MARMOT, ALASKA

Under Construction May 2011

ALASKA MARMOT

Marmota broweri

GUARD HAIR

Length: Tips of hairs have long taper (ASM #1-2)

Diameter Range: 115-130 microns (ASM #1)  112-125 microns (ASM #2)

Medullary Index: 0.77 (ASM #1)  0.62-0.68 (ASM #2)

Medulla: Single cell width, irregular polygons or trapezoids. (ASM #1-2)

Color: Sometimes pigmented but more often none. (ASM #1-2)

Scales:  Near the base, scales have close margins and jagged edges with deep valleys.  In the middle and tip of the shaft, the scales are jigsaw puzzle like in shape with smooth margins and dramatic steep diagonals in both directions in some areas. (ASM #1-2)

 

UNDERFUR

Length: There is an intermediate sized hair also.  Samples don’t have full hair length

Diameter Range: 22-42 microns, smallest ones under 20 microns  (ASM #1)  22-37 microns (ASM #2)

Medullary Index: 0.4 (ASM #1)  0.3 -0.46 (ASM #2)

Medulla: Smallest underhair fur may have interrupted medulla but most have a uniserial ladder medulla.  Larger underfur (intermediate) may have more tire-tread-looking medulla.

Color: pigmented

Scales: stacked crowns

Macro Qualities:  up to 30” Both Hoary and Alaska Marmots are predominantly gray with a darker lower back and face and a dark reddish tail. Hoary marmot often has a white patch above its nose and dark brown feet, while an Alaska marmot’s feet can be light-colored.  Fur of the hoary marmot is much stiffer than the Alaska marmot  (ADF&G 2008).  When Bachrach describes marmots, he says they are “blue” in the period before their hibernation when there is bluish contrast between the brown tip and the white center of the hair, and “yellow” after they awaken from hibernation and there is warmer contrast between the brown tip and yellowish center. In these “yellows” the guard hair on the center back of the animal has a twist or curl to it. (Bachrach 1953).  Adult coloration solid black on top of head and nose, dark brown elsewhere.  Darker face and rump than hoary marmot, and does not have a light patch on its snout like the hoary marmot.  Dorsal guard hairs may be banded.  Belly appears gray.  (MacDonald and Cook 2009).

Cultures: American marmot species tend not to be used in the fur industry.

Notes: ASM #1 is a female courtesy of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Museum of the North UAM 86399, ASM #2 is a male from the University of Alaska Fairbanks Museum of the North UAM 87304

Troubleshooting:

Range: Mostly in the Brooks Range (MacDonald and Cook 2009). Alpine areas throughout the Brooks Range, the Ray Mountains and the Kokrines Hills north of the Yukon River.  University of Alaska Mammal Collection female sample (UAM 86399) was collected in Alaska, Philip Smith Mts. Quad. 4.5km at 21.8 degrees from Galbraith air strip.  Male specimen (UAM 87304) from Alaska, Misheguk Mtn. Quad, National Petroleum Reserve.

Names:  Order Rodentia (the rodents)  No yellow-bellied marmots in Alaska (Forsyth 1999)  Sometimes called Brooks Range Marmots.

 

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