Mustelids are a group of carnivores commonly referred to as weasels.
Mustelidae, as the largest and most-diverse family of order Carnivora, comprises eight subfamilies throughout all continents except Australia and Antarctica.
Mustelids display extensive ecomorphological diversity and both locomotor and dietary diversity, with different lineages having evolved into an array of adaptive zones, from fossorial badgers to semi-aquatic otters. Mustelids are also widely distributed, with multiple genera found on different continents.
Recent classifications of the Mustelidae recognize up to eight subfamilies: Mustelinae, Galictinae, Helictidinae, Martinae, Melinae, Lutrinae, Mellivorinae, and Taxidiinae.
Phylogenetic relationships among these subfamlies have been hotly disputed in pioneer studies and are not well established yet.
The main problem is that the family Mustelidae represents a typical example of rapid evolutionary radiation and recent speciation event, dating back to the Oligocene.
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