variations in this “Δ” trait with the breadth of the postorbital constriction revealed for the first time their species–specific interrelations, i.e., the presence of opposite trends in the ontogeny of both model species. Discriminant analysis showed a high level (more than 97%) of correct species identifications based on the newly proposed trait.
... Sika deer in different parts of the range showed maximum activity at dusk in comparison with the daytime and at night (Ikeda et al., 2015), as intense human disturbance may significantly affect the activity of sika deer (Doormaal et al., 2015). Sable (Monakhov, 2011) is also characterized by crepuscular activity, the activity of animals in the daytime and at night was approximately the same. Other species of carnivores, ungulates and hare showed nocturnal activity. ...
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The Russian Far East is a unique location that may be considered a hot spot of biodiversity in Russia. In 2010, a new illuminated highway for high-speed traffic was built on its territory. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of this highway on the distribution and activity of various mammalian species. We set up camera traps in five lines near the road and obtained photos of 1372 passes of various animals. In total, 15 species of wild mammals were captured by camera traps. Animals preferred to stay far away from the road. This highway became a serious barrier separating the local populations of ungulates and carnivores. Only domestic animals and Amur wild cat used the underpasses more often than other areas. The distance from the road did not affect the daily activity of the mammals.
... . Different authors have described the following subspecies for Baikal Mustela zibellina var. baicalensis Dybowski, 1922; Martes z. princeps Birula, 1922; M. z. vitimensisTimofeev and Nadeev, 1955; and M. z. obscura Timofeev and Nadeev, 1955[11]; some of them are considered synonymous[12]. The last of these authors only confirms M. z. princeps, Barguzin sable (for the Barguzin ...
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The genetic and phenotypic structure (according to the fur color) of 14 sable samples from the Bai-kal mountain land (BML) has been studied by analyzing 257 animals for 11 microsatellite loci and evaluating over 12000 pelts with respect to seven standard color categories. It has been found that the population structure of sable in the region is heterogeneous both phenotypically and genetically. An isolated population group of sable with dark fur inhabits Zabaikalsky krai (Uletovsky, Petrovsk-Zabaikalsky, and Krasnochikoysky districts). The Khamar-Daban Ridge in the south of Lake Baikal is inhabited by a sable population with a high genetic diversity and the lightest fur color in the study region, which is most likely due to its contacts with the East Sayan population. The other BML samples have a relatively high genetic diversity and intermediate parameters of fur color, which may result from their large-scale intraregional translocations and migrations. The results of comparative tests suggest an indirect correlation between the phenotypic and genetic structures in samples from at least seven sable populations inhabiting the study region.
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We reviewed an extensive set of literature that described how the global contributions of food and fur from carnivores have been dependent on subsistence, social, cultural, economic, and religious trends that have varied in space and time. In general, humans in temperate regions used small carnivores for fur, whereas humans in tropical regions used species within this group primarily for food. Human use of carnivores was often of secondary importance to the use of large herbivores, although this depended on faunal availability, the difficulty of acquisition, and other factors. During prehistory, archaeological evidence suggests that depending on species, small carnivores were utilized not only as food and fur for garments, but also for religious purposes. The shift to transcontinental trade in fur began with an increasing European presence in North America. High demand for fur during early periods led to unsustainable harvest of several species. Some species were extirpated (e.g. sea mink, Mustela macrodon ), whereas some benefitted substantially as human activities transformed the North American landscape (e.g. striped skunks, Mephitis mephitis , and northern raccoon, Procyon lotor ). In the twenty‐first‐century international fur trade, the northern raccoon and the American mink, Neovison vison , have been among the most important wild and fur‐farmed species, respectively. In rural areas of less‐developed countries, viverrids (e.g. common palm civet, Paradoxurus hermaphroditus ) and herpestids (e.g. crab‐eating mongoose, Urva [= Herpestes] urva ) often are highly used for the bushmeat trade, although the lack of, or unenforced regulations may result in unsustainable harvests for some species. Regulation of international trade in small carnivores and other wildlife has been implemented in an effort to conserve endangered species, although regulatory efficacy can vary widely. Unfortunately, many species of small carnivores remain relatively unstudied or may be considered pests by some peoples.
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Phenetic Analysis of Intraspecific Variability in Sable, Martes zibellina (Mammalia, Carnivora), by Com-plex of Nonmetric Skull Traits. Monakhov V., Ranyuk M. — The series of nonmetric cranial characters proposed for revealing the intraspecific differentiation in sable is considered. Studied treats have 0–69% of variability however the main share of significant differences provided by those with variability more than 20% were appeared. Our tests confirm existence of intraspecific divergence between sable populations (and age/sex intrapopulational groups) which were found by other morphologic characters earlier. We propose to use that series of nonmetrical treats for diagnostic descriptions and population structure probing.
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Using standard and multivariate statistic methods, an epigenetic character—foramina in fossa condyloidei inferior(FFCI)—was studied in sable populations. This character was shown to be most frequent in southeastern populations of the species (Primorye and the Baikal region) while its distribution in the remaining part of the range was polyclinal. The expression of FFCI was directly associated with coat color and longitude, and inversely associated with skull size. This trend was broken by some western populations formed in the 1950s by introduction, which exhibited stable morphological differences with adjacent aboriginal sable populations. Most populations of the species exhibit differences in the manifestation of the studied characters. Frequency of the FFCI manifestation can be used as an additional population characteristic, an associative diagnostic character that shows high discriminating capability in detecting phenogenetic relationships of intraspecific groups.