Neovison vison 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Carnivora Mustelidae

Scientific Name: Neovison vison
Species Authority: (Schreber, 1777)
Common Name(s):
English American Mink
Mustela vison Schreber, 1777
Taxonomic Notes: Commonly included in Mustela, separated accordingly to Abramov (1999). Cytogenetic and biochemical data support placement of the American Mink and Sea Mink in the genus Neovison rather than in Mustela (Wozencraft, 2005).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Reid, F. & Helgen, K.
Reviewer(s): Duckworth, J.W. (Small Carnivore Red List Authority) & Schipper, J. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
This species is listed as Least Concern as the species has a wide distribution range and is relatively common across its range. Although local declines have occurred, the species is secure in many areas.
Previously published Red List assessments:
1996 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The species occurs in North America from Alaska and Canada through the United States except Arizona and the dry
parts of California, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, and western Texas. The American mink was deliberately introduced as a fur animal in Russia, and in other parts of Europe and, as a result of escapes and their intentional release in Russia and other countries, the species is now naturalised in many parts of Europe (Mitchell-Jones et al., 1999). The european range area increased rapidly and now it includes: Belarus, Belgium, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britian, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan (Hokkaido), Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden. Feral populations of American mink have been reported also in South America (Previtali, 1998).
Countries occurrence:
Canada; United States
Belarus; Belgium; Czech Republic; Denmark; Estonia; Finland; France; Germany; Iceland; Italy; Latvia; Lithuania; Montenegro; Netherlands; Norway; Poland; Portugal; Russian Federation; Serbia (Serbia); Spain; Sweden; Ukraine; United Kingdom
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Generally abundant throughout its distribution (Larivière, 1999). Population density of about 1-8/km2 have been recorded (Nowak, 2005). In good habitat, density may be 9-22 per sq mile (Banfield 1974).
Current Population Trend: Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species is found along streams and lakes as well as in swamps and marshes. It prefers densely vegetated areas. It dens under stones or the roots of trees, in espropriated beaver or muskrat houses, or in self-excavated burrows (Nowak, 2005). The species can be found in xeric habitats if food is abundant (Arnold and Fritzell, 1990).
Strictly carnivorous, and its diet reflects the local prey base (Ben-David et al., 1997). Typical prey are fish, amphibians, crustaceans, muskrats, and small mammals (Birks and Dunstone, 1985; Bueno, 1994; Chanin and Linn, 1980; Cuthbert, 1979; Day and Linn, 1972). But other prey can be found occasionally (Larievière, 1999). Males have large home ranges that extend for a half mile or more along waterways and overlap with the smaller home ranges of several females (Wilson and Ruff, 1999).
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Wild populations of American mink are still hunted for fur. Alteration of its habitat, namely densely vegetated river courses and other wetlands represents another threat for this species. The American mink is known to suffer from environmental pollution caused by chlorinated hydrocarbons (PCBs) which may even cause infertility (Schreiber et al., 1989).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: American mink is currently the most important species in fur-fanning operations (Peterson, 1966; Thompson, 1968). The American mink is among the most valuable fur animals, most of the mink fur used in commerce is produced on farms (Nowak, 2005).

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.4. Forest - Temperate
suitability: Suitable  major importance:Yes
3. Shrubland -> 3.4. Shrubland - Temperate
suitability: Marginal  
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.1. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls)
suitability: Suitable  major importance:Yes
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.2. Wetlands (inland) - Seasonal/Intermittent/Irregular Rivers/Streams/Creeks
suitability: Suitable  major importance:Yes
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.3. Wetlands (inland) - Shrub Dominated Wetlands
suitability: Suitable  major importance:Yes
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.4. Wetlands (inland) - Bogs, Marshes, Swamps, Fens, Peatlands
suitability: Suitable  major importance:Yes

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
In-Place Species Management
  Harvest management plan:Yes
  Subject to ex-situ conservation:Yes
In-Place Education
2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.3. Agro-industry farming
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.1. Intentional use (species is the target)
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.2. Unintentional effects (species is not the target)
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

5. Biological resource use -> 5.3. Logging & wood harvesting -> 5.3.5. Motivation Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

9. Pollution -> 9.2. Industrial & military effluents -> 9.2.3. Type Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

♦  Wearing apparel, accessories
 National : ✓  International : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

Arnold, T.W. and Fritzell, E.K. 1990. Habitat use by male Mink in relation to wetland characteristics and avian prey abundances. Canadian Journal of Zoology 68: 2205-2208.

Ben-David, M., Hanleyd, T., Klein, R. and Schell, D. 1997. Seasonal changes in diets of coastal and riverine Mink: the role of spawning Pacific salmon. Canadian Journal of Zoology 75: 803-811.

Birks, J.D.S. and Dunstone, N. 1985. Sex-related differences in the diet of the Mink Mustela vison. Holarctic Ecology 8: 245-252.

Bueno, F. 1994. Alimentacion del vison Americana (Mustela vison, Schreber) en el Rio Voltoya (Avila, Cuenca del Duero). Doñana, Acta Vertebrata 215: 13.

Larivière, S. 1999. Mustela vison. Mammalian Species 608: 1-9.

Mitchell-Jones, A.J., Amori, G., Bogdanowicz, W., Kryštufek, B., Reijnders, P.J.H., Spitzenberger, F., Stubbe, M., Thissen, J.B.M., Vohralik, V. and Zima, J. 1999. The Atlas of European Mammals. Academic Press, London, UK.

Nowak, R. M. 2005. Walker’s Carnivores of the world. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA and London, UK.

Peterson, R. 1966. The mammals of eastern Canada. Oxford University Press, Toronto.

Previtali, A., Cassini, M.H. and Macdonald, D.W. 1998. Habitat use and diet of the American Mink (Mustela vison) in Argentinian Patagonia. Journal of Zoology (London) 246: 482-486.

Schreiber, A., Wirth, R., Riffel, M. and Van Rompaey, H. 1989. Weasels, civets, mongooses, and their relatives. An Action Plan for the conservation of mustelids and viverrids. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.

Thompson, H. 1968. British wild mink. Annals of Applied Biology 61: 345-349.

Wilson, D.E. and Ruff, S. 1999. The Smithsonian Book of North American Mammals. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC, USA.

Wozencraft, W.C. 2005. Order Carnivora. In: D.E. Wilson and D.M. Reeder (eds), Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. Third Edition, pp. 532-628. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC, USA.

Citation: Reid, F. & Helgen, K. 2008. Neovison vison. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T41661A10504297. . Downloaded on 26 June 2016.
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