Morphological variation of introduced species: the case of American mink (Neovison vison) in Spain

Yolanda Melero, Giulia Santulli , Asunción Gómez, Joaquim Gosàlbez, Cristina Rodriguez-Refojos , Santiago Palazón

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Abstract

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).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)345-350
Number of pages6
JournalMammalian Biology
Volume77
Issue number5
Early online date2 Mar 2012
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2012

Keywords

  • neovison vison
  • phenotypic plasticity
  • spatial and temporal variations
  • morphology
  • introduced species

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    Melero, Y., Santulli , G., Gómez, A., Gosàlbez, J., Rodriguez-Refojos , C., & Palazón, S. (2012). Morphological variation of introduced species: the case of American mink (Neovison vison) in Spain. Mammalian Biology, 77(5), 345-350. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mambio.2012.02.001