From Ferret

Mustelids are a group of carnivores commonly referred to as weasels.

Mustelidae, as the largest and most-diverse family of order Carnivora, comprises eight subfamilies throughout all continents except Australia and Antarctica[1].

Mustelids display extensive ecomorphological diversity and both locomotor and dietary diversity, with different lineages having evolved into an array of adaptive zones, from fossorial badgers to semi-aquatic otters. Mustelids are also widely distributed, with multiple genera found on different continents[2].

Recent classifications of the Mustelidae recognize up to eight subfamilies: Mustelinae, Galictinae, Helictidinae, Martinae, Melinae, Lutrinae, Mellivorinae, and Taxidiinae[3].

Phylogenetic relationships among these subfamlies have been hotly disputed in pioneer studies and are not well established yet.

The main problem is that the family Mustelidae represents a typical example of rapid evolutionary radiation and recent speciation event, dating back to the Oligocene[4].

Mustelids include


  1. Yu, L et al (2011) On the phylogeny of Mustelidae subfamilies: analysis of seventeen nuclear non-coding loci and mitochondrial complete genomes. BMC Evol Biol 11:92
  2. Bryant HN et al (1993) Phylogenetic relationships within the extant Mustelidae (Carnivora): appraisal of the cladistic status of the Simpsonian subfamilies. Zool J Linn Soc 108:301–334
  3. Fulton TL & Strobeck C (2006) Molecular phylogeny of the Arctoidea (Carnivora): effect of missing data on supertree and supermatrix analyses of multiple gene data sets. Mol Phylogenet Evol 41:165–181
  4. Koepfli KP et al (2008) Multigene phylogeny of the Mustelidae: Resolving relationships, tempo and biogeographic history of a mammalian adaptive radiation. BMC Biol 6:10