Nilgiri marten

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Nilgiri marten
Nilgiri marten by N A Nazeer.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Mustelidae
Genus: Martes
Species: M. gwatkinsii
Binomial name
Martes gwatkinsii
(Horsfield, 1851)
Nilgiri Marten area.png
Nilgiri marten range

The Nilgiri marten (Martes gwatkinsii) is the only species of marten found in southern India. It occurs in the hills of the Nilgiris and parts of the Western Ghats. The Kannada name is "Neer Naai".


The Nilgiri marten is similar to the yellow-throated marten, but is larger and essentially different in the structure of the skull – it has a prominent frontal concavity. It is unmistakable in the field; its pelage is deep brown from head to rump, with the forequarters being almost reddish, with a bright throat ranging in colour from yellow to orange.[2][3]

It is about 55 to 65 cm long from head to vent and has a tail of 40 to 45 cm. It weighs about 2.1 kg.[3]


The species is reported from the Nilgiris, Kodagu up to the Charmadi ghats.Karnataka, Travancore Kerala [4][5][6][7][8][9]

Ecology and behaviour[edit]

Very little is known about the Nilgiri marten. It is diurnal, and though arboreal, descends to the ground occasionally. It is reported to prey on birds, small mammals and insects such as cicadas. [10][11][12]


  1. ^ Choudhury, A.; Wozencraft, C.; Muddapa, D. & Yonzon, P. (2008). "Martes gwatkinsii". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2008. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 21 March 2009.  Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is of vulnerable
  2. ^ "The Book Of Indian Animals, S.H.PRATER Bombay Natural History Society, Oxford University Press, 2005". 
  3. ^ a b "Zoological Survey of India, Pune". Archived from the original on March 11, 2007. Retrieved August 26, 2011. 
  4. ^ Christopher, G. & Jayson, E.A. (1996) Sightings of Nilgiri marten (Martes gwatkinsii Horsfield) at Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary and Silent Valley National Park, Kerala, India. Small Carnivore Conservation, 15, 3–4.
  5. ^ Madhusudan, M.D. (1995) Sighting of the Nilgiri marten (Martes gwatkinsii) at Eravikulam National Park, Kerala, India. Small Carnivore Conservation, 13, 6–7.
  6. ^ Gokula, V. & Ramachandran, N.K. (1996) A record of the Nilgiri marten (Martes gwatkinsii Horsfield). J. Bombay nat. Hist. Soc., 93, 82.
  7. ^ Mudappa, D. 1999 Lesser known carnivores of the Western Ghats IN ENVIS Bulletin : Wildlife, Protected areas: Mustelids, Viverrids and Herpestides of India 2(2): 65–70 Publisher: Wildlife Institute of India, Dehra Dun, Editor: S. A. Hussain.
  8. ^ Balakrishnan, P. (2005) Recent sightings and habitat characteristics of the endemic Nilgiri Marten Martes gwatkinsii in Western Ghats, India.
  9. ^ Krishna, K. & Karnad, D. (2010) New records of the Nilgiri marten Martes gwatkinsii in the Western Ghats, India. Small Carnivore Conservation, 43, 23–27.
  10. ^ Hutton, A.F. (1944) Feeding habits of the Nilgiri marten. J. Bombay nat. Hist. Soc., 48, 374–375
  11. ^ "Nilgiri marten Martes gwatkinsii Horsfield, 1851". Archived from the original on September 15, 2007. Retrieved August 26, 2011. 
  12. ^ The book of Indian Animals S.H.Prater, Bombay Natural History Society, Oxford University Press, 2005

External links[edit]


Nilgiri Marten crossing the road in Anaimalai hills, Southern Wester Ghats