Differential Footload of Male and Female Fisher, Martes pennanti, in Quebec
Keywords:Fisher, Martes pennanti, footload, foot size, snow, mass, niche partitioning, Quebec, sexual size dimorphism
AbstractWe examined the mass, foot area and foot load (mass/surface area) of Fishers (Carnivora: Mustelidae: Martes pennanti) captured during the 2006-2007 commercial fur season in southern Quebec, Canada. Body mass of males (mean = 4.7 kg ± 0.5, n = 37) was significantly larger than that of females (mean = 2.4 kg ± 0.2, n = 40). Similarly, the size of male feet (mean area = 130.5 cm2 ± 10.9, n = 37) was significantly larger than that of females (mean = 95.2 cm2 ± 7.6 SE, n = 40). The resulting footload of males (36.2 g/cm2 ± 6.1, n = 37) was 43% larger than that of females (25.3 g/cm2 ± 2.3, n = 40). These results may help explain the differential behaviour and niche partitioning in this mustelid carnivore.
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