Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Whiskers hold secrets of invasive minks

Date:
January 3, 2010
Source:
University of Exeter
Summary:
Details of the lifestyle of mink, which escaped from fur farms and now live wild in the UK, have been revealed through analysis of their whiskers. New research reveals more about the diet of this invasive species and provides a clue to its whereabouts. There are now plans to use the findings to eradicate it from environments where it can be devastating to native species.

Originally introduced for their fur, American mink cause devastation to UK wildlife.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Exeter

Details of the lifestyle of mink, which escaped from fur farms and now live wild in the UK, have been revealed through analysis of their whiskers. Research led by the University of Exeter reveals more about the diet of this invasive species and provides a clue to its whereabouts. There are now plans to use the findings to eradicate it from environments where it can be devastating to native species.

Related Articles


Published in the Journal of Applied Ecology, the study focused on American mink living in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland. The scientists used stable isotope analysis to study the whiskers and claws of mink carcasses collected on the islands. This technique generates a kind of unique chemical fingerprint, providing a record of an animal's diet over time. The results showed that the mink had been increasingly reliant on seafood, proving to the scientists that mink had started to move to the coastline around the islands.

Wildlife biologists from the Food and Environment Research Agency have been working to eradicate mink, which escaped from fur farms and now live wild on the Outer Hebrides. Having successfully eradicated mink from two islands -- Uist and Harris -- the team now plans to use the research findings to manage populations across the Outer Hebrides. As a result of the study, the team will focus future efforts on coastal regions.

The American mink is a predator that has a devastating effect on many native UK species, including water voles and other mammals, fish and seabirds. The first American mink were brought to British fur farms in 1929 and all wild mink in Britain today are descendants of escapees.

Dr Thomas Bodey of the University of Exeter said: "The American Mink is one of the most damaging invasive species living in the UK today and sadly it has a devastating effect on UK wildlife. We were astonished at how much we could find out by analysing the claws and whiskers of the mink and are delighted to know that our results are helping manage this problem in the Outer Hebrides."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Exeter. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Exeter. "Whiskers hold secrets of invasive minks." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 January 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091223094732.htm>.
University of Exeter. (2010, January 3). Whiskers hold secrets of invasive minks. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091223094732.htm
University of Exeter. "Whiskers hold secrets of invasive minks." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091223094732.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) In Africa's only biosafety level 4 laboratory, scientists have been carrying out experiments on bats to understand how virus like Ebola are being transmitted, and how some of them resist to it. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 27, 2014) A British palaeontologist has discovered a new species of dinosaur while studying fossils in a Canadian museum. Pentaceratops aquilonius was related to Triceratops and lived at the end of the Cretaceous Period, around 75 million years ago. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) Tryptophan, a chemical found naturally in turkey meat, gets blamed for sleepiness after Thanksgiving meals. But science points to other culprits. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) The iconic piano from "Casablanca" and the Cowardly Lion suit from "The Wizard of Oz" fetch millions at auction. Sara Hemrajani reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins