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European Polecat (Mustela putorius) - Wiki latin dict size=85   common dict size=512
Image Info Original File Name: Ilder-European Polecat (Mustela putorius).jpg Resolution: 1000x634 File Size: 733076 Bytes Date: 2005:07:31 09:58:31 Camera: Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL (Canon) F number: f/4.5 Exposure: 1/125 sec Focal Length: 135/1 Upload Time: 2007:10:23 10:55:02
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Subject European Polecat (Mustela putorius) - Wiki

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European Polecat (Mustela putorius) - Wiki

European Polecat
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

[Photo] European Polecats (Mustela putorius) at Skandinavisk Dyrepark, Djursland, Denmark (Da: Ildere (Mustela putorius) fra Skandinavisk Dyrepark, Djursland, Danmark). Date: 31. juli 2005. Please credit: Malene Thyssen,
Copyright (C) 2005, Malene Thyssen
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

The European Polecat (Mustela putorius), also known as a fitch, is a member of the Mustelidae family, and is related to the stoats, otters, weasels, and minks. They are dark brown with a lighter bandit-like mask across the face, pale yellow underbody fur, a long tail and short legs. They are somewhat larger than weasels, weighing between 0.7 kg for females to 1.7 kg for males, but smaller than otters.

Polecats live in most of the countries of Europe. They are mainly nocturnal and usually found in woodlands, farmlands, and wetlands. They often make dens in stream banks or under tree roots. Mainly carnivorous, they feed largely on frogs and voles, but will also catch rats and other small prey. They require a home range of about a square kilometer. The pattern of polecat predation on frogs was found to be sex selective and predation by polecats is found to influence sex ratio, male abundance and sexual conflict in a frog mating system, restricting the opportunity for multiple mating (see Thierry Lod??). Polecats (mainly dark phenotype) are able to hybridize with the rare European mink and have fertile hybrids (see Lod?? Thierry, Journal of Heredity). In some parts of England, the abandoning of domestic ferrets has led to ferret-polecat hybrids living in the wild that are almost indistinguishable from pure polecats. Although Polecats were chiefly polygynous, but females could show polyandry and, related to sexual conflict, the mating system could change with environmental conditions. Note that sexual conflict may result into sexually antagonistic co-evolution, in which one sex evolves a "manipulative" character which is countered by a "resistance" trait in the other sex. Deliberate homosexuality was also observed (Thierry Lod??) in wild polecats.

Other species of polecat include the Steppe Polecat (M. eversmanni) and the European Mink (M. lutreola). Most zoologists believe that the domestic ferret (M. putorius furo) is descended from the European Polecat, or possibly from a hybrid of the European and steppe varieties. The Zorilla, also called the striped polecat (Ictonyx striatus), lives in subsaharan Africa.
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