Mustela frenata 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Carnivora Mustelidae

Scientific Name: Mustela frenata Lichtenstein, 1831
Common Name(s):
English Long-tailed Weasel
Spanish Comedreja Andina

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2015-03-01
Assessor(s): Helgen, K. & Reid, F.
Reviewer(s): Duckworth, J.W.
This species is listed as Least Concern because it has a wide distribution and is relatively common across this range. This species is tolerant to a moderate amount of land-use change and can often benefit from human presence. However, M. frenata populations generally fluctuate, and they frequently become locally extinct in response to changes in prey numbers (King 1989).
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Long-tailed Weasel has the largest distribution of any species of the family Mustelidae in the Western Hemisphere. The range extends from just north of the United States–Canadian border south to northern South America (Sheffield and Thomas 1997). In South America it is known from Columbia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia (Eisenberg 1989, King 1989, Emmons and Feer 1990).
Countries occurrence:
Belize; Bolivia, Plurinational States of; Brazil; Canada; Colombia; Costa Rica; Ecuador; El Salvador; Guatemala; Honduras; Mexico; Nicaragua; Panama; Peru; United States; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Long-tailed Weasel is widespread and fairly common throughout its range (Wilson and Ruff 1999). Estimates of densities vary widely by habitat and prey availability (King 1989), from about 1/2.6 ha to 1/260 ha (Nowak 2005). Jackson (1961) found population density averages 1 per 7-40 acres, depending upon habitat and environmental conditions (Baker 1983). Populations, more stable than those of Stoat M. erminea or Least Weasel M. nivalis, generally fluctuate, and frequently become locally extinct in response to changes in prey numbers (King 1989).
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Found in a wide variety of habitats, usually near water. Favoured habitats include brushland and open woodlands, field edges, riparian grasslands, swamps, and marshes (Sheffield, in Wilson and Ruff 1999). Dens are in abandoned burrows made by other mammal, rock crevices, brushpiles, stump hollows, or spaces amongst tree roots; one individual may use multiple dens. Tolerant of close proximity to humans.

M. frenata is usually most abundant in late seral stages or ecotones where prey diversity is greatest (Wilson and Ruff 1999). Its diet consists mainly of rodents and other small mammals. It is primarily nocturnal but is frequently active by day. It can climb and swim, but apparently not as well as M. erminea. Waterways provide access to suitable habitat and are a natural avenue far dispersal, particularly in areas that otherwise are unsuitable (Fagerstone 1987). Home ranges vary from 4 to 120 ha and may overlap. Basically solitary, though more social where prey is abundant and habitat optimal.

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The species is hunted for its fur.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Movements of radio-tagged Long-tailed Weasels in Indiana, U.S.A., were consistent with the notion that the species may be sensitive to agriculturally induced fragmentation of habitat, indicating the importance of maintaining landscape connectivity for this species (Gehring and Swihart 2004). Additional threats include monoculture and drainage of wetlands. Perhaps affected directly and indirectly by pesticide use (effects on reproduction, habitat, and/or food supply).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The species occurs in many protected areas across its range.

Citation: Helgen, K. & Reid, F. 2016. Mustela frenata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T41654A45213820. . Downloaded on 21 September 2018.
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