The stoat (''Mustela erminea''), also known as the Eurasian ermine, Beringian ermine and ermine, is a mustelid
Eurasia (, ) is the largest continental area on Earth, comprising all of Europe and Asia. Primarily in the Northern and Eastern Hemispheres, it spans from the British Isles and the Iberian Peninsula in the west to the Japanese archipelago ...
and the northern portions of
North America is a continent in the Northern Hemisphere and almost entirely within the Western Hemisphere. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the southeast by South America and the Car ...
. Because of its wide circumpolar distribution, it is listed as Least Concern
on the IUCN Red List
[ It is distinct from the ] long-tailed weasel
The long-tailed weasel (''Neogale frenata''), also known as the bridled weasel, masked ermine, or big stoat, is a species of mustelid distributed from southern Canada throughout all the United States and Mexico, southward through all of Central ... (''Neogale frenata''), also known as the "masked ermine", or "big stoat"; the two species are visually similar, especially the black tail tip.
The name ermine () is used for species in the genus '' Mustela'', especially the stoat, in its pure white winter coat, or the fur thereof.
Introduced in the late 19th century into New Zealand to control rabbits, the stoat has had a devastating effect on native bird populations. It was nominated as one of the world's top 100 "worst invaders".
Ermine fur was used in the 15th century by Catholic monarchs, who sometimes used it as the mozzetta
The mozzetta (, plural ''mozzette''; derived from almuce) is a short elbow-length sartorial vestment, a cape that covers the shoulders and is buttoned over the frontal breast area. It is worn over the rochet or cotta as part of choir dress by s ... cape. It has long been used on the ceremonial robes of members of the UK House of Lords
The House of Lords, also known as the House of Peers, is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Membership is by appointment, heredity or official function. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster i .... It was also used in capes on images such as the Infant Jesus of Prague
The Infant Jesus of Prague ( cs, Pražské Jezulátko: es, Niño Jesús de Praga) is a 16th-century wax-coated wooden statue of the Child Jesus holding a ''globus cruciger'' of Spanish origin, now located in the Discalced Carmelite Church of ....
The root word for "stoat" is likely either the Dutch word ("bold")
or the Gothic
Gothic or Gothics may refer to:
People and languages
*Goths or Gothic people, the ethnonym of a group of East Germanic tribes
**Gothic language, an extinct East Germanic language spoken by the Goths
** Crimean Gothic, the Gothic language spoken ... word (, "to push"). According to John Guillim
John Guillim (c. 1565 – 7 May 1621) of Minsterworth, Gloucestershire, was an antiquarian and officer of arms at the College of Arms in London. He is best remembered for his monumental work on heraldry, ''A Display of Heraldry'', first publ ..., in his ''Display of Heraldrie'', the word "ermine" is likely derived from Armenia
Armenia (), , group=pron officially the Republic of Armenia,, is a landlocked country in the Armenian Highlands of Western Asia.The UNbr>classification of world regions places Armenia in Western Asia; the CIA World Factbook , , and '' ..., the nation where it was thought the species originated, though other authors have linked it to the Norman French
Norman or Norman French (, french: Normand, Guernésiais: , Jèrriais: ) is a Romance language which can be classified as one of the Oïl languages along with French, Picard and Walloon. The name "Norman French" is sometimes used to describe ... from the Teutonic ( Anglo-Saxon
The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group who inhabited England in the Early Middle Ages. They traced their origins to settlers who came to Britain from mainland Europe in the 5th century. However, the ethnogenesis of the Anglo-Saxons happened w ... ). This seems to come from the Lithuanian
Lithuanian may refer to:
* Lithuanian language
* The country of Lithuania
* Grand Duchy of Lithuania
* Culture of Lithuania
* Lithuanian cuisine
* Lithuanian Jews as often called "Lithuanians" (''Lita'im'' or ''Litvaks'') by other Jew ... word . In Ireland
Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean, in north-western Europe. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel, the Irish Sea, and St George's Channel. Ireland is the seco ... (where the least weasel
The least weasel (''Mustela nivalis''), little weasel, common weasel, or simply weasel is the smallest member of the genus '' Mustela,'' family Mustelidae and order Carnivora. It is native to Eurasia, North America and North Africa, and has been ... does not occur), the stoat is referred to as a weasel, while in North America it is called a short-tailed weasel. A male stoat is called a ''dog'', ''hob'', or ''jack'', while a female is called a ''jill''. The collective noun
In linguistics, a collective noun is a word referring to a collection of things taken as a whole. Most collective nouns in everyday speech are not specific to one kind of thing. For example, the collective noun "group" can be applied to people (" ... for stoats is either ''gang'' or ''pack''.
Formerly considered a single species with a very wide circumpolar range, a 2021 study split ''M. erminea'' into 3 species: ''M. erminea
''Sensu'' is a Latin word meaning "in the sense of". It is used in a number of fields including biology, geology, linguistics, semiotics, and law. Commonly it refers to how strictly or loosely an expression is used in describing any particular ...'' (Eurasia and northern North America), '' M. richardsonii'' (most of North America), and '' M. haidarum'' (several islands off the Pacific Northwest coast).
In biological classification, subspecies is a rank below species, used for populations that live in different areas and vary in size, shape, or other physical characteristics (morphology), but that can successfully interbreed. Not all species ... are recognized. [
The stoat's direct ancestor was ''Mustela palerminea'', a common carnivore in central and eastern Europe during the Middle Pleistocene,
that spread to North America during the late Blancan
The Blancan North American Stage on the geologic timescale is the North American faunal stage according to the North American Land Mammal Ages chronology (NALMA), typically set from 4,750,000 to 1,806,000 years BP, a period of .. [Irvingtonian
The Irvingtonian North American Land Mammal Age on the geologic timescale is the North American faunal stage according to the North American Land Mammal Ages chronology (NALMA), spanning from 1.9 million – 250,000 years BP.] [ ...] The stoat is the product of a process that began 5–7 million years ago, when northern forests were replaced by open grassland, thus prompting an explosive evolution
Evolution is change in the heritable characteristics of biological populations over successive generations. These characteristics are the expressions of genes, which are passed on from parent to offspring during reproduction. Variation te ... of small, burrowing rodents. The stoat's ancestors were larger than the current form, and underwent a reduction in size as they exploited the new food source. The stoat first arose in Eurasia, shortly after the long-tailed weasel
The long-tailed weasel (''Neogale frenata''), also known as the bridled weasel, masked ermine, or big stoat, is a species of mustelid distributed from southern Canada throughout all the United States and Mexico, southward through all of Central ..., which is in a different genus ('' Neogale
''Neogale'' is a genus of mustelid native to the Americas, ranging from Alaska south to Bolivia. Members of this genus are known as New World weasels.
Members in this genus were formerly classified into the genera '' Mustela'' and '' ...''), arose as its mirror image in North America 2 million years ago. The stoat thrived during the Ice Age
An ice age is a long period of reduction in the temperature of Earth's surface and atmosphere, resulting in the presence or expansion of continental and polar ice sheets and alpine glaciers. Earth's climate alternates between ice ages and gree ..., as its small size and long body allowed it to easily operate beneath snow, as well as hunt in burrows. The stoat and the long-tailed weasel remained separated until 500,000 years ago, when falling sea level
Mean sea level (MSL, often shortened to sea level) is an average surface level of one or more among Earth's coastal bodies of water from which heights such as elevation may be measured. The global MSL is a type of vertical datuma standardised ...s exposed the Bering land bridge
Beringia is defined today as the land and maritime area bounded on the west by the Lena River in Russia; on the east by the Mackenzie River in Canada; on the north by 72 degrees north latitude in the Chukchi Sea; and on the south by the tip ....
Combined phylogenetic analyses indicate the stoat's closest living relatives are the American ermine
The American ermine or American stoat (''Mustela richardsonii'') is a species of mustelid native to most of North America.
It was long considered conspecific with the stoat (''M. erminea''), but a 2021 study found it to be a distinct ... (''M. richardsonii'') and Haida ermine
The Haida ermine (''Mustela haidarum'') is a mustelid species endemic to a few islands off the Pacific Northwest of North America, namely Haida Gwaii in Canada and the southern Alexander Archipelago in the U.S. state of Alaska.
Indigenous na ... (''M. haidarum''), the latter of which partially descends from ''M. erminea''. [ It is basal to most other members of ''Mustela'', with only the yellow-bellied (''M. kathia''), Malayan (''M. katiah''), and back-striped (''M. strigidorsa'') weasels being more basal.] The mountain weasel (''Mustela altaica'') was formerly considered its closest relative although more recent analyses have found it to be significantly more derived. It was also previously thought to be allied with members of the genus '' Neogale
''Neogale'' is a genus of mustelid native to the Americas, ranging from Alaska south to Bolivia. Members of this genus are known as New World weasels.
Members in this genus were formerly classified into the genera '' Mustela'' and '' ...'' such as the long-tailed weasel, but as those species have since been separated into a new genus, this is likely not the case.
The stoat is similar to the least weasel in general proportions, manner of posture, and movement, though the tail is relatively longer, always exceeding a third of the body length,
though it is shorter than that of the long-tailed weasel. The stoat has an elongated neck, the head being set exceptionally far in front of the shoulders. The trunk is nearly cylindrical, and does not bulge at the abdomen. The greatest circumference of body is little
more than half its length. The skull, although very similar to that of the least weasel, is relatively longer, with a narrower braincase
In human anatomy, the neurocranium, also known as the braincase, brainpan, or brain-pan is the upper and back part of the skull, which forms a protective case around the brain. In the human skull, the neurocranium includes the calvaria or skul .... The projections of the skull and teeth are weakly developed, but stronger than those of the least weasel. The eyes are round, black and protrude slightly. The whiskers
Vibrissae (; singular: vibrissa; ), more generally called Whiskers, are a type of stiff, functional hair used by mammals to sense their environment. These hairs are finely specialised for this purpose, whereas other types of hair are coarser ... are brown or white in colour, and very long. The ears are short, rounded and lie almost flattened against the skull. The claws are not retractable, and are large in proportion to the digits. Each foot has five toes. The male stoat has a curved baculum
The baculum (also penis bone, penile bone, or ''os penis'', ''os genitale'' or ''os priapi'') is a bone found in the penis of many placental mammals. It is absent from the human penis, but present in the penises of some primates, such as th ... with a proximal knob that increases in weight as it ages. Fat
In nutrition, biology, and chemistry, fat usually means any ester of fatty acids, or a mixture of such compounds, most commonly those that occur in living beings or in food.
The term often refers specifically to triglycerides (tripl ... is deposited primarily along the spine and kidneys, then on gut mesenteries, under the limbs and around the shoulders. The stoat has four pairs of nipples, though they are visible only in females.
The dimensions of the stoat are variable, but not as significantly as the least weasel's. Unusual among the Carnivora, the size of stoats tends to decrease proportionally with latitude, in contradiction to Bergmann's rule. Sexual dimorphism
Sexual dimorphism is the condition where the sexes of the same animal and/or plant species exhibit different morphological characteristics, particularly characteristics not directly involved in reproduction. The condition occurs in most anim ... in size is pronounced, with males being roughly 25% larger than females and 1.5-2.0 times their weight. On average, males measure in body length, while females measure . The tail measures in males and in females. In males, the hind foot measures , while in females it is . The height of the ear measures in males and . The skulls of males measure in length, while those of females measure . Males average in weight, while females weigh less than .
The stoat has large anal scent gland
Scent gland are exocrine glands found in most mammals. They produce semi-viscous secretions which contain pheromones and other semiochemical compounds. These odor-messengers indicate information such as status, territorial marking, mood, and ...s measuring in males and smaller in females. Scent glands are also present on the cheeks, belly and flanks. Epidermal secretions, which are deposited during body rubbing, are chemically distinct from the products of the anal scent glands, which contain a higher proportion of volatile chemicals. When attacked or being aggressive, the stoat secretes the contents of its anal glands, giving rise to a strong, musky odour produced by several sulphuric compounds. The odour is distinct from that of least weasels.
The winter fur is very dense and silky, but quite closely lying and short, while the summer fur is rougher, shorter and sparse.
In summer, the fur is sandy-brown on the back and head and a white below. The division between the dark back and the light belly is usually straight, though this trait is only present in 13.5% of Irish stoats. The stoat moults twice a year. In spring, the moult is slow, starting from the forehead, across the back, toward the belly. In autumn, the moult is quicker, progressing in the reverse direction. The moult, initiated by photoperiod
Photoperiodism is the physiological reaction of organisms to the length of night or a dark period. It occurs in plants and animals. Plant photoperiodism can also be defined as the developmental responses of plants to the relative lengths of light a ..., starts earlier in autumn and later in spring at higher latitudes. In the stoat's northern range, it adopts a completely white coat (save for the black tail-tip) during the winter period. Differences in the winter and summer coats are less apparent in southern forms of the species. In the species' southern range, the coat remains brown, but is denser and sometimes paler than in summer.
Distribution and habitat
The stoat has a
The Circumboreal Region in phytogeography is a floristic region within the Holarctic Kingdom in Eurasia and North America, as delineated by such geobotanists as Josias Braun-Blanquet and Armen Takhtajan.
It is the largest floristic region i ... range throughout North America
North America is a continent in the Northern Hemisphere and almost entirely within the Western Hemisphere. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the southeast by South America and the Car ..., Europe, and Asia
Asia (, ) is one of the world's most notable geographical regions, which is either considered a continent in its own right or a subcontinent of Eurasia, which shares the continental landmass of Afro-Eurasia with Africa. Asia covers an area .... The stoat in Europe is found as far south as 41ºN in Portugal, and inhabits most islands with the exception of Iceland, Svalbard
Svalbard ( , ), also known as Spitsbergen, or Spitzbergen, is a Norway, Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean. North of continental Europe, mainland Europe, it is about midway between the northern coast of Norway and the North Pole. The ..., the Mediterranean
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western and Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa, and on the ... islands and some small North Atlantic islands. In Japan, it is present in central mountains (northern and central Japan Alps) to northern part of Honshu
, historically called , is the largest and most populous island of Japan. It is located south of Hokkaidō across the Tsugaru Strait, north of Shikoku across the Inland Sea, and northeast of Kyūshū across the Kanmon Straits. The island sepa ... (primarily above 1,200 m) and Hokkaido. Its vertical range is from sea level to . [ In North America, it is found throughout Alaska and western ] Yukon
Yukon (; ; formerly called Yukon Territory and also referred to as the Yukon) is the smallest and westernmost of Canada's three territories. It also is the second-least populated province or territory in Canada, with a population of 43,964 as ... to most of Arctic
The Arctic ( or ) is a polar region located at the northernmost part of Earth. The Arctic consists of the Arctic Ocean, adjacent seas, and parts of Canada (Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut), Danish Realm ( Greenland), Finland, Iceland ... Canada
Canada is a country in North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering over , making it the world's second-largest country by total ... east to Greenland. Throughout the rest of North America, as well as parts of Nunavut
Nunavut ( , ; iu, ᓄᓇᕗᑦ , ; ) is the largest and northernmost territory of Canada. It was separated officially from the Northwest Territories on April 1, 1999, via the ''Nunavut Act'' and the '' Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Act'', w ... including Baffin Island and some islands in southeast Alaska, it is replaced by '' M. richardsonii''. [
Introduction to New Zealand
Stoats were introduced into New Zealand during the late 19th century to control rabbits and hares, but are now a major threat to native bird populations. The introduction of stoats was opposed by scientists in New Zealand and Britain, including the New Zealand ornithologist Walter Buller. The warnings were ignored and stoats began to be introduced from Britain in the 1880s, resulting in a noticeable decline in bird populations within six years. Stoats are a serious threat to ground- and hole-nesting birds, since the latter have very few means of escaping predation. The highest rates of stoat predation occur after seasonal gluts in southern beechmast (beechnuts), which enable the reproduction of rodents on which stoats also feed, enabling stoats to increase their own numbers. For instance, the endangered South Island takahē's wild population dropped by a third between 2006 and 2007, after a stoat plague triggered by the 2005–06
Mast, MAST or MASt may refer to:
* Mast (sailing), a vertical spar on a sailing ship
* Flagmast, a pole for flying a flag
* Guyed mast, a structure supported by guy-wires
* Mooring mast, a structure for docking an airship
* Radio mas ... wiped out more than half the takahē in untrapped areas.
Behaviour and ecology
Reproduction and development
In the Northern Hemisphere, mating occurs in the April–July period. In spring, the male's
A testicle or testis (plural testes) is the male reproductive gland or gonad in all bilaterians, including humans. It is homologous to the female ovary. The functions of the testes are to produce both sperm and androgens, primarily testoste ... are enlarged, a process accompanied by an increase of testosterone
Testosterone is the primary sex hormone and anabolic steroid in males. In humans, testosterone plays a key role in the development of male reproductive tissues such as testes and prostate, as well as promoting secondary sexual characteri ... concentration in the plasma. Spermatogenesis
Spermatogenesis is the process by which haploid spermatozoa develop from germ cells in the seminiferous tubules of the testis. This process starts with the mitotic division of the stem cells located close to the basement membrane of the tubul ... occurs in December, and the males are fertile from May to August, after which the testes regress. Female stoats are usually only in heat for a brief period, which is triggered by changes in day length. Copulation
Sexual intercourse (or coitus or copulation) is a sexual activity typically involving the insertion and thrusting of the penis into the vagina for sexual pleasure or reproduction.Sexual intercourse most commonly means penile–vaginal penetra ... can last as long as 1 hour. Stoats are not monogamous
Monogamy ( ) is a form of dyadic relationship in which an individual has only one partner during their lifetime. Alternately, only one partner at any one time ( serial monogamy) — as compared to the various forms of non-monogamy (e.g., po ..., with litters often being of mixed paternity. Stoats undergo embryonic diapause, meaning that the embryo does not immediately implant in the uterus after fertilization, but rather lies dormant for a period of nine to ten months. The gestation period
In mammals, pregnancy is the period of reproduction during which a female carries one or more live offspring from implantation in the uterus through gestation. It begins when a fertilized zygote implants in the female's uterus, and ends once it ... is therefore variable but typically around 300 days, and after mating in the summer, the offspring will not be born until the following spring – adult female stoats spend almost all their lives either pregnant or in heat. Females can reabsorb embryos and in the event of a severe winter they may reabsorb their entire litter. Males play no part in rearing the young, which are born blind, deaf, toothless and covered in fine white or pinkish down. The milk teeth
Deciduous teeth or primary teeth, also informally known as baby teeth, milk teeth, or temporary teeth,Illustrated Dental Embryology, Histology, and Anatomy, Bath-Balogh and Fehrenbach, Elsevier, 2011, page 255 are the first set of teeth in the ... erupt after three weeks, and solid food is eaten after four weeks. The eyes open after five to six weeks, with the black tail-tip appearing a week later. Lactation
Lactation describes the secretion of milk from the mammary glands and the period of time that a mother lactates to feed her young. The process naturally occurs with all sexually mature female mammals, although it may predate mammals. The proces ... ends after 12 weeks. Prior to the age of five to seven weeks, kits have poor thermoregulation
Thermoregulation is the ability of an organism to keep its body temperature within certain boundaries, even when the surrounding temperature is very different. A thermoconforming organism, by contrast, simply adopts the surrounding temperature ..., so they huddle for warmth when the mother is absent. Males become sexually mature at 10–11 months, while females are sexually mature at the age of 2–3 weeks whilst still blind, deaf and hairless, and are usually mated with adult males before being weaned
Weaning is the process of gradually introducing an infant human or another mammal to what will be its adult diet while withdrawing the supply of its mother's milk.
The process takes place only in mammals, as only mammals produce milk. The infan ....
Territorial and sheltering behaviour
Stoat territoriality has a generally mustelid spacing pattern, with male territories encompassing smaller female territories, which they defend from other males. The size of the territory and the ranging behaviour of its occupants varies seasonally, depending on the abundance of food and mates. During the breeding season, the ranges of females remain unchanged, while males either become roamers, strayers or transients. Dominant older males have territories 50 times larger than those of younger, socially inferior males. Both sexes mark their territories with
Urine is a liquid by-product of metabolism in humans and in many other animals. Urine flows from the kidneys through the ureters to the urinary bladder. Urination results in urine being excreted from the body through the urethra.
Cellular me ..., faeces
Feces ( or faeces), known colloquially and in slang as poo and poop, are the solid or semi-solid remains of food that was not digested in the small intestine, and has been broken down by bacteria in the large intestine. Feces contain a relati ... and two types of scent marks; anal drags are meant to convey territorial occupancy, and body rubbing is associated with agonistic encounters.
The stoat does not dig its own burrows, instead using the burrows and nest chambers of the rodents it kills. The skins and underfur of rodent prey are used to line the nest chamber. The nest chamber is sometimes located in seemingly unsuitable places, such as among logs piled against the walls of houses. The stoat also inhabits old and rotting stumps, under tree roots, in heaps of brushwood, haystacks, in bog hummocks, in the cracks of vacant mud buildings, in rock piles, rock clefts, and even in magpie nests. Males and females typically live apart, but close to each other. Each stoat has several dens dispersed within its range. A single den has several galleries, mainly within of the surface.
As with the least weasel, mouse-like rodents predominate in the stoat's diet. However, unlike the least weasel, which almost exclusively feeds on small
Voles are small rodents that are relatives of lemmings and hamsters, but with a stouter body; a longer, hairy tail; a slightly rounder head; smaller eyes and ears; and differently formed molars (high-crowned with angular cusps instead of low ...s, the stoat regularly preys on larger rodent and lagomorph species, and will take down individuals far larger than itself. In Russia, its prey includes rodents and lagomorphs such as European water vole
The European water vole or northern water vole (''Arvicola amphibius''), is a semi-aquatic rodent. It is often informally called the water rat, though it only superficially resembles a true rat. Water voles have rounder noses than rats, deep br ...s, common hamsters, pikas, and others, which it overpowers in their burrows. Prey species of secondary importance include small birds, fish
Fish are aquatic, craniate, gill-bearing animals that lack limbs with digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish as well as various extinct related groups. Approximately 95% of liv ..., and shrew
Shrews (family Soricidae) are small mole-like mammals classified in the order Eulipotyphla. True shrews are not to be confused with treeshrews, otter shrews, elephant shrews, West Indies shrews, or marsupial shrews, which belong to differ ...s and, more rarely, amphibians, lizard
Lizards are a widespread group of squamate reptiles, with over 7,000 species, ranging across all continents except Antarctica, as well as most oceanic island chains. The group is paraphyletic since it excludes the snakes and Amphisbaenia alt ...s, and insects. In Great Britain, European rabbits are an important food source, with the frequency in which stoats prey on them having increased between the 1960s and mid 1990s since the end of the myxomatosis epidemic. Typically, male stoats prey on rabbits more frequently than females do, which depend to a greater extent on smaller rodent species. British stoats rarely kill shrews, rat
Rats are various medium-sized, long-tailed rodents. Species of rats are found throughout the order Rodentia, but stereotypical rats are found in the genus ''Rattus''. Other rat genera include ''Neotoma'' ( pack rats), '' Bandicota'' (bandicoo ...s, squirrel
Squirrels are members of the family Sciuridae, a family that includes small or medium-size rodents. The squirrel family includes tree squirrels, ground squirrels (including chipmunks and prairie dogs, among others), and flying squirrels. Squ ...s and water voles, though rats may be an important food source locally. In Ireland, shrews and rats are frequently eaten. In mainland Europe, water voles make up a large portion of the stoat's diet. Hare
Hares and jackrabbits are mammals belonging to the genus ''Lepus''. They are herbivores, and live solitarily or in pairs. They nest in slight depressions called forms, and their young are able to fend for themselves shortly after birth. The ge ...s are sometimes taken, but are usually young specimens. In New Zealand, the stoat feeds principally on birds, including the rare kiwi
Kiwi most commonly refers to:
* Kiwi (bird), a flightless bird native to New Zealand
* Kiwi (nickname), a nickname for New Zealanders
* Kiwifruit, an edible berry
* Kiwi dollar or New Zealand dollar, a unit of currency
Kiwi or KIWI may also ref ..., kaka, mohua Mohua may refer to:
*Golden Bay / Mohua
Golden Bay / Mohua is a shallow, paraboloid-shaped bay in New Zealand, near the northern tip of the South Island. An arm of the Tasman Sea, the bay lies northwest of Tasman Bay / Te Tai-o-Aorere and Co ..., yellow-crowned parakeet, and New Zealand dotterel
The New Zealand dotterel (''Charadrius obscurus'') is a species of shorebird found only in certain areas of New Zealand. It is also called the New Zealand plover or red-breasted dotterel, and its Māori names include , , and .
The southern .... Cases are known of stoats preying on young muskrat
The muskrat (''Ondatra zibethicus'') is a medium-sized semiaquatic rodent native to North America and an introduced species in parts of Europe, Asia, and South America. The muskrat is found in wetlands over a wide range of climates and habitat ...s. The stoat typically eats about of food a day, which is equivalent to 25% of the animal's live weight.
The stoat is an opportunistic predator that moves rapidly and checks every available burrow or crevice for food. Because of their larger size, male stoats are less successful than females in pursuing rodents far into tunnels. Stoats regularly climb trees to gain access to birds' nests, and are common raiders of nest boxes, particularly those of large species. The stoat reputedly mesmerises prey such as rabbits by a "dance" (sometimes called the weasel war dance), though this behaviour could be linked to '' Skrjabingylus'' infections. The stoat seeks to immobilize large prey such as rabbits with a bite to the spine at the back of the neck. The stoat may surplus kill when the opportunity arises, though excess prey is usually cached and eaten later to avoid obesity
Obesity is a medical condition, sometimes considered a disease, in which excess body fat has accumulated to such an extent that it may negatively affect health. People are classified as obese when their body mass index (BMI)—a person's we ..., as overweight stoats tend to be at a disadvantage when pursuing prey into their burrows. Small prey typically die instantly from a bite to the back of the neck, while larger prey, such as rabbits, typically die of shock
Shock may refer to:
Common uses Collective noun
*Shock, a historic commercial term for a group of 60, see English numerals#Special names
* Stook, or shock of grain, stacked sheaves
* Shock (circulatory), circulatory medical emerge ..., as the stoat's canine teeth are too short to reach the spinal column or major arteries.
The stoat is a usually silent animal, but can produce a range of sounds similar to those of the least weasel. Kits produce a fine chirping noise. Adults trill excitedly before mating, and indicate submission through quiet trilling, whining and squealing. When nervous, the stoat hisses, and will intersperse this with sharp barks or shrieks and prolonged screeching when aggressive.
Aggressive behaviour in stoats is categorised in these forms:
* Noncontact approach, which is sometimes accompanied by a threat display and vocalisation from the approached animal
* Forward thrust, accompanied by a sharp shriek, which is usually done by stoats defending a nest or retreat site
* Nest occupation, when a stoat appropriates the nesting site of a weaker individual
Kleptoparasitism (etymologically, parasitism by theft) is a form of feeding in which one animal deliberately takes food from another. The strategy is evolutionarily stable when stealing is less costly than direct feeding, which can mean when foo ..., in which a dominant stoat appropriates the kill of a weaker one, usually after a fight.
Submissive stoats express their status by avoiding higher-ranking animals, fleeing from them or making whining or squealing sounds.
Diseases and parasites
Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease usually caused by ''Mycobacterium tuberculosis'' (MTB) bacteria. Tuberculosis generally affects the lungs, but it can also affect other parts of the body. Most infections show no symptoms, in w ... has been recorded in stoats inhabiting the former Soviet Union and New Zealand. They are largely resistant to tularemia
Tularemia, also known as rabbit fever, is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium '' Francisella tularensis''. Symptoms may include fever, skin ulcers, and enlarged lymph nodes. Occasionally, a form that results in pneumonia or a throat i ..., but are reputed to suffer from canine distemper
Canine distemper virus (CDV) (sometimes termed footpad disease) is a viral disease that affects a wide variety of mammal families, including domestic and wild species of dogs, coyotes, foxes, pandas, wolves, ferrets, skunks, raccoons, and feli ... in captivity. Symptoms of mange
Mange is a type of skin disease caused by parasitic mites. Because various species of mites also infect plants, birds and reptiles, the term "mange", or colloquially "the mange", suggesting poor condition of the skin and fur due to the infecti ... have also been recorded.
Stoats are vulnerable to ectoparasite
Parasitism is a close relationship between species, where one organism, the parasite, lives on or inside another organism, the host, causing it some harm, and is adapted structurally to this way of life. The entomologist E. O. Wilson has ...s associated with their prey and the nests of other animals on which they do not prey. The louse
Louse ( : lice) is the common name for any member of the clade Phthiraptera, which contains nearly 5,000 species of wingless parasitic insects. Phthiraptera has variously been recognized as an order, infraorder, or a parvorder, as a res ... ''Trichodectes erminea'' is recorded in stoats living in Canada, Ireland and New Zealand. In continental Europe, 26 flea
Flea, the common name for the order Siphonaptera, includes 2,500 species of small flightless insects that live as external parasites of mammals and birds. Fleas live by ingesting the blood of their hosts. Adult fleas grow to about long, ar ... species are recorded to infest stoats, including ''Rhadinospylla pentacantha'', ''Megabothris rectangulatus'', ''Orchopeas howardi'', ''Spilopsyllus ciniculus'', ''Ctenophthalamus nobilis'', '' Dasypsyllus gallinulae'', '' Nosopsyllus fasciatus'', ''Leptospylla segnis'', ''Ceratophyllus gallinae'', ''Parapsyllus n. nestoris'', ''Amphipsylla kuznetzovi'' and ''Ctenopsyllus bidentatus''. Tick
Ticks (order Ixodida) are parasitic arachnids that are part of the mite superorder Parasitiformes. Adult ticks are approximately 3 to 5 mm in length depending on age, sex, species, and "fullness". Ticks are external parasites, living ... species known to infest stoats are ''Ixodes canisuga'', '' I. hexagonus'', and '' I. ricinus'' and '' Haemaphysalis longicornis''. Louse species known to infest stoats include ''Mysidea picae'' and '' Polyplax spinulosa''. Mite species known to infest stoats include '' Neotrombicula autumnalis'', '' Demodex erminae'', '' Eulaelaps stabulans'', ''Gymnolaelaps annectans'', ''Hypoaspis nidicorva'', and '' Listrophorus mustelae''.
The nematodes ( or grc-gre, Νηματώδη; la, Nematoda) or roundworms constitute the phylum Nematoda (also called Nemathelminthes), with plant-parasitic nematodes also known as eelworms. They are a diverse animal phylum inhabiting a broa ... '' Skrjabingylus nasicola'' is particularly threatening to stoats, as it erodes the bones of the nasal sinuses and decreases fertility. Other nematode species known to infect stoats include '' Capillaria putorii'', ''Molineus patens'' and ''Strongyloides martes''. Cestode
Cestoda is a class of parasitic worms in the flatworm phylum (Platyhelminthes). Most of the species—and the best-known—are those in the subclass Eucestoda; they are ribbon-like worms as adults, known as tapeworms. Their bodies consist of ... species known to infect stoats include '' Taenia tenuicollis'', ''Mesocestoides lineatus'' and rarely '' Acanthocephala
Acanthocephala ( Greek , ', thorn + , ', head) is a phylum of parasitic worms known as acanthocephalans, thorny-headed worms, or spiny-headed worms, characterized by the presence of an eversible proboscis, armed with spines, which it uses to ...''.
Folklore and mythology
Irish mythology is the body of myths native to the island of Ireland. It was originally passed down orally in the prehistoric era, being part of ancient Celtic religion. Many myths were later written down in the early medieval era by Ch ..., stoats were viewed anthropomorphically as animals with families, which held rituals for their dead. They were also viewed as noxious animals prone to thieving, and their saliva was said to be able to poison a grown man. To encounter a stoat when setting out for a journey was considered bad luck, but one could avert this by greeting the stoat as a neighbour. Stoats were also supposed to hold the souls of infants who died before baptism
Baptism (from grc-x-koine, βάπτισμα, váptisma) is a form of ritual purification—a characteristic of many religions throughout time and geography. In Christianity, it is a Christian sacrament of initiation and adoption, almost .... In the folklore of the Komi people of the Urals
The Ural Mountains ( ; rus, Ура́льские го́ры, r=Uralskiye gory, p=ʊˈralʲskʲɪjə ˈɡorɨ; ba, Урал тауҙары) or simply the Urals, are a mountain range that runs approximately from north to south through western ..., stoats are symbolic of beautiful and coveted young women. In the Zoroastrian
Zoroastrianism is an Iranian religion and one of the world's oldest organized faiths, based on the teachings of the Iranian-speaking prophet Zoroaster. It has a dualistic cosmology of good and evil within the framework of a monotheistic on ... religion, the stoat is considered a sacred animal, as its white winter coat represented purity. Similarly, Mary Magdalene was depicted as wearing a white stoat pelt as a sign of her reformed character. One popular European legend had it that a white stoat would die before allowing its pure white coat to be besmirched. When it was being chased by hunters, it would supposedly turn around and give itself up to the hunters rather than risk soiling itself. The former nation (now province) of Brittany
Brittany (; french: link=no, Bretagne ; br, Breizh, or ; Gallo: ''Bertaèyn'' ) is a peninsula, historical country and cultural area in the west of modern France, covering the western part of what was known as Armorica during the period of ... in France uses a stylized ermine-fur pattern in forming the Coat of Arms and Flag of Brittany. Gilles Servat's song '' La Blanche Hermine'' ("The White Ermine") became an anthem
An anthem is a musical composition of celebration, usually used as a symbol for a distinct group, particularly the national anthems of countries. Originally, and in music theory and religious contexts, it also refers more particularly to short ... for Bretons
The Bretons (; br, Bretoned or ''Vretoned,'' ) are a Celtic ethnic group native to Brittany. They trace much of their heritage to groups of Brittonic speakers who emigrated from southwestern Great Britain, particularly Cornwall and Devon, mo ... (and is popular among French people in general).
Stoat skins are prized by the fur trade, especially in winter coat, and used to trim coats and stoles. The fur from the winter coat is referred to as ermine and is the traditional ancient symbol of the Duchy of Brittany, forming the earliest flag of that nation. There is also a design called
Ermine may refer to three species of mustelid in the genus '' Mustela'':
* Stoat or Eurasian ermine, ''Mustela erminea'', found throughout Eurasia and northern North America
* American ermine, ''Mustela richardsonii'', found throughout North Amer ... inspired by the winter coat of the stoat and painted onto other furs, such as rabbit. In Europe these furs are a symbol of royalty and high status. The ceremonial robes of members of the UK House of Lords
The House of Lords, also known as the House of Peers, is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Membership is by appointment, heredity or official function. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster i ... and the academic hoods of the universities of Oxford and Cambridge
Cambridge ( ) is a university city and the county town in Cambridgeshire, England. It is located on the River Cam approximately north of London. As of the 2021 United Kingdom census, the population of Cambridge was 145,700. Cambridge became ... are traditionally trimmed with ermine. In practice rabbit or fake fur is now often used due to expense or animal rights
Animal rights is the philosophy according to which many or all sentient animals have moral worth that is independent of their utility for humans, and that their most basic interests—such as avoiding suffering—should be afforded the sam ... concerns. Prelates of the Catholic Church still wear ecclesiastical garments featuring ermine (a sign of their status equal to that of the nobility). Cecilia Gallerani is depicted holding an ermine in her portrait, '' Lady with an Ermine'', by Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci (15 April 14522 May 1519) was an Italian polymath of the High Renaissance who was active as a painter, draughtsman, engineer, scientist, theorist, sculptor, and architect. While his fame initially rested on .... Henry Peacham's ''Emblem 75'', which depicts an ermine being pursued by a hunter and two hounds, is entitled "Cui candor morte redemptus" ("Purity Bought with His Own Death"). Peacham goes on to preach that men and women should follow the example of the ermine and keep their minds and consciences as pure as the legendary ermine keeps its fur.
Ermine (both ''M. erminea'' and ''M. richardsonii'', both of which inhabited the Tlingit's territory) were also valued by the Tlingit
The Tlingit ( or ; also spelled Tlinkit) are indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast of North America. Their language is the Tlingit language (natively , pronounced ), and other indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast
The Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast are composed of many nations and tribal affiliations, each with distinctive cultural and political identities. They share certain beliefs, traditions and practices, such as the centrality of .... They could be attached to traditional regalia and cedar bark hats as status symbols, or they were also made into shirts.
The stoat was a fundamental item in the fur trade of the Soviet Union
The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a transcontinental country that spanned much of Eurasia from 1922 to 1991. A flagship communist state, it was nominally a federal union of fifteen nationa ..., with no less than half the global catch coming from within its borders. The Soviet Union also contained the highest grades of stoat pelts, with the best grade North American pelts being comparable only to the 9th grade in the quality criteria of former Soviet stoat standards. Stoat harvesting never became a specialty in any Soviet republic, with most stoats being captured incidentally in traps or near villages. Stoats in the Soviet Union were captured either with dogs or with box-traps or jaw-traps. Guns were rarely used, as they could damage the pelt.
File:Marvel Rea (left), Ford Sterling, and Alice Maison, appearing in Mack Sennett Comedies LCCN89711780.jpg, American actress Alice Maison shown wearing ermine fur in a Mack Sennett
Mack Sennett (born Michael Sinnott; January 17, 1880 – November 5, 1960) was a Canadian-American film actor, director, and producer, and studio head, known as the 'King of Comedy'.
Born in Danville, Quebec, in 1880, he started in films in th ... comedy film
File:Thea Sternheim c. 1910, by Franz Grainer.jpg, Thea Sternheim, wife of playwright Carl Sternheim, wearing an ermine hat
Erminea (''Mustela erminea'')
''Mustela erminea'' taxonomy
Stoat control information
Stoat 'playing'(?) in snow
Fiordland Islands NZ stoat eradication
BBC Wildlife finder including video footage and sound files
Smithsonian Institution—North American Mammals: ''Mustela erminea''
Arctic land animals
Carnivorans of Asia
Carnivorans of Europe
Carnivorans of North America
Mammals described in 1758
Taxa named by Carl Linnaeus