Five taxa of the Mustelidae family now occur on the Mediterranean islands: the pine marten, Martes martes L., 1758, distributed on some of the Balearic and Tyrrhenian islands, the stone marten, M. foina Erxleben, 1777, which occurs on many islands of the basin, the badger, Meles meles Brisson, 1762, that has been only reported from some Greek islands, the weasel, Musteln nivalis L., 1766, common to many of the islands, and the otter, Lutra lutra L., 1758, recorded from the Greek islands. During Late Pleistocene times, only few carnivores seem to have occurred, however, on these islands and none is referable to the species that are present today. Paleontological evidence attests only to the occurrence of endemic elements, most of which were related to the Lutrinae subfamily. Apart from L. lutra, the absence during Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene of the continental species present today suggests that these carnivores are allochthonous. They were imported by man, for various purposes, probably since prehistorical and/or early historical times.
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