Advertisement

Acta Theriologica

, Volume 49, Issue 3, pp 337–347 | Cite as

Diet of free-ranging American mink and European polecat in Denmark

  • Mette Hammershøj
  • Erik A. Thomsen
  • Aksel B. Madsen
Article

Abstract

Stomach and intestine contents of 211 American minkMustela vison Schreber, 1777 from two areas (Thy and Bornholm) in Denmark and stomach contents of 47 polecatsM. putorius Linnaeus, 1758 from Thy were analysed. Sympatric mink (from Thy) preyed mostly on mammals (55% occurrence), followed by amphibians (36%), birds (33%) and fish (30%), whereas polecat preyed mostly on amphibians (87%) and mammals (34%), and only occasionally on birds (9%) and fish (6%). Allopatric mink (from Bornholm) preyed mostly on birds (50%), followed by mammals (42%), fish (25%) and amphibians (4%). With the possible exception of some amphibians, no endangered species were found in their diet. No differences were found in food composition between wild and escaped farm mink. The concern that mink in general might have a detrimental effect on its prey species and other mustelids in terms of food competition in Denmark may be unjustified. It cannot be ruled out, however, that mink may locally have a seriously negative effect on some specific prey species, and clearly, more data is needed on eg prey abundance and spring and summer mink diet, to make stronger conclusions.

Key words

Mustela vison M. putorius stomach contents dietary overlap escaped farm mink 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Aars J., Lambin X., Denny R. and Griffin A. C. 2001. Water vole in the Scottish uplands: distribution patterns of disturbed and pristine populations ahead and behind the American mink invasion front. Animal Conservation 4: 187–194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Akande M. 1972. The food of feral mink (Mustela vison) in Scotland. Journal of Zoology, London 167: 475–479.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barreto G. R. and Macdonald D. W. 2000. The decline and local extinction of a population of water voles,Arvicola terrestris, in southern England. Zeitschrift für Säugetierkunde 65: 110–120.Google Scholar
  4. Barreto G. R., Rushton S. P., Strachan R. and Macdonald D. W. 1998. The role of habitat and mink predation in determining the status and distribution of water voles in England. Animal Conservation 1: 129–137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bevanger K. and Ålbu O. 1987. Do the otterLutra lutra and the American minkMustela vison compete for habitat and nutrition? Fauna (Blindern) 40: 20–22. [In Norwegian with English summary]Google Scholar
  6. Birks J. D. S. and Dunstone N. 1985. Sex-related differences in the diet of the minkMustela vison. Holarctic Ecology 8: 245–252.Google Scholar
  7. Brom T. G. 1986. Microscopic identification of feathers and feather fragments of Palearctic birds. Bijdragen tot de Dierkunde 56: 181–204.Google Scholar
  8. Bueno F. 1996. Competition between American minkMustela vison and otterLutra lutra during winter. Acta Theriologica 41: 149–154.Google Scholar
  9. Böhme G. 1977. Zur Bestimmung quartärer Anuren Europas an Hand von Skelettelementen. Wissenschaftliche Zeitschrift der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Reihe 26: 283–300.Google Scholar
  10. Chanin P. R. F. and Linn I. 1980. The diet of the feral mink (Mustela vison) in southwest Britain. Journal of Zoology, London 192: 205–223.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Clode D. and Macdonald D. W. 1995. Evidence for food competition between mink (Mustela vison) and otter (Lutra lutra) on Scottish islands. Journal of Zoology, London 237: 435–444.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Craik C. 1997. Long-term effects of North American minkMustela vison on seabirds in western Scotland. Bird Study 44: 303–309.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cuthbert J. H. 1979. Food studies of feral minkMustela vison in Scotland. Fisheries Management 10: 17–25.Google Scholar
  14. Day M. G. 1966. Identification of hair and feather remains in the gut and faeces of stoats and weasels. Journal of Zoology, London 148: 201–217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Debrot S. 1982. Atlas des poils de mammifčres d’Europe. Institut de Zoologie, Université de Neuchâtel, Neuchâtel: 1–208.Google Scholar
  16. Erlinge S. 1969. Food habits of the otterLutra lutra L. and the minkMustela vison Schreber in a trout water in southern Sweden. Oikos 20: 1–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Erlinge S. 1972. Interspecific relations between otterLutra lutra and minkMustela vison in Sweden. Oikos 23: 327–335.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. European Commission 2001. The welfare of animals kept for fur production. Report of the Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare. European Commission, Health and Consumer Protection Directorate, Brussels, Belgium, 12–13 December 2001: 1–211.Google Scholar
  19. Gerell R. 1967. Food selection in relation to habitat in mink (Mustela vison Schreber) in Sweden. Oikos 18: 233–246.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hammershøj M. and Asferg T. 1999. [Mink and polecat hunting in Denmark 1996/97 and problems with the two species in relation to small poultry stocks]. National Environmental Research Institute, Denmark. NERI Technical Report no 273: 1–56. [In Danish with English summary]Google Scholar
  21. Hammershøj M., Pertoldi C., Asferg T., Møller T. B. and Kristensen, N. B. (in press). Danish free-ranging mink populations consist mainly of farm animals: evidence from microsatellite and stable isotope analyses. Journal for Nature Conservation.Google Scholar
  22. Hansen H.-M. and Jacobsen L. 1992. [Aspects of the feeding biology of otters (Lutra lutra L.) in Denmark]. MSc thesis, Department of Zoology, Biological Institute, Aarhus University, Denmark: 1–85.Google Scholar
  23. Heggenes J. and Borgstrøm R. 1988. Effect of mink,Mustela vison Schreber, predation on cohorts of juvenile Atlantic salmon,Salmo salar L., and brown trout,S. trutta L., in three small streams. Journal of Fish Biology 33: 885–894.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Jędrzejewska B., Sidorovich V. E., Pikulik M. M. and Jędrzejewski W. 2001. Feeding habits of the otter and the American mink in Białowieża Primeval Forest (Poland) compared to other Eurasian populations. Ecography 24: 165–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Jenkins D. and Harper R. J. 1980. Ecology of otters in northern Scotland II. Analyses of otter (Lutra lutra) and mink (Mustela vison) faeces from Deeside, N. E. Scotland in 1977–78. Journal of Animal Ecology 49: 737–754.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kilpi M. 1995. Breeding success, predation and local dynamics of colonial common gullsLarus canus. Annales Zoologici Fennici 32: 175–182.Google Scholar
  27. Kyne M. J., Smal C. M. and Fairley J. S. 1989. The food of ottersLutra lutra in the Irish midlands and a comparison with that of minkMustela vison in the same region. Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 89B: 33–46.Google Scholar
  28. Landgren T. 1996. [Re-distribution of black-headed gullLarus ridibundus colonies in NE Vänern during 1985–1995]. Ornis Svecica 6 (1–2): 45–56. [In Swedish with English summary]Google Scholar
  29. Levins R. 1968. Evolution in changing environments: Some theoretical explorations. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey: 1–120.Google Scholar
  30. Maitland P. S. 1972. A key to the freshwater fishes of the British Isles with notes on their distribution and ecology. Freshwater Biological Association, Ambleside, Scientific Publication No 27: 1–139.Google Scholar
  31. Nordström M., Högmander J., Laine J., Nummelin J., Laanetu N. and Korpimäki E. 2003. Effects of feral mink removal on seabirds, waders and passerines on small islands in the Baltic Sea. Biological Conservation 109: 359–368.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Riley T. Z., Clark W. R., Ewing D. E. and Vohs P. A. 1998. Survival of ring-necked pheasant chicks during brood rearing. The Journal of Wildlife Management 62: 36–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Schaefer H. 1932. Die Artbestimmung der deutschen Anuren nach dem Skelet. Zeitschrift für Anatomie und Entwicklungsgeschichte, Berlin 1932: 767–779.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Sidorovich V. E. 1992. Comparative analysis of the diets of European mink (Mustela lutreola), American mink (M. vison), and polecat (M. putorius) in Byelorussia. Small Carnivore Conservation 6: 2–4.Google Scholar
  35. Sidorovich V. E. 2000. Seasonal variation in the feeding habits of riparian mustelids in river valleys of NE Belarus. Acta Theriologica 45: 233–242.Google Scholar
  36. Sidorovich V. E. and Pikulik M. M. 1997. ToadsBufo spp. in the diets of mustelid predators in Belarus. Acta Theriologica 42: 105–108.Google Scholar
  37. Steinmetz B. and Müller R. 1991. An atlas of fish scales and other bony structures used for age determination. Non-salmonid species found in European fresh waters. Samara Publishing, Cardigan: 1–51.Google Scholar
  38. Strachan C. and Jefferies D. J. 1996. An assessment of the diet of the feral American minkMustela vison from scats collected in areas where water volesArvicola terrestris occur. Naturalist 121: 73–81.Google Scholar
  39. Teerink B. J. 1991. Hair of West-European mammals. Atlas and identification key. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: 1–224.Google Scholar
  40. Uraguchi K., Saitoh T., Kondo N. and Abe H. 1987. Food habits of the feral mink (Mustela vison Schreber) in Hokkaido. Journal of the Mammalogical Society of Japan 12: 57–67.Google Scholar
  41. Ward D. P., Smal C. M. and Fairley J. S. 1986. The food of minkMustela vison in the Irish midlands. Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 86B: 169–182.Google Scholar
  42. Webb J. B. 1980. Otter spraint analysis. The Mammal Society, Reading, Berkshire, UK: 1–13.Google Scholar
  43. Wise M. H., Linn I. J. and Kennedy C. R. 1981. A comparison of the feeding biology of minkMustela vison and otterLutra lutra. Journal of Zoology, London 195: 181–213.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Woodroffe G. L., Lawton J. H. and Davidson W. L. 1990. The impact of feral minkMustela vison on water volesArvicola terrestris in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park. Biological Conservation 51: 49–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Yalden D. W. 1997. The current status of the water voleArvicola terrestris in the Peak District. The Naturalist 122: 83–88.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Mammal Research Institute, Bialowieza, Poland 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mette Hammershøj
    • 1
    • 2
  • Erik A. Thomsen
    • 1
    • 3
  • Aksel B. Madsen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Wildlife Ecology and BiodiversityNational Environmental Research InstituteRøndeDenmark
  2. 2.Department of Population Ecology, Zoological InstituteUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark
  3. 3.Department of Genetics and Ecology, Institute of Biological SciencesUniversity of AarhusAarhus C

Personalised recommendations