|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|Pine Marten or the American marten is a long, slender-bodied weasel about the size of a mink with relatively large rounded ears, short limbs, and a bushy tail. American marten have a roughly triangular head and sharp nose. Their long, silky fur ranges in color from pale yellowish buff to tawny brown to almost black. Their head is usually lighter than the rest of their body, while the tail and legs are darker. American marten usually have a characteristic throat and chest bib ranging in color from pale straw to vivid orange Sexual dimorphism is pronounced, with males averaging about 15% larger than females in length and as much as 65% larger in body weight. Body length ranges from 1.5 to 2.2 feet (0.5–0.7 m). Adult weight ranges from 1.1 to 3.1 pounds (0.5–1.4 kg) and varies by age and location. Other than size, sexes are similar in appearance. American marten have limited body-fat reserves, experience high mass-specific heat loss, and have a limited fasting endurance. In winter, individuals may go into shallow torpor daily to reduce heat loss.|
American marten activity patterns vary by region, though in general, activity is greater in summer than in winter. American marten may be active as much as 60% of the day in summer but as little as 16% of the day in winter. In north-central Ontario individuals were active about 10 to 16 hours a day in all seasons except late winter, when activity was reduced to about 5 hours a day. In south-central Alaska, American marten were more active in autumn (66% active) than in late winter and early spring (43% active). In northeastern California, more time spent was spent traveling and hunting in summer than in winter, suggesting that reduced winter activity may be related to thermal and food stress or may be the result of larger prey consumption and consequent decrease in time spent foraging.
American marten may be nocturnal or diurnal. Variability in daily activity patterns has been linked to activity of major prey species, foraging efficiency, gender, reducing exposure to extreme temperatures, season, and timber harvest. In northeastern California, activity in the snow-free season (May–December) was diurnal, while winter activity was largely nocturnal. In south-central Alaska, American marten were nocturnal in autumn, with strong individual variability in diel activity in late winter. Activity occurred throughout the day in late winter and early spring.
Daily distance traveled may vary by age, gender, habitat quality, season, prey availability, traveling conditions, weather, and physiological condition of the individual. Year-round daily movements in Grand Teton National Park ranged from 0 to 2.83 miles (0–4.57 km), averaging 0.6 mile (0.9 km, observations of 88 individuals). One marten in south-central Alaska repeatedly traveled 7 to 9 miles (11–14 km) overnight to move between 2 areas of home range focal activity. One individual in central Idaho moved as much as 9 miles (14 km) a day in winter, but movements were largely confined to a 1,280-acre (518 ha) area. Juvenile American marten in east-central Alaska traveled significantly farther each day than adults (1.4 miles (2.2 km) vs. 0.9 mile (1.4 km).
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