Sexual dimorphism and variability in the skull of Martes foina

In: Animal Biology
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  • 1 Department of Biology, Faculty of Science and Literature, Kütahya Dumlupınar University, Evliya Çelebi Campus, 43000 Kütahya, Turkey

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Abstract

Morphometry can help to understand morphology and clarify taxonomy of species. The morphometric variability of the skull and sexual dimorphism of stone martens (Martes foina), obtained from various geographical regions of Turkey, were investigated. Measurements were made regarding 14 characters on skulls of the samples. Adults have significantly bigger skulls compared to juveniles. Regarding their sexual dimorphism, descriptive statistics revealed variability in the size of the skull between sexes, with mean values of males being higher than those of females. The most significant sexual dimorphisms (the highest variabilities) were observed in palatal width and especially frontal width. The strongest positive correlations were found between the basilar length and condylobasal length in males and between the mandibular length and total skull length in females. Furthermore, principal component analysis confirmed strong correlations between some characters of the skull in both sexes. By comparing characters with those of European populations this study contributes to a general model of the skull of Martes foina.

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