1022-7954/01/3709- $25.00 © 2001
Russian Journal of Genetics, Vol. 37, No. 9, 2001, pp. 1074–1081. Translated from Genetika, Vol. 37, No. 9, 2001, pp. 1281–1289.
Original Russian Text Copyright © 2001 by Monakhov.
The use of the phenetic approach founded by Berry
[1, 2] in population and evolutionary ecology have been
well substantiated [3–6] and documented [7–10].
According to Zakharov , phenetic approach is neces-
sary for genetic and morphological analysis of popula-
tions. Hence, we have chosen this method for further
examination of geographic variation in the sable.
Systematic studies of sable populations from West
Siberia and the Urals have been conducted for several
decades. However, geographic and taxonomic descrip-
tions of sable populations did not involve phenetic
methods. The only exception is a mention of ﬁnding
additional apertures near occipital condyles by Pavlinin
. This author examined skulls of 232 sables, 23 and
13 of which had respectively one and two apertures.
Studies of another species of the genus
, the pine
marten, were also carried out [12, 13].
Pavlinin’s ﬁnding of these apertures  allowed us
to consider their presence or absence as an independent
phenetic character (Fig. 1). We included this character
(together with 14 other characters) in phenetic descrip-
tion of the sable  under no. 5 and termed it
in fossa condyloidei inferior
Since this character has not been studied before, the
aim of this work was establishing geographic trends in
its expression in sable populations from Russia and
examining its association with intraspeciﬁc variation in
coat color and skull size.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
We used craniological collections of several institu-
tions (VNIIOZ and its divisions, Institute of Plant and
Phenetic Analysis of Aboriginal and Introduced Populations
of Sable (
) in Russia
V. G. Monakhov
Institute of Plant and Animal Ecology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Yekaterinburg, 620144 Russia
Received October 22, 2000; in ﬁnal form, March 22, 2001
—Using standard and multivariate statistic methods, an epigenetic character—
foramina in fossa
(FFCI)—was studied in sable populations. This character was shown to be most frequent
in southeastern populations of the species (Primorye and the Baikal region) while its distribution in the remaining
part of the range was polyclinal. The expression of FFCI was directly associated with coat color and longitude,
and inversely associated with skull size. This trend was broken by some western populations formed in the 1950s
by introduction, which exhibited stable morphological differences with adjacent aboriginal sable populations.
Most populations of the species exhibit differences in the manifestation of the studied characters. Frequency of the
FFCI manifestation can be used as an additional population characteristic, an associative diagnostic character that
shows high discriminating capability in detecting phenogenetic relationships of intraspeciﬁc groups.
Localization of character FFCI on a sable skull (variant L0-R1). A, the FFCI aperture.