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The stripe-backed weasel Mustela strigidorsa: taxonomy, ecology, distribution and status


  • A. V. ABRAMOV,

    Corresponding author
    1. Zoological Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, Universitetskaya nab., 1, Saint-Petersburg, Russia,
    2. Joint Vietnam-Russian Tropical Research and Technological Centre, Nguyen Van Huyen, Nghia Do, Cau Giay, Hanoi, Vietnam,
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    1. Wildlife Conservation Society Myanmar Programme; current address East Redham Farm, Pilning, Bristol, UK,
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  • Y. X. WANG,

    1. Kunming Institute of Zoology, The Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming, Yunnan, China, and
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    1. Small Carnivore Conservation Program, Cuc Phuong National Park, Ninh Binh Province, Vietnam; current address Wildlife Conservation Society, Vietnam Hunting & Wildlife Trade Program, Hanoi, Vietnam
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*A. V. Abramov. E-mail:


  • 1The stripe-backed weasel Mustela strigidorsa is one of the rarest and least-known mustelids in the world. Its phylogenetic relationships with other Mustela species remain controversial, though several unique morphological features distinguish it from congeners.
  • 2It probably lives mainly in evergreen forests in hills and mountains, but has also been recorded from plains forest, dense scrub, secondary forest, grassland and farmland. Known sites range in altitude from 90 m to 2500 m. Data are insufficient to distinguish between habitat and altitudes which support populations, and those where only dispersing animals may occur.
  • 3It has been confirmed from many localities in north-east India, north and central Myanmar, south China, north Thailand, north and central Laos, and north and central Vietnam. Given the limited survey effort, the number of recent records shows that the species is not as rare as hitherto believed. Neither specific nor urgent conservation needs are apparent.