Pine Martin 2011

Yellowstone Park , Montana USA March 2011

The American marten (Martes americana) is a North American member of the family Mustelidae, sometimes referred to as the pine marten. The name " pine marten" is derived from the common but distinct Eurasian species of Martes. It differs from the fisher (Martes pennanti) in that it is smaller in size.

Description: The American marten is a long, slender-bodied weasel about the size of a mink with relatively large rounded ears, short limbs, and a bushy tail. American marten have a roughly triangular head and sharp nose. Their long, silky fur ranges in color from pale yellowish buff to tawny brown to almost black. Their head is usually lighter than the rest of their body, while the tail and legs are darker. American marten usually have a characteristic throat and chest bib ranging in color from pale straw to vivid orange.

Habitat: Lives in mature coniferous or mixed forests in Alaska and Canada, the Pacific Northwest of the United States and south into Northern New England and through the Rocky Mountains and Sierra Nevada.

Food: American marten are opportunistic predators, influenced by local and seasonal abundance and availability of potential prey. They require about 80 kcal/day while at rest, the equivalent of about 3 voles (Microtus, Myodes, and Phenacomys spp.). Voles dominate diets throughout the American marten's geographic range, though larger prey—particularly snowshoe hares—may be important, particularly in winter.

Life Span: American marten in captivity may live for 15 years. The oldest individual documented in a wild was 14.5 years old.

Predators: vulnerable to predation from raptors and other carnivores.


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