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Organ weight-body weight interrelationships in the family Mustelidae : (order carnivora) Daniel, Michael John

Abstract

The main objective of this study was to draw up prediction tables of presumably "normal" organ weights from the computed regression equations for the following species of the family Mustelidae: Mustela vison, Martes americana, and Martes pennanti. These tables would be of value to the pathologist, the nutritionist, and to the wildlife biologist interested in these important fur-bearers. The ranch mink used in this study were sacrificed by two methods. One hundred by hydrogen cyanide and ninety-six by electrocution. Histological sections of the organs were prepared to compare the effects of these two methods. It was found that there was no significant sex difference in the equations for the cyanide sacrificed mink. The electrocuted mink, however, showed marked sex differences with the exponents of the females being from 3-5 times those of the males. Histological sections showed this to be due to differential engorgement. The mink were found to have relatively lighter hearts and lungs than both of the other Mustelids and the predicted values of Brody. The adrenal glands of the mink were also well below those of the marten and fisher and Brody's figures. The weights of the thyroid and parathyroid glands of the marten and fisher were also well below those predicted by Brody. The regression of organ weight and body weight gave high correlations in the three species studied for the heart, lungs, kidney, liver and stomach. Low correlation coefficients were found for the spleen, adrenal glands, thyroid and parathyroid glands and the testes. The heart weight, being the organ least affected by changing physiological conditions in an animal, is tentatively proposed as a new base line against which to express the other organ systems.

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