WOLVERINE

Under Construction May 2011

WOLVERINE

Gulo gulo

GUARD HAIR

Length: up to 100 mm (Brown 1942) 60-70mm, hairs from the flanks are around 100-140mm (Adorjan and Kolenosky 1969) 81 mm max (Moore et al 1974), 70mm (Furskin 2006), 90mm (ASM#2)

Diameter Range: 160-264 microns (Brown 1942), 160 microns max (Moore et al 1974), 60-125 microns (Furskin 2006), 125 microns (ASM#1)

Medullary Index: 0.52 (Brown 1942)

Medulla: Globular shaped cells in the medulla not separated by pigment masses, like we see in canids.  Mostly continuous except for the base and tip where they look more globular (Brown 1942). Medulla 60 microns in diameter and is continuous and about three cells wide per the width of the medulla. The cells are flattened undulous ovals, almost pebble like with channels between each. The average height of the cells is between 7.5 and 12.5 microns. Some of the cells are transparent and others are a wash of grey. (ASM #1)

Color: fusi are prominent and look like elongate pigment particles (Brown 1942). There does not appear to be pigment in the medulla. Flanking the medulla is a 12.5 micron wide stretch of brown pigmentation (some of these features may be easier to see in polarized light). Overall, individual hairs may be white, black, or reddish-brown depending on part of the body (Adorjan and Kolenosky 1969) black tip ought to be 5-15mm long and then the rest of the hair is dark brown (Moore et al 1974).

Scales: Scales strongly elongated.  Brown (1942) says the free margin is non-pointed and rough at the extreme base, and as the medulla becomes continuous along the shaft the scales elongate and have smooth margins, gradually tapering to a point.  At the widest width of the shaft, the scale margins flatten again and lose the point (Brown 1942)  Torn paper-like with very jagged multi-pointed edges (ASM #1)  Adorjan and Kolenosky (1969) images show a guard hair that has wide petal-shaped scales near the base, getting slightly blunter but still rather petal-like and smooth edged in the middle and more closely spaced at the tip with rougher edges.

UNDERFUR

Length: 30 to 40mm (ASM#2)

Diameter Range: 40-76 microns (Brown 1942) Consistently 25 microns (ASM#1)

Medullary Index: 0.45 (Brown 1942) 0.3 (ASM#1).

Medulla: Interrupted. Furskin claims no medulla is present (Furskin 2006). Continuous uniserial ladder and bead-like medulla. 

Color: present in medulla (Brown 1942). Splotchy brown pigmentation throughout cortex and in between the cells of the medulla.  Adorjan and Kolenosky (1969) observe different hues of grey sometimes tinted yellow.

Scales: Appear petal-like with individual scales with one point (observed by shifting the focus). The scales appear to sit quite flat against the shaft. 

 

Macro Qualities: 2.5 – 3.5 feet long (Forsyth 1999).  Dark brown to black with creamy white or golden stripe from each shoulder along flanks to base of tail.  The pelt is 65-100cm long and the tail is 18-23cm long (Furskin 2006). 

Cultures: For example: Yup’ik upriver hunters. Fienup-Riordan, (2007) Yuungnaqpiallerput: The Way We Genuinely Live.  Masterworks of Yup’ik Science and Survival.  Anchorage Museum Association.  p.245 Samet (1950) describes wolverine as the “best-wearing” fur of all the land animals.

Notes: ASM #1 is from the Sheldon Jackson Museum education collection INT 231.  ASM #2 is from a handmade parka ruff in a private collection.  ASM #3 is from a taxidermy mount at ASM off site storage.  Badgers also have long flank hair, but there are no badgers in Alaska, or even bordering areas of Canada.  Only south central Canada and southward (Forsyth 1999).  The coarse texture of the fur does not collect and hold moisture (reason not given) Good “serviceability” according to Bachrach (1953)  Many references (such as Samet 1950) refer to the use of wolverine fur for parka ruffs because it sheds frost readily.

Troubleshooting: Shaft diameter much wider on wolverine than on fox.

Range: All of Alaska (Forsyth 1999). Mainland Alaska and some of the islands of Southeast Alaska (ADF&G 2008)  Prefers dense forests or rocky mountainsides and fairly dry areas. (Bachrach 1953).

Names: Family Mustelidae (the mustelids)  Also called “carcajou” or “skunk bear” (Bachrach 1953) Vielfrasz in German (Samet 1950).

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