* = know to species, know all listed suborders and families

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Order Carnivora Mammalogy Lab
Be able to identify the skulls, and skins if available, of these animals. You should also know the common names since some are important game and subsistence species and are rarely referred to using scientific names by the public.

* = know to species, know all listed suborders and families

All families in Carnivora are referred to as “fissipeds” except for the “pinnipeds,” which include the families Odobenidae, Otariidae, and Phocidae.

Suborder: Feliformia

Family: Felidae

  • post canine dental formula 2-3/2, 1/1; M1 is “M” shaped in outline

* Lynx canadensis


Lynx rufus


* Puma concolor

mountain lion, cougar, catamount, etc.

Suborder: Caniformia

Family: Canidae

  • post canine dental formula 4/4, 2-4/3-5

* Alopex lagopus (Vulpes pending)

Arctic fox

Narrower rostrum than V. vulpes, only canid with seasonal color change

* Vulpes vulpes

red fox

* Canis lupus


* Canis latrans


Family: Mustelidae weasels, badgers, otters, and relatives

  • upper molar dumbbell shaped or oriented transverse

* Enhydra lutris

sea otter

Massive bunodont teeth, only two lower incisors (per quadrant)

* Lontra canadensis

river otter

Large supraorbital process

* Gulo gulo


Sagittal crest developed

* Martes americana


Small spike on zyg. arch

* Mustela erminea


seasonal color change

Mustela frenata

long tailed weasel

Mustela nivalis

least weasel

* Mustela vison


* Martes pennanti


rare in AK (Southeast)

* Taxidea taxus

American badger

Family: Procyonidae Raccoons, coatis, kinkajou

* Procyon lotor


carnassials not developed, alisphenoid canal absent

Family: Ursidae –Bears, pandas

* Ursus americanus

black bear

* Ursus arctos

brown bear

Last molar tapers posteriorly

* Ursus maritimus

polar bear

Family: Mephitidae Skunks and stink badgers

Spilogale putorius

eastern spotted skunk

Mephitis mephitis

striped skunk

v-shaped white stripe on back

Pinnipeds”- (feather foot; Families: Odobenidae, Otariidae, Phocidae)

Family: Odobenidae

* Odobenus rosmarus


lower incisors absent or vestigial, upper canines very long and tusk-like, dense skull

Family: Otariidae – alisphenoid canal present, dental formula 3/2, 1/1 postcanines 5-7/5; hindlimbs can rotate forward, postcanine teeth usually unicuspid

* Callorhinus ursinus

northern fur seal

in AK breed on Pribilof and Bogoslof Is., form rookeries, harvested for fur, small sagittal crest

* Eumetopias jubatus

Steller’s sea lion

endangered species, largest Otariid, space between 4th and 5th upper postcanines, strong sexual dimorphism

Family: Phocidae (dental formula 2-3/1-2, 1/1, 4-6/4-6, hindlimbs can not rotate forward, pinnae absent, alisphenoid canal absent, postorbital process usually absent, postcanines usually not unicuspid)

Erignathus barbatus

bearded seal

circumpolar, important subsistence food, broad rostrum, frontals extend posteriorly with rounded lobes

* Phoca vitulina

harbor seal

inhabits both coasts of NA, mainly in ice free areas, separated from P. largha by cranial features, rostrum broader than P. hispida

* Phoca largha

spotted seal

irregular black spots on back and flanks over brown-yellowish background fur, similar in appearance to harbor seals, ice associated, breed and pup on ice, occipitals extend anteriorly into parietals, protruding maxilla

* Phoca hispida

ringed seal

smallest northern phocid, dark gray with pale gray rings on back and sides, unique use of subnivian lairs, ice associated year-round, very important polar bear and arctic fox prey species, important subsistence species, very narrow rostrum and inter-orbital region

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