On the Use of Den and Resting Site Terminology for Species in the Martes Complex

Posted on Nov 30, 2020


by Jean-François ROBITAILLE, Gilbert PROULX, and Emmanuel DO LINH SAN
CWBM 9 (2): 137-151.

Correspondence: Jean-François Robitaille, Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario, P3E 2C6, Canada.
Email: jfrobitaille@laurentian.ca


We review den and resting site terminology used in 121 scientific publications related to species of the subfamily Guloninae (hereafter Martes Complex, sensu Proulx and Aubry 2017). These indicate that the term den has been used both to describe structures used by females to give birth and/or raise their kits, or by both sexes to sleep or rest. The term resting site has been used to describe locations where animals are inactive for varying durations, but no unilateral and systematic link with the den terminology has been established. In the absence of unambiguous, explicit definitions in 53–65% of papers, the lack of consensus on the meaning of these terms hampers efforts towards intra- and interspecific comparisons and sound management plans. Based on the literature and current knowledge on the biology and spatial ecology of species of the Martes Complex, we propose a series of unequivocal definitions for resting (rest) site, den, reproductive den, natal den, and maternal den, and show how these terms are interrelated. We recommend that these definitions be used in future studies, or else that researchers define explicitly these terms in papers dealing with the resting ecology of this group of mesocarnivores.

Key Words: Den, Natal Den, Maternal Den, Reproductive Den, Resting Site, Marten, Fisher, Wolverine, Martes Complex

8 - Robitaille et al.


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