Biometric variation in Martes foina from mainland Greece and the Aegean Islands


Abstract: The geographical morphometric variations in the stone marten (Martes foina) from mainland Greece, the Aegean Islands, and Crete were analyzed. Samples taken from the three areas were compared regarding 18 craniometrical and 5 body size variables. According to univariate statistics, 13 skull measurements from males and 15 from females (72% and 83% of total skull variables for males and females, respectively) did not differ significantly among mainland Greece, the Aegean Islands, and Crete. The morphological differences among mainland and insular populations showed a tendency for separation (63% overall correct classification from skull measurements of males, 72.5% and 73.6% for body measurements of males and females, respectively). The resulting weak morphological variation in the stone marten does not favor the presence of a subspecies in Greece and suggests that insular populations are not endemic and belong to the same population from the mainland. Genetic analysis is needed for the revision of the taxonomy of the species in the Mediterranean area.

Keywords: Martes foina, morphology, skull, body size, stone marten

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