Puzachenko A.Yu., Masuda R., Abramov A.V. 2019. Sexual dimorphism of craniological characters in the Altai weasel Mustela altaica (Carnivora, Mustelidae) // Russian J. Theriol. Vol.18. No.1: 12–19 [in English].

Andrey Yu. Puzachenko [andreypuzak@gmail.com], Institute of Geography, Russian Academy of Sciences, Staromonetnyi per. 22, Moscow 109017, Russia; Ryuichi Masuda [masudary@sci.hokudai.ac.jp], Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo 060-0810, Japan; Alexei V. Abramov [alexei.abramov@zin.ru], Zoological Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, Universitetskaya nab. 1, Saint Petersburg 199034, Russia.

doi: 10.15298/rusjtheriol.18.1.02

ABSTRACT. A morphometric variation in 23 characters of 77 skulls of the Altai weasel Mustela altaica from the delta of Ili River in Kazakhstan has been analysed. Multivariate analyses (nonmetric multidimensional scaling and multivariate allometry) were used to estimate a sexual size dimorphism (SSD) in cranial characters. A high degree of the sexual dimorphism was found in the Altai weasel population. All morphometric characters in the males were larger than those in the females. An average sexual size dimorphism (ASSD) of M. altaica lies within the genus Mustela range. In this species, the SSD is a result of differences in the scale and allometry of cranial characters between sexes, reflecting the differences in male/female allometric ontogenetic patterns. The results are discussed in relation to the existing hypotheses on sexual dimorphism in the mustelids: food competition, sexual selection, and differences in reproductive strategies.

KEY WORDS: Mustela altaica, multivariate allometry, mustelids, sexual size dimorphism, skull variation, Kazakhstan.

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