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An endemic enigma: the secret identity of Hong Kong's black paradise fish
New reef fish from High Island dam dollos
The humphead wrasse: a threatened species
Reproductive biology of Halichoeres nigrescens, the bubblefin wrasse
What is SCRFA?
Starling Inlet - tomorrow's empty wetland?
The 2002 Woodland Breeding Bird Survey - result highlights
Nesting population of egrets and herons in 2002-preliminary results
Is the Yellow-throated Marten in Hong Kong?
More tiger talk

Is the Yellow-throated Marten in Hong Kong?

by Michael Lau

There has only been one single sighting of Yellow-throated Marten (Martes flavigula) in Hong Kong, in which a juvenile was seen near Wu Kau Tang (Cook, 1994). This record was often quoted by subsequent authors who treated this species as native to the territory (e.g. Reels, 1996; Pei, 2001). However, while the mammal survey conducted by the Wildlife Conservation Foundation failed to find this species, another mustelid, Yellow-bellied Weasel (Mustela kathiah), was photographed by camera traps in the Pat Sin Leng area (Pei, 2001). Cook’s (1994) descriptions of the animal - body length 200-250 mm, uniform dark-chestnut upperparts and orange cream colour underparts - actually match that of Yellow-bellied Weasel. On the other hand, the Yellow-throated Marten is much larger (body length 450-560 mm), the fore body is paler than the head and the hind body, and only the throat and chest are yellow in colour (Lekagul and McNeely, 1988; Ma et al., 2001). Cook (1994) thought the animal he saw in late May was probably a juvenile Yellow-throated Marten of about 2-months old because of its small size. However, Yellow-throated Marten is reported to give birth in May (Sheng et al., 1999), thus casting further doubt on the original record. Hence, I think the Wu Kau Tang animal was actually a Yellow-bellied Weasel which locally seems to be restricted to the Northeast New Territories.


Cook, D. (1994). Sighting of a Yellow-throated Marten, Martes flavigula (Boddaert) in Hong Kong. Porcupine! 10: 3.

Lekagul, B. & McNeely, J.A. (1988). Mammals of Thailand. Darnsutha Press, Bangkok.

Ma, S., Ma, X. & Shi, W. (2001). A Guide to Mammal Tracking in China. China Forestry Publishing House, Beijing. (in Chinese).

Pei, K.J.C. (2001). The present status of non-flying terrestrial mammals in Hong Kong SAR. In: Proceedings of the Workshop on the Status and Conservation of Hong Kong’s Wild Animals and Plants pp. 119-144. Wildlife Conservation Foundation (Ed.). Wildlife Conservation Foundation, Hong Kong.

Reels, G. (1996). Distribution of large mammals in Hong Kong – a summary of sightings made since mid-1992. Porcupine! 15: 36-38.

Sheng, H., Ohtaishi, N. & Lu, H. (1999). The Mammals of China. China Forestry Publishing House, Beijing.


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