The vertical distribution of introduced Siberian weasels Mustela sibirica and endemic Japanese weasels M. itatsi in the Seburi Mountains in Kyushu, Japan, was examined from October 1996 to February 1998. Siberian weasels occurred near villages with paddy and cultivated fields, whereas Japanese weasels occurred in grasslands and plantations. The dispersion of yearlings destabilized the distributions of both weasel species. The horizontal distribution of both species throughout Japan was examined by means of collection of dead specimens and by trapping from March 1998 to March 2002. The eastern boundary of the distribution of the Siberian weasel was Fukui, Nagano, and Aichi prefectures; however, the distribution is expanding slowly eastward. The Siberian weasel cannot invade new habitats that lack nearby villages in Seburi, and cannot expand its range in the eastern area of Aichi, where Japanese weasels are dominant. The presence of the Japanese weasel likely prevents expansion of the distribution of the Siberian weasel.
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Vol. 39 • No. 3