of Texas - Online Edition
of study specimens.
Each species account in this book
includes under the heading "Description" a
number of standard measurements that may be helpful in
identifying species in the field or specimens in the
hand. Measurements are usually recorded in millimeters
and weights in grams, although measurements for larger
species may be recorded in meters and weights in
Explanations of the most common
standard measurements for mammals are as follows:
Total length length from tip
of nose pad to tip of fleshy part of tail, excluding
hairs that project beyond tip.
Length of tail with tail
held at right angle to body, the length from bend on
back to tip of fleshy part of tail, excluding hairs
that project beyond tip.
Length of hind foot distance
from tip of longest claw to heel.
Height of ear from notch
distance from notch at front base of ear to
distalmost border of fleshy part of ear.
Some mammal descriptions include other
measurements appropriate for the species, such as: length
of the forearm of bats; length of the metatarsal gland of
ungulates; height at shoulder of large mammals such as
bears and artiodactyls; length of pectoral fin, height of
dorsal fin, and girth of cetaceans.
Measurements of the skull are also
useful for identifying specimens, particularly those of
small mammals. The figure below illustrates some of the
more common identifying features of the skull and
selected standard measurements.