Martes melampus 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Carnivora Mustelidae

Scientific Name: Martes melampus
Species Authority: (Wagner, 1840)
Common Name(s):
English Japanese Marten, Tsushima Island Marten
Taxonomic Notes: Martes melampus is morphologically close to M. martes, M. zibellina and M. americana, all of which were often combined sometimes into one 'superspecies' (e.g., Hagmeier 1961, Anderson 1970). Recent genetic studies support the species status of Martes melampus (Kurose et al. 1999, Koepfli et al. 2008, Li et al. 2014)

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2015-03-03
Assessor(s): Abramov, A.V., Kaneko, Y. & Masuda, R.
Reviewer(s): Duckworth, J.W. & Schipper, J.
Contributor(s): Wozencraft, C
This species is listed as Least Concern, despite its relatively small distribution, in the light of its large and stable subpopulations, some of which inhabit protected areas.
Previously published Red List assessments:
2008 Least Concern (LC)
1996 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Two subspecies of Japanese Marten have been described: M. m. melampus of Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu and adjacent islands, and M. m. tsuensis of the Tsushima islands, which lie between Kyushu and the Korean Peninsula (Masuda 2009). It has been introduced on Sado Island and Hokkaido (Masuda 2009). It has been recorded in the southern Korean Peninsula but there are no locality details to prove a wild origin and no native population has been confirmed (Won and Smith 1999, Abe 2005). It has been found from sea level to 2,000 m asl.
Countries occurrence:
Japan (Honshu, Kyushu, Shikoku)
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO): No
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations: No
Upper elevation limit (metres): 2000
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Japanese Marten is common throughout its known Japanese range, and is increasing on Tsushima Island. Its status in Korea remains enigmatic.
Current Population Trend: Stable
Additional data:
Extreme fluctuations: No Population severely fragmented: No
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations: No All individuals in one subpopulation: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Japanese Marten is found in forests, and can occur in suburban areas with sufficient trees. It "plays a key role as a relatively long-distance seed disperser for major component species with large and flesh-rich fruits in the subalpine scrubland" (Otani 2002). It forages on a wide variety of fruits (Otani 2002) but is presumably predominantly carnivorous. Tatara (1994) used radio-telemetry to investigate Japanese Marten habitat selection, and showed that M. m. tsuensis preferred to forage and rest in deciduous and evergreen broad-leaved forests, and avoided coniferous plantations and open fields. For M. m. tsuensis forest edge was categorised as the most critical factor affecting home range size in relation to food and resting site availability. The race M. m. melampus was camera-trapped in the Akaya area at elevations ranging from 609-1,687 m asl, indicating no affect of elevation (Hoshino et al. 2013). On Japan the species prefers broadleaved forest as its primary habitat, suggesting that it relies on the complexity of the forest structure for cover and fruiting trees. Tatara (1994) found that on Tsushima martens avoided areas with young trees and trees of low stature and preferred areas with mature and taller trees.
Systems: Terrestrial
Generation Length (years): 4.9
Movement patterns: Not a Migrant

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Japanese Marten is a game species, except for the Tsushima population (Masuda 2009).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The habitats of this species in Tsushima were degraded by timber cutting (Tatara 1994). Invasive species may also pose a threat.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Japanese Marten is present in protected areas. Commercial forestry should consider refinements to harvest practise that would allow a reduction in incidental habitat loss for this species (Tatara 1994). Conservation of deciduous forest is especially important (Nakamura et al. 2001). The population of the Tsushima Islands is protected as a Natural Monument in Japan.

Citation: Abramov, A.V., Kaneko, Y. & Masuda, R. 2015. Martes melampus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T41650A45213228. . Downloaded on 28 November 2015.
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