We studied the morphology of American mink Neovison vison in five out of the six introduced populations in Spain. The spatial and temporal variation of body weight (BW), body length (BL), tail length, hind-foot length and ear length were analysed. Temporal trends in BW and BL in relation to years since mink introduction were also analyzed. In addition, we tested the effect of sex, age (juvenile, subadult and adult) and age–sex interaction, on each parameter. Morphological parameters differed between populations, illustrating the high variability of body size of American mink in different environments, and the phenotypic plasticity of the species. Annual variations were synchronized between populations, suggesting a large-scale effect on all of them. BW and BL showed a decreasing trend in both males and females in relation to years since introduction. This decrease may be related to mink's diet. Differences in sex and age were found, pointing to sexual dimorphism in adults, subadults and juveniles. The dimorphism in non-adult individuals suggests that subadult males may have a competitive advantage from subadult females in feeding and/or hunting on bigger prey from an early age (resource partitioning hypothesis).
- neovison vison
- phenotypic plasticity
- spatial and temporal variations
- introduced species