Yellow-throated marten

The yellow-throated marten (Martes flavigula) is an Asian marten species, which is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List due to its wide distribution, evidently relatively stable population, occurrence in a number of protected areas, and lack of major threats.[1]

The yellow-throated marten is also known as the kharza, and is the largest marten in the Old World, with the tail making up more than half its length. Its fur is brightly colored, consisting of a unique blend of black, white, golden-yellow and brown.[4] It is an omnivore, whose sources of food range from fruit and nectar[5] to small deer.[6][7] The yellow-throated marten is a fearless animal with few natural predators, because of its powerful build,[7] its bright coloration and unpleasant odor. It shows little fear of humans or dogs, and is easily tamed.[8]

Although similar in several respects to the smaller beech marten, it is sharply differentiated from other martens by its unique color and the structure of its baculum. It is probably the most ancient form of marten, having likely originated during the Pliocene, as indicated by its geographical distribution and its atypical coloration.[9]

The first written description of the yellow-throated marten in the Western World is given by Thomas Pennant in his History of Quadrupeds (1781), in which he named it "White-cheeked Weasel". Pieter Boddaert featured it in his Elenchus Animalium with the name Mustela flavigula. For a long period after the Elenchus' publication, the existence of the yellow-throated marten was considered doubtful by many zoologists, until a skin was presented to the Museum of the East India Company in 1824 by Thomas Hardwicke.[10]

Yellow-throated marten
Temporal range: Pliocene – Recent
Martes flavigula, yellow-throated marten
Martes flavigula indochinensis from Kaeng Krachan National Park
Scientific classification
Pinel, 1792
M. flavigula
Binomial name
Martes flavigula
Boddaert, 1785

M. f. flavigula (Boddaert, 1785)
M. f. chrysospila (Pocock, 1936), Taiwan
M. f. robinsoni, Java

Yellow-throated Marten area
Yellow-throated marten range
Yellow-throated Marten
Photographed in Tungnath, Chopta, Uttarakhand, India
Yellow-throated marten from Corbett Tiger Reserve
Photographed in Jim Corbett Tiger Reserve, Ramnagar, Nainital, Uttarakhand, India


Skull, as illustrated in Blanford's The Fauna of British India

The yellow-throated marten is a large, robust, muscular and flexible animal with an elongated thorax, a small pointed head, a long neck and a very long tail which is about 2/3 as long as its body. The tail is not as bushy as that of other martens, and thus seems longer than it actually is. The limbs are relatively short and strong, with broad feet.[4] The ears are large and broad, but short with rounded tips. The soles of the feet are covered with coarse, flexible hairs, though the digital and foot pads are naked and the paws are weakly furred.[11] The skull is similar to that of the beech marten, but is much larger. The baculum is S-shaped, with four blunt processes occurring on the tip. It is larger than other Old World martens; males measure 500–719 mm (19.7–28.3 in) in body length, while females measure 500–620 mm (20–24 in). Males weigh 2.5–5.7 kg (5.5–12.6 lb), while females weigh 1.6–3.8 kg (3.5–8.4 lb).[12] The anal glands sport two unusual protuberances, which can be used to secrete a strong smelling liquid for defensive purposes.[8]

The yellow-throated marten has relatively short fur which lacks the fluffiness of the pine marten, sable and beech marten. The winter fur differs from that of other martens by its relative shortness, its harshness and its luster. It is also not as dense, fluffy and compact as that of other martens. The hairs on the tail are short and of equal length over the whole tail. The summer fur is shorter, sparser, less compact and lustrous. The color of the pelage is unique among martens, being bright and variegated. The top of the head is blackish brown with shiny brown highlights, while the cheeks are somewhat more reddish, with a mixture of white hair tips. The back of the ears are black, while he inner portions are covered with yellowish grey. The fur is a shiny brownish-yellow color with a golden tone from the occiput along the surface of the back. The color becomes browner on the hind quarters. The flanks and belly are bright yellowish in tone. The chest and lower part of the throat are a brighter, orange-golden color than the back and belly. The chin and lower lips are pure white. The front paws and lower forelimbs are pure black, while the upper parts of the limbs are the same color as the front of the back. The tail is of a shiny pure black color, though the tip has a light, violet wash. The base of the tail is greyish brown.[11] The contrasting marks of the head and throat are likely recognition marks.[8]

Behavior and ecology

MSU V2P1b - Martes flavigula aterrima painting
Painting of yellow-throated martens attacking a musk deer by A. N. Komarov

Territorial behavior and reproduction

The yellow-throated marten holds extensive, but not permanent, home-ranges. It actively patrols its territory, having been known to cover over 10 to 20 km in a single day and night. It primarily hunts on the ground, but can climb trees proficiently, being capable of making jumps up to 8 to 9 meters in distance between branches. After March snowfalls, the yellow-throated marten restricts its activities up treetops.[13] Estrus occurs twice a year, from mid-February to late March and from late June to early August. During these periods, the males fight each other for access to females. Litters typically consist of two or three kits and rarely four.[7]


The yellow-throated marten is a diurnal hunter, which usually hunts in pairs, but may also hunt in packs of three or more. It preys on rats, mice, hares, snakes, lizards, eggs and ground nesting birds such as pheasants and francolins. It is reported to kill cats and poultry. It has been known to feed on human corpses, and was once thought to be able to attack an unarmed man in groups of 3 to 4.[5] The yellow-throated marten may prey on small ungulates.[6] In the Himalayas and Burma, it is reported to frequently kill muntjac fawns,[5] while in Ussuriland the base of its diet consists of musk deer, particularly in winter. The young of larger ungulate species are also taken, but within a weight range of 10 to 12 kg. In winter, the yellow-throated marten hunts musk deer by driving them onto ice. Two or three yellow-throated martens can consume a musk deer carcass in 2 to 3 days. Other ungulate species preyed upon by the yellow-throated marten include young wapiti, spotted deer, roe deer and goral.[6] Wild boar piglets are also taken on occasion.[7] It may prey on panda cubs[14] and smaller marten species, such as sables.[6] In areas where it is sympatric with tigers, the yellow-throated marten may trail them and feed on their kills.[7] Like other martens, it supplements its diet with nectar and fruit,[5] and is therefore considered to be an important seed disperser.[15] The yellow-throated marten has few predators, but occasionally may fall foul of much larger carnivores; remains of sporadic individuals have turned up in the scat or stomachs of Siberian tigers and Asian black bears.[16][17]

Subspecies and Vernacular names

As of 2005, nine subspecies are recognized.[18]

The name kharza is derived from the Russian харза́ (xarzá).[23] Other local names include:

Distribution and habitat

The yellow-throated marten occurs in Afghanistan and Pakistan, in the Himalayas of India, Nepal and Bhutan, the Korean Peninsula, southern China, Taiwan and eastern Russia. In the south, its range extends to Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, the Malay Peninsula, Laos, Cambodia and Viet Nam.[1]

In northeastern India, it has been reported in Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Himalayan West Bengal and Assam. In the Sunda Shelf it occurs in Borneo, Sumatra, and Java.[24] In Pakistan, it has been reported in different valleys of Gilgit Baltistan, Deosai National Park, Shandur National Park, Phander Valley, Ghizer Valley and Danyor Valley.

In Nepal's Kanchenjunga Conservation Area, it has been recorded up to 4,510 m (14,800 ft) elevation in alpine meadow.[25]


Nürnberg Martes flavigula Nürnberg

In Nuremberg Zoo (Tiergarten Nürnberg), Germany


Face, nose and anal glands, as illustrated in Pocock's The Fauna of British India. Mammalia Vol 2


Paws, as illustrated in the same volume


Skull and dentition, as illustrated in the same volume

Martes flavigula (Indian marten) fur skin




  1. ^ a b c Chutipong, W.; Duckworth, J.W.; Timmins, R.J.; Choudhury, A.; Abramov, A.V.; Roberton, S.; Long, B.; Rahman, H., Hearn, A., Dinets, V. & Willcox, D.H.A. (2016). "Martes flavigula". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2016: e.T41649A45212973. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-1.RLTS.T41649A45212973.en. Retrieved 29 October 2018.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ Nascimento, F. O. do (2014). "On the correct name for some subfamilies of Mustelidae (Mammalia, Carnivora)". Papéis Avulsos de Zoologia (São Paulo). 54 (21): 307–313. doi:10.1590/0031-1049.2014.54.21.
  3. ^ Law, C. J.; Slater, G. J.; Mehta, R. S. (2018-01-01). "Lineage Diversity and Size Disparity in Musteloidea: Testing Patterns of Adaptive Radiation Using Molecular and Fossil-Based Methods". Systematic Biology. 67 (1): 127–144. doi:10.1093/sysbio/syx047.
  4. ^ a b Heptner & Sludskii 2002, pp. 905–906
  5. ^ a b c d Pocock 1941, pp. 336
  6. ^ a b c d Heptner & Sludskii 2002, pp. 915–916
  7. ^ a b c d e Heptner & Sludskii 2002, pp. 919
  8. ^ a b c Pocock 1941, pp. 337
  9. ^ Heptner & Sludskii 2002, pp. 910
  10. ^ Horsfield, T. (1851). A catalogue of the Mammalia in the Museum of the East-India Company. London: J. & H. Cox.
  11. ^ a b Heptner & Sludskii 2002, pp. 906–907
  12. ^ Heptner & Sludskii 2002, pp. 907–908
  13. ^ Heptner & Sludskii 2002, pp. 917–918
  14. ^ Servheen, C.; Herrero, S.; Peyton, B.; Pelletier, K.; Kana M. and Moll, J. (1999). Bears: status survey and conservation action plan, Volume 44 of IUCN/SSC action plans for the conservation of biological diversity, IUCN, ISBN 2-8317-0462-6
  15. ^ Zhou, Y., Slade, E., Newman, C., Wang, X., & Zhang, S. (2008). Frugivory and Seed Dispersal by the Yellow-Throated Marten, Martes flavigula, in a Subtropical Forest of China. Journal of Tropical Ecology 24: 219–223.
  16. ^ Kerley, L. L., Mukhacheva, A. S., Matyukhina, D. S., Salmanova, E., Salkina, G. P., & Miquelle, D. G. (2015). A comparison of food habits and prey preference of Amur tiger (Panthera tigris altaica Timminck, 1884) at three sites in the Russian Far East. Integrative zoology.
  17. ^ Hwang, M. H., Garshelis, D. L., & Wang, Y. (2002). Diets of Asiatic black bears in Taiwan, with methodological and geographical comparisons. Ursus: 111–125.
  18. ^ Wozencraft, W.C. (2005). "Order Carnivora". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  19. ^ Pocock 1941, pp. 331–337
  20. ^ Heptner & Sludskii 2002, pp. 914
  21. ^ Pocock 1941, pp. 338
  22. ^ Pocock 1941, pp. 339
  23. ^ Wiktionary
  24. ^ Proulx, G., Aubry, K., Birks, J., Buskirk, S., Fortin, C., Frost, H., Krohn, W., Mayo, L., Monakhov, V., Payer, D. and Saeki, M. (2005). "World Distribution and Status of the Genus Martes in 2000" (PDF). In Harrison, D. J., Fuller, A. K., Proulx, G. Martens and Fishers (Martes) in Human-altered Environments. New York: Springer-Verlag. pp. 21–76. doi:10.1007/b99487. ISBN 978-0-387-22580-7.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter (link)
  25. ^ Appel, A.; Khatiwada, A. P. (2014). "Yellow-throated Martens Martes flavigula in the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area, Nepal". Small Carnivore Conservation 50: 14–19.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)


External links


BestZOO is a small zoo in Best, North Brabant, Netherlands. It opened in 1930 as Vleut the Zoo, and was owned and operated by the van Laarhoven family until purchased by Zodiac Zoos in 2007. Zodiac Zoos upgraded many of the old exhibits to more naturalistic settings, but sold them to Jos Nooren in 2010 before all upgrades were completed.

The zoo participates in several European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) European Endangered Species Programmes (EEP) programs, including Edwards's pheasant, black-and-white ruffed lemur, Colombian spider monkey and Sri Lankan leopard.

Chitral National Park

Chitral Gol National Park (Urdu: چترال گول نیشنل پارک‎) is one of the National Parks of Pakistan. It is located in Chitral District in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan beside the Chitral River, at a distance of two hours drive from Chitral town. The park is also known as Chitral National Park.

Dachigam National Park

Dachigam National Park is located 22 kilometers from Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir. It covers an area of 500 km2. The name of the park literally stands for "ten villages" which could be in memory of the ten villages that were relocated for its formation. These ten villages were living in this region before the World War I the beginning of the early 20th century. The main gate entrance is very close to the New Theed general bus stand on the either side of Darul Uloom Kousaria.The park has been a protected area since 1910, first under the care of the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir and later under the observation of the concerned government authorities. It was initially created to ensure clean drinking water supply for the city of Srinagar. It was upgraded and declared a National Park in the year 1981.


Guloninae is a subfamily of the mammal family Mustelidae distributed across Eurasia and the Americas. It includes martens and the fisher, tayra and wolverine. These genera were formerly included within a paraphyletic definition of the mustelid subfamily Mustelinae.

Most gulonine species are arboreal to a degree. Some of the fashion furs come from this subfamily, i.e. sable, marten.

Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park

Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park (formerly Black Mountains National Park) covers an area of 1,730 square kilometres (670 sq mi) in central Bhutan. It protects a large area of the Black Mountains, a sub−range of the Himalayan Range System.

The park occupies most of the Trongsa District, as well as parts of: Sarpang, Tsirang, Wangdue Phodrang, and Zhemgang Districts.

The park is bound to the east by the Mangde Chhu, and reaches the Sankosh River−Punatsangchu basin to the west. Jigme Singye abuts Royal Manas National Park to the southeast.

Along the border of the park from the north to the southeast run Bhutan's main east-west and north-south highways. It is also connected via biological corridors to other national parks in northern, eastern, central, and southern Bhutan. Habitats of the Eastern Himalayan broadleaf forests ecoregion are protected within the park

Kaema Plateau

The Kaema Plateau is a highland in North Korea. It is surrounded by the Rangrim Mountains, the Macheollyeong Mountains and the Bujeollyeong Mountains. Elevation varies between 700 and 2,000 meters and is approximately 40,000 square kilometers. The Kaema Plateau slopes downward towards the northern border of the People's Republic of China and is the largest tableland in Korea; it is often called "The roof of Korea". In North Korea, the Kaema Plateau is divided into Kaema Plateau, Jagang Plateau, and Baekmu Plateau (in Musan). Up to approximately one million years ago, the Kaema Plateau was an extension of the Manchurian plains, as such the rivers Hochon and Changjin were tributaries of Songhua River, however basalt from Baekdu Mountain accumulated in Changbai Korean Autonomous County, directing the rivers into Amnok River in modern times, consequently valleys were formed by the tributaries in the ensuing millennia. Some flat terrain still remains in some part in southeastern part of the plateau.

Kutai National Park

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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.

Mount Gede Pangrango National Park

Mount Gede Pangrango National Park is a national park in West Java, Indonesia. The park is centred on two volcanoes—Mount Gede and Mount Pangrango—and is 150 km² in area.It evolved from already existing conservation areas, such as Cibodas Botanical Gardens, Cimungkat Nature Reserve, Situgunung Recreational Park and Mount Gede Pangrango Nature Reserve, and has been the site of important biological and conservation research over the last century. In 1977 UNESCO declared it part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves.


The Mustelidae (; from Latin mustela, weasel) are a family of carnivorous mammals, including weasels, badgers, otters, ferrets, martens, mink, and wolverines, among others. Mustelids are diverse and the largest family in the order Carnivora, suborder Caniformia. Mustelidae comprises about 56-60 species across eight subfamilies.

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Rawal lake

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Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park

Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park is the ninth national park in Nepal and was established in 2002. It is located in the country's mid-hills on the northern fringe of the Kathmandu Valley and named after Shivapuri Peak of 2,732 m (8,963 ft) altitude. It covers an area of 159 km2 (61 sq mi) in the districts of Kathmandu, Nuwakot and Sindhupalchowk, adjoining 23 Village Development Committees. In the west, the protected area extends to the Dhading District.

Simly Dam

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The sumxu, Chinese lop-eared cat, drop-eared cat, droop-eared cat, or hanging-ear cat, all names referring to its characteristic feature of pendulous ears, was a possibly mythical, long-haired, lop-eared type of cat or cat-like creature, now considered extinct, if it ever actually existed. The descriptions are based on reports from travellers, on a live specimen reportedly taken to Hamburg by a sailor, and on a taxidermy specimen exhibited in Germany. The cats were supposedly valued as pets, but was also described as a food animal. The last reported Chinese lop-eared cat was in 1938. It is believed by some to have been a mutation similar to that found in the Scottish Fold. The name sumxu originally described the yellow-throated marten, but a series of mistranslations caused the name to be applied to the alleged cat or cat-like animal.

Thung Salaeng Luang National Park

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Zabarwan Range

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Subspecies Trinomial authority Description Range Synonyms
Indian kharza
Martes f. flavigula

(Nominate subspecies) Yellow-throated Marten

Bodaert, 1785 A large subspecies distinguished by the absence of a naked area of skin above the plantar pad of the hind foot, a larger mat of hair between the plantar and carpal pads of the forefoot and by its longer, more luxuriant winter coat[19] Jammu & Kashmir eastwards through Northern India, the Himalayas to Assam, upper Burma, and southeastern Tibet and southern Kham chrysogaster (C. E. H. Smith, 1842)

hardwickei (Horsfield, 1828)
kuatunensis (Bonhote, 1901)
leucotis (Bechstein, 1800)
melina (Kerr, 1792)
melli (Matschie, 1922)
quadricolor (Shaw, 1800)
szetchuensis (Hilzheimer, 1910)
typica (Bonhote, 1901)
yuenshanensis (Shih, 1930)

Amur subspecies
Martes f. borealis

MSU V2P1b - Martes flavigula aterrima painting

Radde, 1862 Distinguished from flavigula by its denser and longer winter fur and somewhat larger general dimensions[20] Amur and Primorsky Krais, former Manchuria and the Korean Peninsula koreana (Mori, 1922)
Formosan subspecies
Martes f. chrysospila
Swinhoe, 1866 Taiwan xanthospila (Swinhoe, 1870)
Hainan subspecies
Martes f. hainana
Hsu and Wu, 1981 Hainan island
Sumatran subspecies
Martes f. henrici
Schinz, 1845 Sumatra
Indochinese subspecies
Martes f. indochinensis

Martes flavigula, yellow-throated marten

Kloss, 1916 Distinguished from flavigula by the presence of a naked area of skin above the plantar pad of the hind feet and the area between the plantar and carpal pads on the forefeet. The winter coat is shorter and less luxuriant, with the color being paler, rather yellower on the shoulders and upper back, the loins are less deeply pigmented and the nape is more profusely speckled with yellow. The belly is a dirty white in color and the throat pale yellow.[21] Northern Tenasserim, Thailand and Vietnam
Malaysian subspecies
Martes f. peninsularis
Bonhote, 1901 Similar to indochinensis, but distinguished by its brown, rather than black, head, with the nape being the same color as the shoulders, being usually buff or yellowish brown. The shoulders and upper back are not as yellow as in indochinensis and the abdomen is always darkish brown, while the throat varies from orange-yellow to cream. The fur is short and thin[22] Southern Tenasserim and the Malay Peninsula
Javan subspecies
Martes f. robinsoni
Pocock, 1936 western Java
Bornean subspecies
Martes f. saba
Chasen and Kloss, 1931 Borneo
Extant Carnivora species

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