Neovison vison 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Carnivora Mustelidae

Scientific Name: Neovison vison (Schreber, 1777)
Common Name(s):
English American Mink
Mustela vison Schreber, 1777
Taxonomic Notes: Commonly included in Mustela, separated accordingly to Abramov (2000). 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: 2016
Date Assessed: 2015-03-01
Assessor(s): Reid, F., Schiaffini, M. & Schipper, J.
Reviewer(s): Duckworth, J.W.
This species is listed as Least Concern because it has a wide distribution and is relatively common across this range. Although local declines have occurred, the species is secure in many areas.
Previously published Red List assessments:

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. As a result of escapes and intentional releases, the species is now naturalised in many parts of Europe after very rapid increase in some countries but only uncertain colonisation of some others (Mitchell-Jones et al. 1999, Bonesi and Palazon 2007, Hegyeli and Kecskés 2014). Feral populations of American Mink also occur in Japan (Hokkaido; Kishimoto 2005) and in South America (Previtali et al. 1998) in southern Argentina and Chile (Jaksic et al. 2002).
Countries occurrence:
Canada; United States
Argentina; Austria; Belarus; Chile; Czech Republic; Denmark; Estonia; Finland; France; Germany; Greece; Iceland; Ireland; Italy; Japan; Latvia; Lithuania; Montenegro; Norway; Poland; Portugal; Romania; Russian Federation; Serbia; Spain; Sweden; Ukraine; United Kingdom
Additional data:
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 expropriated beaver Castor or Muskrat Ondatra 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, its diet reflects the local prey base (Ben-David et al. 1997). Typical prey are fish, amphibians, crustaceans, Muskrats, and small mammals (Day and Linn 1972, Chanin and Linn 1980, Birks and Dunstone 1985, Bueno 1994). Many other prey can be taken 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

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: For information on use and trade, see under Threats.

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 potential threat to this species. The American Mink suffers from environmental pollution caused by polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which may even cause infertility (Schreiber et al. 1989).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: American Mink is among the most important species in fur-fanning operations (Peterson 1966, Thompson 1968). It 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
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
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

Bibliography [top]

Abramov, A.V. 2000. A taxonomic review of the genus Mustela (Mammalia, Carnivora). Zoosystematica Rossica 8: 357–364.

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.

Banfield, A.W.F. 1974. The Mammals of Canada. University of Toronto Press.

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.

Bonesi, L. and Palazon, S. 2007. The American Mink in Europe: status, impacts, and control. Biological Conservation 134: 470–483.

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

Chanin, P.R.F and I. Linn. 1980. The diet of feral mink (Mustela vison) in southwest Britain. Jounral of Zoology (London) 192(205-223).

Day, M.G. and Linn, I. 1972. Notes on the food of feral mink Mustela vison in England and Wales. Journal of Zoology 167: 463-473.

Hegyeli, Z. and Kecskés, A. 2014. The occurrence of wild-living American Mink Neovison vison in Transylvania, Romania. Small Carnivore Conservation 51: 23–28.

IUCN. 2016. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016-1. Available at: (Accessed: 30 June 2016).

Jaksic, F.M., Iriarte, J.A., Jiménez, J.E. and Martínez, D.R. 2002. Invaders without frontiers: cross-border invasions of exotic mammals. Biological Invasions 4: 157-173.

Kishimoto, R. 2005. Invasion of an alien species, American Mink (Mustela vison), into the upper area of Chikuma river. Bulletin of Nagato Environmental Conservation Revearch Institute 1: 65–68. (In Japanese.)

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.L. 1966. The Mammals of Eastern Canada. Oxford University Press, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

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. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore.

Citation: Reid, F., Schiaffini, M. & Schipper, J. 2016. Neovison vison. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T41661A45214988. . Downloaded on 18 September 2018.
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