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Yellow-throated Marten

Fig 1

Fig 2

Fig 3





Family : Mustelidae
Species : Martes flavigula

Head-body length : 45-65 cm
Tail length : 37-45 cm
Weight : 1.3-3.0 kg

The Yellow-throated Marten is a medium-sized carnivore, closely related to the weasel and otter. In Southeast Asia the species occurs in primary and secondary lowland and montane forests up to 3000m. It will explore beyond the forest edge in search of food, sometimes entering the gardens of forest-edge dwellings.

This mainly diurnal species is both terrestrial and arboreal in habits. Its diet is wide-ranging and includes a variety of small vertebrate prey, such as squirrels and reptiles, as well as insects, fruits and berries. It is reported that they have a fondness for honey, and have been seen eating bees at the entrance to bees nests.

Martens are highly alert, agile and fast-moving. Most sightings of this species are of a single individual, though small family groups are sometimes seen on the move.

There is significant geographical variation in colour. The image (left) shows the 'typical' colour of the subspecies Martes flavigula peninsularis in   Peninsular Malaysia : this comprises a pale head and pale yellow throat which gradates into yellow-brown along the flanks and dark brown to nearly black at the hindquarters and tail. There is a thick, dark stripe behind each ear.

The head is small, with a pointed muzzle, and the ears are rounded. The body is elongate, the hindlimbs muscular, and the tail long and thick. It moves with a loping, bounding gait rather like the movement of a large squirrel.

The Yellow-throated Marten is wide-ranging and occurs in the low Himalayas (Pakistan, India, Nepal), many parts of southern China as well as Korea and the Russian Far East. In Southeast Asia it occurs in Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Peninsular Malaysia and the islands of Sumatra, Java and Borneo. According to records, the species has never been seen in Singapore.

Fig 1 : A lone adult Yellow-throated Marten emerges briefly from the forest at Fraser's Hill, Peninsular Malaysia.

Fig 2 : The marten emerged from this patch of montane forest-edge habitat, next to a narrow, winding road at Fraser's Hill, Peninsular Malaysia (elevation = 1000m).

Fig 3 : A pair from Fraser's Hill which entered the garden of a bungalow situated near lower montane forest. Note the powerful, muscular hindlegs of the marten on the right.

References : M3, M5