Space use and habitat preferences of the invasive American mink (Mustela vison) in a Mediterranean area

Yolanda Melero (Corresponding Author), Santiago Palazon, Eloy Revilla, Joana Martello, Joaquim Gosalbez

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Abstract

Space use, intra-territorial habitat preferences, and factors affecting both were studied in an invading population of American mink, Mustela vison, in two rivers of a Mediterranean region of Spain. Average linear home range was 1.19¿±¿0.73 km (±SD) and core area was 0.21¿±¿0.08 km for resident males (n¿=¿10); while for females (n¿=¿5) they were 0.54¿±¿0.14 and 0.19¿±¿0.11 km, respectively. Overlapping between the home ranges of residents was low. In no case their core areas overlapped. Home ranges were small in comparison to other study areas and in general the resident minks were territorial. Linear home range length was related to individual weight and to the river. Weight had a positive effect indicating a potential body condition effect, while river may be showing a habitat quality effect. Habitat preferences were positively affected by the abundance of helophytic vegetation and negatively by the presence of human activity. Helophytic vegetation offers both food and refuges, while human activity may represent a potential danger. Percentage of captures was higher inside the core areas and was slightly influenced positively by abundance of helophytic vegetation. All this information should be considered when designing and implementing measures to control the expansion of American minks. We recommend keeping going with the trapping sessions but, given the results obtained, reducing the distance between traps down to 200 m to maximize capturability (i.e., about doubling the trapping effort), and, when available, placing them near helophytic vegetation. In the absence of helophytic vegetation, traps should be located near any kind of vegetation providing coverage for mink and far from human activity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)609-617
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Wildlife Research
Volume54
Issue number4
Early online date20 Mar 2008
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2008

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Keywords

  • Mustela vison
  • home range
  • habitat selection
  • control management
  • Spain

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