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.

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 July 29, 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 July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
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:
from the past week

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