Diet of the American mink Mustela vison and its potential impact on the native fauna of Navarino Island, Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve, Chile


Article discussing the diet of the invasive American mink (Mustela vison) and its ecological impacts on the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve in Chile.

Creation Date: 2008
UNT College of Arts and Sciences
UNT Scholarly Works
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Creator (Author):
Schüttler, Elke

UFZ Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research; Universidad de Magallanes; Universität München-Weihenstephan

Creator (Author):
Cárcamo, Jaime

Universidad de Magallanes

Creator (Author):
Rozzi, Ricardo, 1960-

University of North Texas; Universidad de Magallanes

Publisher Info:
Place of Publication: [Santiago, Chile]
  • Creation: 2008

Article discussing the diet of the invasive American mink (Mustela vison) and its ecological impacts on the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve in Chile.


Abstract: Invasive exotic species of mammalian predators represent a major cause of vertebrate animal extinctions on islands, particularly those that lack native mammalian carnivores. In 2001, the American mink (Mustela vison) was recorded for the first time on Navarino Island, in the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve (55° S) in Chile, representing the southernmost population of mink worldwide. In order to assess its potential impact on native fauna, the authors studied its diet on Navarino Island, as part of an integrative management program on invasive species. Over a three-year period (2005-2007) the authors collected 512 scats in semi-aquatic habitats: marine coasts, riparian and lake shores. Overall, the main prey was mammals (37% biomass), and birds (36%), followed by fish (24%). Over the spring and summer, mink consumed significantly more birds, whereas mammals constituted the main prey over the autumn and winter when migratory birds had left the area. Among birds, the mink preyed mainly on adult Passeriformes, followed by Anseriformes and Pelecaniformes, caught as chicks. Among mammals, the exotic muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus) was the most important prey, and together with the native rodent Abrothrix xanthorhinus it accounted for 78% of the biomass intake. For an integrated management of invasive exotic mammal species on Navarino Island and in the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve it is important to further research interactions established here among the various introduced mammals, and to initiate immediate control of the mink population in its initial stage of invasion.

Physical Description:

14 p.

Keyword(s): conservation | exotic mammals | management | mustelids | waterbirds
Source: Revista Chilena de Historia Natural, 2008, Santiago: Sociedad de Biología de Chile, pp. 585-598
Parallel Title: Dieta del visón norteamericano Mustela vison y su impacto potencial sobre la fauna nativa de Isla Navarino, Reserva de Biosfera Cabo de Hornos, Chile
Series Title: Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program
UNT College of Arts and Sciences
UNT Scholarly Works
  • ARK: ark:/67531/metadc102299
Resource Type: Article
Format: Text
Access: Public
Publication Title: Revista Chilena de Historia Natural
Volume: 81
Page Start: 585
Page End: 598
Peer Reviewed: Yes