Qualitative analysis of the gut and faeces contents of stoates and weasels is complicated by the lack of readily identifiable bone fragments, teeth, feathers, etc., of mammalian or avian prey. Often the only evidence of such prey was hair or feather fragments. Since the bulk of food taken by stoats and weasels was from these two food classes, the problem of qualitative analysis resolved itself into that of identifying these hair and feather fragments. By using the scale pattern, cross‐section and medulla type, it was possible to construct a key which would identify guard hairs of small mammals of the generic level. Feather identification was based on the structural variations to the down barbules of coverts. Using such criteria a key to the main bird orders was devised.
Journal of Zoology – Wiley
Published: Feb 1, 1966
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