Additional indices to estimate fat contents in fisher Martes pennanti populations
Jean-François Robitaille & Kevin Jensen
Robitaille, J-F. & Jensen, K. 2005: Additional indices to estimate fat contents in fisher Martes pennanti populations. - Wildl. Biol. 11: 263-269.
In order to develop more practical indices of fat contents in fisher Martes pennanti populations at a large scale, the relationship between individual discernable fat depots (popliteal, sternal, omental, mesenteric and perirenal) and fat percentage (PFAT) was examined in male and female skinned carcasses obtained from trappers in northeastern Ontario from the 1998/99 and 1999/2000 fur harvest seasons. PFAT differed significantly between sex/age classes (F = 10.17, P < 0.0001). In a development group (86 males and 86 females), PFAT was well predicted by each of the five potential fat indices common to both males and females. During the test phase (87 males, 93 females), estimated fat contents (%) based on either fat depot did not differ from observed PFAT neither in males nor in females (0.05 < paired t < 1.33, 0.19 < P < 0.71). All models detected animals with lower fat levels, a useful feature for conservation applications. The accuracy of almost any of the five depots appears adequate to detect changes in fat levels in harvested fisher populations. This contrasts with other mustelids such as martens Martes americana where lower fat levels restrict the availability of discernable fat depots.
Key words: energetics, fat depots, fat index, fisher, nutritional condition
Jean-François Robitaille & Kevin Jensen, Department of Biology, Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada P3E 2C6 - e-mail addresses: email@example.com (Jean-François Robitaille); KG_Jensen@laurentian.ca (KevinJensen)
Corresponding author: Jean-François Robitaille
Received 26 May 2003, accepted 27 July 2004
Associate Editor: Paolo Cavallini