Posts Tagged ‘yellow-throated marten’

Photo by Sexecutioner. 

The yellow-throated marten (Martes flavigula) is a relatively widely distributed species of marten that is found over a broad swathe of East and South Asia, as well as much of Indonesia.

It is the largest marten species in the Old World, weighing as much as 12 pounds, and it was once thought to be dangerous to people.

It was once claimed that these martens would pack up and hunt people.

These martens do hunt in little packs of three or four individuals, but they don’t hunt people.

Instead, they use their pack-hunting behavior to target muntjac and musk deer.

This particular one is in a zoo, which is why it is eating a white domestic mouse.

With the exception of certain species of otter, I don’t know of any other mustelids that hunt in packs.

No other martens do.  Tayras sometimes travel in groups, but I don’t think anyone has observed them cooperatively hunting.

This animal is about the size of a fisher (M. pennanti).  I’ve never heard of fishers killing deer, but for some reason, they do kill both bobcats and Canada lynx, which is a little bizarre. The biologist Roland Kays doesn’t think fishers hunt domestic cats, but the discovery that fishers sometimes prey upon the two North American lynx species should be a little disconcerting for cat owners who let their pets roam in fisher territory. If a fisher can kill one of those animals, it would very easily take a domestic cat.

Fishers are very robust martens, and they don’t have to pack up to be quite successful predators.


I should note that the Martes is currently a contested genus.  Molecular evidence suggests that the two species of marten in North America, the fisher and the American marten (M. americana) are more closely related to the wolverine or glutton (Gulo gulo) and the tayra (Eira barbara) of Central and South America than they are to the Old World martens.

More work has to be done to sort out the phylogeny and taxonomy, but it is likely that our two martens will be given their own genus or genera at some point in the future.



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