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 January 27, 2015 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 January 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How To: Mixed Green Salad Topped With Camembert Cheese

How To: Mixed Green Salad Topped With Camembert Cheese

Rumble (Jan. 26, 2015) Learn how to make a mixed green salad topped with a pan-seared camembert cheese in only a minute! Music: Courtesy of Audio Network. Video provided by Rumble
Powered by NewsLook.com
Water Fleas Prepare for Space Voyage

Water Fleas Prepare for Space Voyage

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 26, 2015) Scientists are preparing a group of water fleas for a unique voyage into space. The aquatic crustaceans, known as Daphnia, can be used as a miniature model for biomedical research, and their reproductive and swimming behaviour will be tested for signs of stress while on board the International Space Station. Jim Drury went to meet the team. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Husky Puppy Plays With Ferret

Husky Puppy Plays With Ferret

Rumble (Jan. 26, 2015) It looks like this 2-month-old Husky puppy and the family ferret are going to be the best of friends. Look at how much fun they&apos;re having together! Credit to &apos;Vira&apos;. Video provided by Rumble
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Model Flying, Walking Drone After Vampire Bats

Scientists Model Flying, Walking Drone After Vampire Bats

Buzz60 (Jan. 26, 2015) Swiss scientists build a new drone that can both fly and walk, modeling it after the movements of common vampire bats. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
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