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Biology and Conservation of Musteloids

Biology and Conservation of Musteloids

Biology and Conservation of Musteloids

Edited by David W. Macdonald, Chris Newman, and Lauren A. Harrington

  • The first specific coverage of musteloid conservation biology
  • Edited by world-renowned specialists in the field
  • 9 review chapters cover hot topics including evolution, disease, and management
  • 20 case study chapters ensure comprehensive geographic and taxonomic coverage
  • Provides a conceptual framework for future research and applied management
  • The third volume in a trilogy of books on the biology and conservation of carnivores



The musteloids are the most diverse super-family among carnivores, ranging from little known, exotic, and highly-endangered species to the popular and familiar, and include a large number of introduced invasives. They feature terrestrial, fossorial, arboreal, and aquatic members, ranging from tenacious predators to frugivorous omnivores, span weights from a 100g weasel to 30kg giant otters, and express a range of social behaviours from the highly gregarious to the fiercely solitary. Musteloids are the subjects of extensive cutting-edge research from phylogenetics to the evolution of sociality and through to the practical implications of disease epidemiology, introduced species management, and climate change. Their diversity and extensive biogeography inform a wide spectrum of ecological theory and conservation practice.

The editors of this book have used their combined 90 years of experience working on the behaviour and ecology of wild musteloids to draw together a unique network of the world's most successful and knowledgeable experts. The book begins with nine review chapters covering hot topics in musteloid biology including evolution, disease, social communication, and management. These are followed by twenty extensive case studies providing a range of comprehensive geographic and taxonomic coverage. The final chapter synthesises what has been discussed in the book, and reflects on the different and diverse conservation needs of musteloids and the wealth of conservation lessons they offer.

Biology and Conservation of Musteloids provides a conceptual framework for future research and applied conservation management that is suitable for graduate level students as well as professional researchers in musteloid and carnivore ecology and conservation biology. It will also be of relevance and use to conservationists and wildlife managers.


Reviews and Awards


"[This] volume is a must have for all musteloid researchers, conservationists, and enthusiasts. As a fellow musteloid researcher, I have used this book quite often in my research. The knowledge and expertise in musteloid biology gathered in this volume is unparalleled." - Chris J. Law, Mammalogy, American Museum of Natural History, New York, New York

"The Biology and Conservation of Musteloids' is a comprehensive synthesis of and much-needed addition to its field. As well as offering a valuable reference for everything we know about musteloid ecology, the book also identifies avenues for further work and research, in both ecology and conservation." - Lydia Murphy, Orynx - The International Journal of Conservation 

"This is a mighty and well-referenced work that belongs in every library... Highly recommended." - CHOICE

"the overall effect is one of coherence, clarity and a wealth of evidence-based knowledge. This text will be of fundamental and lasting value to all musteloid researchers and graduate students. It is also likely to be of use to those interested in the ecology and conservation of carnivores and the management of wildlife." - Sue Howarth CBiol, Royal Society of Biology

  • About the Authors

    Author Information

    Edited by David W. Macdonald, Director, Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, University of Oxford, Chris Newman, Senior Research Associate, Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, University of Oxford, and Lauren A. Harrington, Senior Researcher, Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, University of Oxford

    David Macdonald is the founder and Director of the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit at Oxford University, Senior Research Fellow in Wildlife Conservation at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, and Professor of Wildlife Conservation at the University of Oxford. A recent survey by BBC Wildlife magazine listed him amongst the ten most influential living conservationists. He won the 2005 Dawkins Prize for Conservation and has published over 600 refereed papers on aspects of mammalian behaviour, ecology, and conservation. In 2006 he was awarded the American Society of Mammalogists Merriam Award for scientific contributions to mammalogy and, in 2007, the equivalent gold medal from the British Mammal Society. In 2007 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. David is also known for his books and television documentaries, and has twice been awarded the Natural History Author of the Year.

    Chris Newman joined the WildCRU in 1991. He is the co-ordinator for the WildCRUs Badger Project, specialising in life-history evolution and the effects of climate change and disease on population dynamics. His work is highly inter-disciplinary, drawing together insights from demography, animal behaviour, physiology, genetics and parasitology to synthesise new ideas and comprehensive approaches to understand wildlife biology. He collaborates extensively with other researchers internationally, particularly in Asia, and is an author of over 100 peer reviewed papers and book chapters. As a former Earthwatch Principal Investigator, he is also an advocate of public and corporate participation in conservation initiatives. Chris is the Mammals Officer for the Zoology Departments Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Board. Outside of academia, he manages 350 acres of Forest Stewardship Council certified woodland in Nova Scotia, Canada, including 16 acres growing Haskap berries.

    Lauren Harrington has worked with a number of mustelid species that include the most endangered mustelid, once extinct in the wild the black-footed ferret, and the most widespread invasive mustelid the American mink. She developed a passion for mustelids during long nights spent on the prairies of Wyoming and Montana radio-tracking some of the first captive-bred black-footed ferrets to be released into the wild. Lauren has been a member of the WildCRU since 1996, and has published a number of refereed papers on diverse topics, including diving behaviour of mink, interactions and coexistence between small carnivores, wildlife management, and reintroduction, focusing predominantly on UK species. Lauren formerly served as an Independent Monitoring Partner for the trial release of beavers in Scotland, and is currently a member of the IUCN Otter Specialist Group.


    Clayton D. Apps, Keith B. Aubry, Dean E. Biggins, Melody Brooks, Christina D. Buesching, Andrew Byrne, Wenwen Chen, Jeffrey P. Copeland, Samuel A. Cushman, Jiska van Dijk, Christl A. Donnelly, Jerry W. Dragoo, David A. Eads, Stephen Ellwood, James A. Estes, Aaron N Facka, Elaine J. Fraser, Mourad W Gabriel, Jonathan H Gilbert, Matthew E. Gompper, Jessica Groenendijk, Frank Hajek, Lauren A. Harrington, Christine C. Hass, Andrew J. Hearn, Kimberly Heinemeyer, J Mark Higley, Ben T. Hirsch, Yibo Hu, Paul J. Johnson, Yayoi Kaneko, Roland Kays, Carolyn M. King, Trevor A. Kinley, Andrew C. Kitchener, Richard W. Klafki, Klaus-Peter Koepfli, Xavier Lambin, Arild Landa, Scott LaPoint, David W. Macdonald, Tiit Maran, Jorgelina Marino, Roel May, Nicholas P McCann, Carlo Meloro, Chris Newman, Grant Norbury, Jens Persson, Madis Podra, Roger A Powell, Dunwu Qi, Joanna Ross, Wayne Spencer, John Squires, Theodore Stankowich, Craig M Thompson, M. Tim Tinker, Andrew J. Veale, Xiaoming Wang, Tzeidle N. Wasserman, Fuwen Wei, Rich D. Weir, Terrie M. Williams, Rosie Woodroffe, Zongqiang Xie, Richard Yates, Samuel I. Zeveloff, Youbing Zhou, Zhao-Min Zhou

  • Table of Contents

    Table of Contents

    Part I: Reviews
    1:Dramatis personae: an introduction to the wild musteloids, David W. Macdonald, Chris Newman, and Lauren A. Harrington
    2:The evolutionary history and molecular systematics of the Musteloidea, Klaus-Peter Koepfli, Jerry W. Dragoo, and Xiaoming Wang
    3:Form and function of the musteloids, Andrew C. Kitchener, Carlo Meloro, and Terrie M. Williams
    4:The population dynamics of bite-sized predators: prey dependence, territoriality and mobility, Xavier Lambin
    5:Communication amongst the musteloids: Signs, signals, and cues, Christina Buesching and Theodore Stankowich
    6:Musteloid sociology: the grass-roots of society, David W. Macdonald and Chris Newman
    7:People and wild native musteloids, Lauren A. Harrington, Jorgelina Marino, and Carolyn M. King
    8:Stink or swim - techniques to meet the challenges for the study and conservation of small critters that hide, swim or climb and may otherwise make themselves unpleasant, Roger A. Powell, Stephen Ellwood, Roland Kays, and Tiit Maran
    9:Musteloid Diseases - Implications for conservation and species management, Chris Newman and Andrew Bryne
    Part II: Case studies
    10:Small mustelids in New Zealand: invasion ecology in a different world, Carolyn M. King, Grant Norbury, and Andrew J.Veale
    11:The fisher as a model organism, Roger A Powell, Aaron N Facka, Mourad W Gabriel, Jonathan H Gilbert, J Mark Higley, Scott LaPoint, Nicholas P McCann, Wayne Spencer, and Craig M Thompson
    12:Quantifying loss and degradation of former American Marten habitat due to the impacts of forestry operations and associated road networks in northern Idaho, USA, Samuel A. Cushman and Tzeidle N. Wasserman
    13:Asian badgers - the same, only different: How diversity among badger societies informs socio-ecological theory and challenges conservation, Youbing Zhou, Chris Newman, Yayoi Kaneko, Christina D. Buesching, Wenwen Chen, Zhao-Min Zhou, Zongqiang Xie, and David W. Macdonald
    14:The Bornean carnivore community: Lessons from a little-known guild, Joanna Ross, Andrew J. Hearn, and David W. Macdonald
    15:Evolution, natural history, and conservation of black-footed ferrets, Dean E. Biggins and David A. Eads
    16:Control of an invasive species: the American mink in Great Britain, Elaine J. Fraser, Lauren A. Harrington, David W. Macdonald, and Xavier Lambin
    17:European mink - restoration attempts for a species on the brink of extinction, Tiit Maran, Madis Podra, Lauren A. Harrington, and David W. Macdonald
    18:Social ethology of the wolverine, Jeffrey P. Copeland, Arild Landa, Kimberly Heinemeyer, Keith B. Aubry, Jiska van Dijk, Roel May, Jens Persson, John Squires, and Richard Yates
    19:Ecotypic variation affects the conservation of American badgers endangered along their northern range extent, Rich D. Weir, Trevor A. Kinley, Richard W. Klafki, and Clayton D. Apps
    20:European badgers and the control of bovine tuberculosis in the United Kingdom, Rosie Woodroffe and Christl A. Donnelly
    21:Meline mastery of meteorological mayhem: The effects of climate changeability on European badger population dynamics, Chris Newman, Christina D. Buesching, and David W. Macdonald
    22:Giant otters: using knowledge of life history for conservation, Jessica Groenendijk, Frank Hajek, Paul J. Johnson, David W. Macdonald
    23:Advances in the physiology, behaviour and ecology of sea otters, James A. Estes, M. Tim Tinker, and Terrie M. Williams
    24:Competition and coexistence in sympatric skunks, Christine C. Hass and Jerry W. Dragoo
    25:Range decline and landscape ecology of the eastern spotted skunk, Matthew E. Gompper
    26:Kinkajou - the tree top specialist, Melody Brooks and Roland Kays
    27:On the mortality and management of a ubiquitous musteloid: the common racoon, Samuel I. Zeveloff
    28:Causes and consequences of coati sociality, Ben T. Hirsch and Matthew E. Gompper
    29:Conservation genetics of red pandas in the wild, Yibo Hu, Dunwu Qi, and Fuwen Wei
    Part III: Synthesis
    30:Beneath the umbrella: Conservation out of the limelight, David W. Macdonald, Chris Newman, and Lauren A. Harringto

PriceFrom £65.00
VAT Included
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