Lutra is a genus of otters, one of seven in the subfamily Lutrinae.
1 Taxonomy and evolution
1.1 Extant Species
Taxonomy and evolution
The genus includes these recent species:
coasts of Europe, many parts of Asia, and parts of northern Africa
L. nippon –
Japanese river otter
Japanese river otter - extinct
The genus most likely evolved in Asia during the late Pliocene
epoch; the oldest fossil belonging to the genus is of the species
L. palaeindica, and dates from the late Pliocene.
Lutra species are semiaquatic mammals, so they are well-adapted to
both water and land. They prefer shallow, narrow areas of streams
surrounded by mature trees and with rocks, especially where weirs
reduce the flow of the water, as well as attract fishes. They seem to
tolerate roads and residential and agricultural areas, but only
moderate human interaction. They clearly avoid areas without
vegetation cover and rocks.
The otters' diets consist mainly of fish (hence, the aquatic
environment). However, during the winter and in colder environments,
fish consumption is significantly lower and the otters use other
resources for their food supply. Their diets can consist of amphibians
(mainly frogs and pond turtles), bird predation (mainly anserine
species), small rodents, and invertebrates such as water beetles,
snails, and crayfish. They have also feed on plants, specifically
grasses. With this large diversity of prey and resources for their
diets, otters are considered "opportunistic eaters".
Some otters live in solitude, while others live in groups.
^ Koepfli, K.-P.; et al. (2008). "Multigene phylogeny of the
Mustelidae: Resolving relationships, tempo and biogeographic history
of a mammalian adaptive radiation". BMC Biology. 6 (10).
doi:10.1186/1741-7007-6-10. PMC 2276185 .
^ Larivière, S. (2002). "
Lutra maculicollis". Mammalian Species:
Number 712: pp. 1–6.
^ Cho, Hee-Sun; Choi, Kwang-Hee; Lee, Sang-Don; Park, Young-Seuk
(2009). "Characterizing habitat preference of Eurasian river otter
Lutra lutra) in streams using a self-organizing map". Limnology. 10
(3): 203. doi:10.1007/s10201-009-0275-7.
^ Lanszki, József; Molnár, M. & Molnár, T. (2006). "Factors
affecting the predation of otter (
Lutra lutra) on European pond turtle
(Emys orbicularis)". Journal of Zoology. 270 (2): 219.
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Fauna Europaea: 305304