European pine marten

The European pine marten (Martes martes), known most commonly as the pine marten in Anglophone Europe, and less commonly also known as baum marten,[2] or sweet marten,[3] is an animal native to Northern Europe belonging to the mustelid family, which also includes mink, otter, badger, wolverine, and weasel.

European pine marten
Martes martes crop
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Mustelidae
Genus: Martes
Species:
M. martes
Binomial name
Martes martes
European Pine Marten area
European pine marten range
(green – native, red – introduced)
Synonyms

Mustela martes Linnaeus, 1758

Description

Pine Marten BWC
Pine marten at the British Wildlife Centre

Their bodies are up to 53 cm (21 in) in length, and their bushy tails can be 25 cm (10 in). Males are slightly larger than females; typically, martens weigh around 1.5 kg (3.3 lb) - 1.7 kg (3.7 lb). Their fur is usually light to dark brown and grows longer and silkier during the winter, while being short and coarse in the summer. They have a cream- to yellow-coloured "bib" marking on their throats. It has an excellent sense of sight, smell, and hearing. [4]

Habitat

Their habitats are usually well-wooded areas. European pine martens usually make their own dens in hollow trees or scrub-covered fields. Martens are the only mustelids with semiretractable claws. This enables them to lead more arboreal lifestyles, such as climbing or running on tree branches, although they are also relatively quick runners on the ground. They are mainly active at night and dusk. They have small, rounded, highly sensitive ears and sharp teeth adapted for eating small mammals, birds, insects, frogs, and carrion. They have also been known to eat berries, birds' eggs, nuts, and honey. European pine martens are territorial animals that mark their range by depositing feces (called scats) in prominent locations. These scats are black and twisted and can be confused with those of the fox, except that they reputedly have a floral odour.[5]

Threats

Although they are preyed upon occasionally by golden eagles, red foxes, wolves, and wildcats, humans are the largest threat to pine martens. They are vulnerable from conflict with humans, arising from predator control for other species, or following predation of livestock and the use of inhabited buildings for denning. Martens may also be affected by woodland loss.[6] Persecution (illegal poisoning and shooting) by gamekeepers, loss of habitat leading to fragmentation, and other human disturbances have caused a considerable decline in the pine marten population. They are also prized for their very fine fur in some areas. In the United Kingdom, European pine martens and their dens are offered full protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and the Environmental Protection Act 1990.[7]

Distribution

Martesmartesskull
Skull

Great Britain and Ireland

In Great Britain, the species was for many years common only in northwestern Scotland.[5] A study in 2012 found that martens have spread from their Scottish Highlands stronghold, north into Sutherland and Caithness and southeastwards from the Great Glen into Moray, Aberdeenshire, Perthshire, Tayside, and Stirlingshire, with some in the Central Belt, on the Kintyre and Cowal peninsulas and on Skye and Mull. The expansion in the Galloway Forest has been limited compared with that in the core marten range. Martens were reintroduced to the Glen Trool Forest in the early 1980s and only restricted spread has occurred from there.[6] This may be due to ongoing persecution and trapping by local gamekeepers.

In England, pine martens are extremely rare, and long considered probably extinct. A scat found at Kidland Forest in Northumberland in June 2010 may represent either a recolonisation from Scotland, or a relict population that has escaped notice previously.[8] There have been numerous reported sightings of pine martens in Cumbria, however, it was not until 2011 that concrete proof – some scat that was DNA-tested – was found.[9] In July 2015, the first confirmed sighting of a pine marten in England for over a century was recorded by an amateur photographer in woodland in Shropshire.[10] In July 2017, footage of a live pine marten was captured by a camera trap in the North York Moors in Yorkshire.[11][12] In March 2018 the first ever footage of a pine marten in Northumberland was captured by the Back from the Brink pine marten project.[13]

Also, a small population of pine martens is in Wales. Scat found in Cwm Rheidol forest in 2007 was confirmed to be from a pine marten using DNA testing. A male was found in 2012 as road kill near Newtown, Powys. This was the first confirmation in Wales of the species, living or dead, since 1971.[14] The Vincent Wildlife Trust (VWT) has begun a reinforcement of these mammals in the mid-Wales area. During autumn 2015, 20 pine martens were captured in Scotland, in areas where a healthy pine marten population occurs, under licence from Scottish Natural Heritage. These animals were translocated and released in an area of mid-Wales. All of the martens were fitted with radio collars and are being tracked daily to monitor their movements and find out where they have set up territories. During autumn 2016, the VWT planned to capture and release another 20 pine martens in the hope of creating a self-sustaining population.[15]

The marten is still quite rare in Ireland, but the population is recovering and spreading; its traditional strongholds are in the west and south, especially the Burren, but the population in the Midlands has significantly increased in recent years.[16] A study managed by academics at Queens University Belfast, using cameras and citizen scientists, published in 2015, showed that pine martens were distributed across all counties of Northern Ireland.[17]

As a predator

The diet of the pine marten includes small mammals, carrion, birds, insects, and fruits.[18]

The recovery of the European pine marten has been credited with reducing the population of invasive grey squirrels in the UK and Ireland.[19][20] Where the range of the expanding European pine marten population meets that of the grey squirrel, the population of the grey squirrels quickly retreats and the red squirrel population recovers. Because the grey squirrel spends more time on the ground than the red squirrel, which co-evolved with the pine marten, they are thought to be far more likely to come in contact with this predator.[21]

Lifespan

The European pine marten has lived to 18 years in captivity, but in the wild, they can live up to 11 years. 3-4 years is more typical, however. They reach sexual maturity at 2–3 years of age. Copulation usually occurs on the ground and can last more than 1 hour.[22] Mating occurs in July and August but the fertilized egg does not enter the uterus for about 7 months. The young are usually born in late March or early April after a 1-month-long gestation period that happens after the implantation of the fertilized egg, in litters of one to five.[23] Young European pine martens weigh around 30 grams at birth. The young begin to emerge from their dens around 7-8 weeks after birth and are able to disperse from the den around 12-16 weeks after their birth.

References

  1. ^ Herrero, J.; Kranz, A.; Skumatov, D.; Abramov, A.V.; Maran, T. & Monakhov, V.G. (2016). "Martes martes". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2016: e.T12848A45199169. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-1.RLTS.T12848A45199169.en. Retrieved 29 October 2018.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ "definition of 'baum marten'". CollinsDictionary.com. Retrieved 2 February 2019.
  3. ^ "Definition of 'sweet marten'". CollinsDictionary.com. Retrieved 2 February 2019.
  4. ^ “Pine Marten (Martes Martes).” Trees for Life, treesforlife.org.uk/forest/pine-marten/.
  5. ^ a b "Pine marten". The Vincent Wildlife Trust. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  6. ^ a b Scottish Natural Heritage; The Vincent Wildlife Trust (2013), Expansion zone survey of pine marten (Martes martes) distribution in Scotland (Project no: 13645) (PDF) (Commissioned Report), 520, retrieved 18 August 2013
  7. ^ "Pine marten (Martes martes)". ARKive. Archived from the original on 2010-03-24. Retrieved 18 August 2013.
  8. ^ "Found at last! pine marten rediscovered in Northumberland". Northumberland Wildlife Trust. 1 July 2010. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  9. ^ "Pine Marten rediscovered in Cumbria after 10 years!". Wild Travel Magazine. May 2011. Archived from the original on 2014-10-18. Retrieved 2014-10-14.
  10. ^ "Shropshire pine marten sighting is the first in a century". BBC News. 16 July 2015.
  11. ^ "Rare pine marten captured on camera in Yorkshire". BBC News. 7 August 2017.
  12. ^ "First ever images of pine marten in Yorkshire". NatureSpy.org. 2017-08-07. Retrieved 8 March 2018.
  13. ^ O'Connell, Ben (20 March 2018). "Rare pine marten captured on camera in Northumberland". Northumberland Gazette. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  14. ^ McCarthy, Michael (8 November 2012). "'Extinct' animal turns up in Wales as roadside carcass proves elusive pine martens still exist". The Independent.
  15. ^ "The pine marten in Wales". The Vincent Wildlife Trust. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  16. ^ Kelleher, Lynn (4 March 2013). "Red squirrels make comeback as pine martens prey on greys". Irish Independent.
  17. ^ Macauley, Conor (6 July 2015). "QUB study shows pine martens are more common in NI than thought". BBC News.
  18. ^ "Tufty's saviour to the rescue". The Scotsman. 29 December 2007.
  19. ^ Monbiot, George (January 30, 2015). "How to eradicate grey squirrels without firing a shot". The Guardian.
  20. ^ Sheehy, Emma; Lawton, Colin (March 2014). "Population crash in an invasive species following the recovery of a native predator: the case of the American grey squirrel and the European pine marten in Ireland". Biodiversity and Conservation. 23 (3): 753–774. doi:10.1007/s10531-014-0632-7.(subscription required)
  21. ^ "The Pine Marten: FAQs". Pine Marten Recovery Project. Retrieved 31 March 2018.
  22. ^ Forder, Victoria (August 2006). "Mating behaviour in captive pine martens Martes martes" (PDF). Wildwood Trust. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  23. ^ “Pine Marten (Martes Martes).” Trees for Life, treesforlife.org.uk/forest/pine-marten/.

Further reading

Gallery

Martes.martes.tracks

Tracks on mud.

Martes.martes.tracks.on.snow

Tracks on snow.

Asiatic linsang

The Asiatic linsang (Prionodon) is a genus comprising two species native to Southeast Asia: the banded linsang (Prionodon linsang) and the spotted linsang (Prionodon pardicolor). Prionodon is considered a sister taxon of the Felidae.

Catopuma

Catopuma is a genus containing two Asian small wild cat species, the bay cat (C. badia) and the Asian golden cat (C. temminckii).

Both are typically reddish brown in colour, with darker markings on the head. They inhabit forested environments in Southeast Asia. The bay cat is restricted to the island of Borneo. Originally thought to be two subspecies of the same animal, recent genetic analysis has confirmed they are, indeed, separate species.The two species diverged from one another 4.9-5.3 million years ago, long before Borneo separated from the neighboring islands. Their closest living relative is the marbled cat, from which the common ancestor of the genus Catopuma diverged around 9.4 million years ago.

Drents-Friese Wold National Park

The Drents-Friese Wold National Park is a national park in the Dutch provinces of Friesland and Drenthe, covering more than 61 km2 (24 sq mi), founded in 2000. It consists of forests, heath lands and drift-sands.

Indian brown mongoose

The Indian brown mongoose (Herpestes fuscus) looks similar to the short-tailed mongoose from Southeast Asia and is sometimes believed to be only a subspecies of this latter. The Indian brown mongoose is found in southwest India and Sri Lanka.

Lapiș Forest

Lapiș Forest (Romanian: Pădurea Lapiș) nature reserve IUCN category IV, is located in northwestern Romania, in the west of Sălaj County, near the village of Nușfalău, which is about 9 km from Șimleu Silvaniei.

Lurë National Park

The Lurë-Dejës Mt National Park (Albanian: Parku Kombëtar Lurë-Mali i Dejës) is a national park in northeastern Albania, spanning an expanded area of 202.42 km2 (78.15 sq mi) since 2018 by encompassing the entire section of Kunora e Lurës, former Zall-Gjocaj National Park, and Dejë Mountain. The park was originally established in 1966 to protect the various ecosystems and biodiversity as Lura National Park. The altitude vary from 1,500–2,300 m (4,921–7,546 ft). The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has listed the park as Category II. Nevertheless, it is described as an important Bird and Plant Area, because it supports significant bird and plant species.In behalf to a great variability in elevation, Lurë-Dejës Mt National Park is densely populated in vegetation. Higher plant life consists mainly of both coniferous and deciduous trees, particularly around the shores of the lakes. The most common tree native to Lurë is the european beech along with silver fir, black pine, red pine and bosnian pine. Especially protected is the balkan pine, which is threatened with extinction and only common in the west of the Balkan Peninsula. The southern section of the park has a meadow of multicolour flowers and several coniferous trees, which is called the Field of Mares, offering pristine views over the landscape. In terms of phytogeography, the park falls within the Pindus Mountains mixed forests terrestrial ecoregion of the Palearctic Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub.

The park shelters numerous species. Most important wildlife inhabiting the park includes the european brown bear, eurasian lynx, eurasian wolf, european pine marten, roe deer and western capercaillie. Small mammals include the red squirrel and edible dormouse. The twelve glacial lakes within the national park were formed during the ice age. They are located in the northeastern part of the nation in the Dibër County at an elevation between 1,200 and 1,500 m (3,937 and 4,921 ft). Each lake carries a name associated with its most characteristic feature.

Zall Gjoçaj, part of the expanded park, is an intensively fissured and mountainous landscape with a great variety of natural features including valleys, glacial lakes and dense forests without human intervention. Elevations in the area vary from 600 metres to over 2,000 metres above the Adriatic. The geomorphological conditions of the region reflects the dynamic geological history, tectonic movements and erosive activity of the rivers flowing through the park.

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Lutrogale

Lutrogale is a genus of otters, with only one extant species—the smooth-coated otter.

Marten

The martens constitute the genus Martes within the subfamily Guloninae, in the family Mustelidae. Martens are slender, agile animals, adapted to living in taigas, and are found in coniferous and northern deciduous forests across the Northern Hemisphere. They have bushy tails and large paws with partially retractible claws. The fur varies from yellowish to dark brown, depending on the species, and, in many cases, is valued by fur trappers.

Mustelinae

Mustelinae is a subfamily of family Mustelidae, which includes weasels, ferrets amd minks.It was formerly defined in a paraphyletic manner to also include wolverines, martens, and many other mustelids, to the exclusion of the otters (Lutrinae).

Nyctereutes

Nyctereutes is an Old World genus of the family Canidae, consisting of just one living species, the raccoon dog of East Asia. Nyctereutes appeared about 9.0 million years ago (Mya), with all but one species becoming extinct before the Pleistocene.

Native to East Asia, the raccoon dog has been intensively bred for fur in Europe and especially in Russia during the twentieth century. Specimens have escaped or have been introduced to increase production and formed populations in Eastern Europe. It is currently expanding rapidly in the rest of Europe, where its presence is undesirable because it is considered to be a harmful and invasive species.

Pirin

The Pirin Mountain (Bulgarian: Пирин) are a mountain range in southwestern Bulgaria, with Vihren at an altitude of 2,914 m being the highest peak. One hypothessis is the mountain was named after Perun, the highest god of the Slavic pantheon and the god of thunder and lightning. Another version is that the etymology of the range derives from the Thracian word Perinthos, meaning "Rocky Mountain".

The range extends about 80 km from the north-west to the south-east and is about 40 km wide, spanning a territory of 2,585 km2 (998 sq mi). To the north Pirin is separated from Bulgaria's highest mountain range, the Rila Mountain, by the Predel saddle, while to the south it reaches the Slavyanka Mountain. To the west is located the valley of the river Struma and to the east the valley of the river Mesta separates it from the Rhodope Mountains. Pirin is dotted with more than a hundred glacial lakes and is also the home of Europe's southernmost glaciers, Snezhnika and Banski Suhodol.

The northern part of the range, which is also the highest one, is protected by the Pirin National Park, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. Pirin is noted for its rich flora and fauna, as well as for the presence of a number of relict species. Much of the area is forested, with some of the best preserved conifer woods in Bulgaria, holding important populations of the Balkan endemic species Macedonian pine, Bosnian pine and Bulgarian fir. Animals include many species of high conservation value, such as brown bear, gray wolf, wildcat, European pine marten, wild boar, red deer, roe deer, chamois, etc.

The combination of favourable natural conditions and varied historical heritage contribute makes Pirin an important tourist destination. The town of Bansko, situated on the north-eastern slopes of the mountain, has grown to be the primary ski and winter sports centre in the Balkans. A number of settlements at the foothills of Pirin have mineral spring and are spa resorts — Banya, Dobrinishte, Gotse Delchev, Sandanski, etc. Melnik at the south-western foothills of the mountain is Bulgaria's smallest town and is an architectural reserve. Within a few kilometres from the town are the Melnik Earth Pyramids and the Rozhen Monastery.

Sable

The sable (Martes zibellina) is a species of marten, a small carnivorous mammal primarily inhabiting the forest environments of Russia, from the Ural Mountains throughout Siberia, and northern Mongolia. Its habitat also borders eastern Kazakhstan, China, North Korea and Hokkaidō, Japan. Its range in the wild originally extended through European Russia to Poland and Scandinavia. Historically, it has been hunted for its highly valued dark brown or black fur, which remains a luxury good to this day. While hunting is still common in Russia, most fur on the market is now commercially farmed.

Silkosiya Reserve

Silkosia (Bulgarian: Силкосия) is a nature reserve in Strandzha Nature Park, located in the homonymous mountain, southeastern Bulgaria. Its territory close to the villages Kosti and Balgari. Silkosia is the oldest reserve in the country, declared on 23 July 1931 in order to protect the evergreen bushes unique for Europe. It encompasses part of the Veleka river catchment area with a territory of 389.6 ha or 3.896 km2. The terrain is various, in the lower parts there are predominantly swamp areas with typical Central European flora. The reserve encompasses territory between 100 and 250 m altitude and is thus among the lowest-lying nature reserves in the country.

Stara Reka Reserve

Stara Reka (Bulgarian: Стара река, meaning Old river) is one of the nine nature reserves in the Central Balkan National Park in central Bulgaria. Stara Reka was established on 19 March 1981 to protect the unique ecosystems of the Balkan Mountains. It spans an area of 1974.7 hectares, or 19.747km2.

Tandövala

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Vincent Wildlife Trust

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Wildcat

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The wildcat species differ in fur pattern, tail, and size: the European wildcat has long fur and a bushy tail with a rounded tip; the smaller African wildcat is more faintly striped, has short sandy-gray fur and a tapering tail; the Asiatic wildcat (F. lybica ornata) is spotted.The wildcat and the other members of the cat family had a common ancestor about 10–15 million years ago. The European wildcat evolved during the Cromerian Stage about 866,000 to 478,000 years ago; its direct ancestor was Felis lunensis. The silvestris and lybica lineages probably diverged about 173,000 years ago.The wildcat has been categorized as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List since 2002, since it is widely distributed, and the global population is considered stable and exceeding 20,000 mature individuals. However, in some range countries both wildcat species are considered threatened by introgressive hybridisation with the domestic cat (F. catus) and transmission of diseases. Localized threats include being hit by vehicles, and persecution.The association of African wildcats and humans appears to have developed along with the establishment of settlements during the Neolithic Revolution, when rodents in grain stores of early farmers attracted wildcats. This association ultimately led to it being tamed and domesticated: the domestic cat is the direct descendant of the African wildcat. It was one of the revered cats in ancient Egypt. The European wildcat has been the subject of mythology and literature.

Extant Carnivora species

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