Home About BFIS Species List Risk Analysis Harmonia⁺ Resources Outputs Mailing List Registry
Contact us  |  Login  | 
© Vilda
Mustela vison - American mink

Synonym: Neovison vison
French name:  Vison d'amérique
Dutch name: Amerikaanse nerts
Family: Mustelidae
Group: Mammals
Origin: North America
Habitat: freshwater, terrestrial
Introduction:  fur farming
ISEIA Score : 11
This species is not yet naturalised in Belgium.
Establishment potential in Belgium : high
It is already invasive in : Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russian Federation, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom
Reproduction in the wild: no
Dispersion potential: high
Natural habitats: high
More on naturalization and invasiveness: In its native and introduced ranges, the American mink is commonly found on brook and riverbanks with dense vegetation, damp forests, reed beds and marshes. It has established feral populations in many European countries as a result of escapes from fur farms. Males usually disperse further than females and can disperse up to 50 km from their natal home range, typically along water bodies. Whereas this species has already been observed in the wild several times in Belgium, it has not been reported to have developed viable populations so far.
Impacts on Species
Predation / Herbivory: high
Competition: likely
Disease transmission: likely
Genetic effects: unlikely
Impacts on Ecosystems
Nutrient cycling: low
Physical alteration: low
Natural successions: low
Food web alteration: likely
More on impacts: M. vison may severely reduce prey populations (salmonids, amphibians, waterfowl, rodents, etc.) and is a serious threat for red-listed ground nesting birds. It is also suspected of displacing its relative, the European mink Mustela lutreola, and the European polecat Mustela putorius. Escaped farm minks are also likely to favour the development of a number of diseases like Aleutian disease (parovirus). The American mink is included in the appendix to the recommendation no 77 of the Council of Europe as a species which has proved to be a threat to biological diversity and for which eradication is strongly recommended.
Data Source & References
Authors: Branquart Etienne, D'aes Margo, Manet Benoît, Motte Grégory, Schockert Vinciane, Stuyck Jan, Van Den Berge Koen.
Published on:  18 September 2007
Last update:  11 December 2013
Aars, J., Lambin, X., Denny, R. & Cy Griffin A. (2001)
Water vole in the Scottish uplands: distribution patterns of disturbed and pristine populations ahead and behind the American mink invasion front.
Animal Conservation 4(3): 187–194.
Ahola, M.,Nordström, M., Banks, P.B., Laanetu, N. & Korpimäki, E. (2006)
Alien mink predation induces prolonged declines in archipelago amphibians.
Proc. R. Soc. B 273: 1261–1265.
Allen, A.W. (1986)
Habitat suitability index models: mink.
Biol. Rep. 82 (10.127). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, 23 p.
Arlot, P. (2004)
Le vison d’Europe, une vision d’avenir ?
Le courrier de l’environnement de l’INRA 51: 71-74.
Banks, P.B. et al. (2005)
Variable impacts of alien mink predation on birds, mammals and amphibians of the Finnish archipelago: a long-term experimental study.
In: abstract book of the 5th Environmental Symposium of the Maj and Tor Nessling Foundation (Alien Species): 11.
Bartoszewicz, M. & Zalewski, A. (2003)
American mink, Mustela vison, diet and predation on waterfowl in the Slonsk Reserve, western Poland.
Folia Zool. 52(3): 225-238.
Basu, N.,Scheuhammer, A.M., Bursian, S.J., Elliott, J., Rouvinen-Watt, K. & Chan, H.M. (2007)
Mink as a sentinel species in environmental health.
Environmental Research 103(1): 130–144.
Bertolino, S. & Genovesi, P. (2007)
Semiaquatic mammals introduced into Italy: case studies in biological invasion.
In: F. Gherardi (Ed), Biological invaders in inland waters: profiles, distribution, and threats Invading Nature - Springer Series in Invasion Ecology, Volume 2, Part 2: 175-191.
Birnbaum, C. (2006)
Invasive Alien Species Fact Sheet Mustela vison, Ondatra zibethicus
From online database of the North European and Baltic network on invasive alien species (NOBANIS).
Bonesi, L. & Macdonald, D. W. (2004)
Impact of released Eurasian otters on a population of American mink: a test using an experimental approach.
Oikos 106: 9-18.
Bonesi, L. & Palazon, S. (2007)
The American mink in Europe: status, impacts and control.
Biological conservation 134: 470-483.
Bonesi, L., Chanin, P. & Macdonald, D.W. (2004)
Competition between Eurasian otter Lutra lutra and American mink Mustela vison probed by niche shift.
Oikos 106, 19–26.
Bonesi, L., Rushton, S.P. & MacDonald, D.W. (2007)
Trapping for mink control and water vole survival: Identifying key criteria using a spatially explicit individual based model.
Biological Conservation 136(4): 636–650.
Bonesi, L., Strachan, R. & Macdonald, D.W. (2006)
Why are there fewer signs of mink in England? Considering multiple hypotheses.
Biological Conservation 130(2): 268–277.
Bowman, J., Kidd, A.G., Gorman, R.M. & Schulte-Hostedde, A.I. (2007)
Assessing the potential for impacts by feral mink on wild mink in Canada.
Biological Conservation 139: 12-18.
Brzezinski, M. (2008)
Food habits of the American mink Mustela vison in the Mazurian Lakeland, Northeastern Poland.
Mammalian Biology - Zeitschrift für Säugetierkunde 73(3): 177–188.
Brzezinski, M., Marzec, M. & Zmihorski, M. (2010)
Spatial distribution, activity, habitat selection of American mink (Neovison vison) and polecats (Mustela putorius) inhabiting the vicinity of eutrophic lakes in NE Poland.
Folia Zool. 59(3): 183-191.
Brzezinski, M., Romanowski, J., Zmihorski, M. & Karpowicz, K. (2010)
Muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus) decline after the expansion of American mink (Neovison vison) in Poland.
European Journal of Wildlife Research 56:341–348.
Brzeziński, M., Natorff, M., Zaelwski, A. & Żmihorski, M. (2012)
Numerical and behavioral responses of waterfowl to the invasive American mink: A conservation paradox.
Biological Conservation, in press.
CFSPH (2008)
Factsheet on Transmissible Mink Encephalopathy.
Center for Food Security and Public Health, Iowa State University.
Clode, D. & MacDonald, D.W. (2002)
Invasive predators and the conservation of island birds: the case of American Mink Mustela vison and terns Sterna spp. in the Western Isles, Scotland: Colonies were larger and breeding success lower in mink-inhabited areas.
Bird Study 49: 118-123.
Corbet, G.B. & Harris, S. (1991)
The handbook of British mammals.
Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford, UK for The Mammal Society.
Craik, C. (1997)
Long-term effects of North American mink Mustela vison on seabirds in western Scotland.
Bird Study 44: 303-309.
Cummins, S., Fisher, J., McKeever, R.G., McNaghten, L. & Crowe, O. (2010)
Assessment of the distribution and abundance of Kingfisher Alcedo atthis and other riparian birds on six SAC river systems in Ireland.
Report commissioned by the National Parks and Wildlife Service and prepared by BirdWatch Ireland, 47 pp.
Demontis, D., Larsen, P.F., Baekgaard, H., Sønderup, M., Hansen, B.K., Nielsen, V.H., Loeschcke, V., Zalewski, A., Zalewska, H. & Pertoldi, C. (2011)
Inbreeding affects fecundity of American mink (Neovison vison) in Danish farm mink.
Animal Genetics 42: 437-439.
Dunstone, N. (1993)
The mink.
T & AD Pyser Natural History, London.
Dunstone,N. & Birks, J.D.S. (1987)
The feeding ecology of mink (Mustela vison) in coastal habitat.
Journal of Zoology 212(1): 69–83.
Fasola, L.,, Muzio, J., Chehébar, C., Casini, M. & McDonald, D.W. (2011)
Range expansion and prey use of American mink in Argentinean Patagonia: dilemmas for conservation.
European Journal of Wildlife Research 57: 283-294.
Ferreras, P. & McDonald, D.W. (1999)
The impact of American mink Mustela vison on water birds in the upper Thames.
J. Appl. Ecol. 36: 701-708.
Fischer, D., Pavluvcik, P., Sedlacek, F. & Salek, M. (2009)
Predation of the alien American mink, Mustela vison on native crayfish in middle-sized streams in central and western Bohemia.
Folia Zool. 58(1): 45–56.
Fournier-Chambrillon, C., Aasted, B., Perrot, A., Pontier, D., Sauvage, F., Artois, M., Cassiède, J. M., Chauby, X., Dal Molin, A., Simon, C. & Fournier, P. (2004)
Antibodies to Aleutian mink disease parvovirus in free-ranging European mink (Mustela lutreola) and other small carnivores from South-Western France
Journal of Wildlife Diseases 40(3): 394-402.
Gerell, R. (1967)
Dispersal and acclimatization of the mink (Mustela vison Schreb.) in Sweden.
Viltrevy (Swedish wildlife) 5(1): 1-38.
Godin J. (2005)
Les espèces animales invasives des milieux aquatiques et humides du bassin Artois-Picardie
Agence de l'Eau Artois-Picardie.
Halliwell, E.C. & MacDonald, D.W. (1996)
American mink Mustela vison in the upper Thames catchment: Relationship with selected prey species and den availability.
Biological Conservation 76(1): 51–56.
Hammershoj, M. (2004)
Population ecology of free-ranging American mink Mustela vison in Denmark.
PhD thesis, National Environmental Research Institute, Kalo, Denmark, 30 pp.
Hammershoj, M., Travis, J.M.J. & Stephenson, C.M. (2006)
Incorporating evolutionary processes into a spatially-explicit model: exploring the consequences of mink-farm closures in Denmark.
Ecography 29: 465-476.
Hammershøj, M., Pertoldi, C., Asferga, T., Møller, T.B. & Kristensen, N.B. (2005)
Danish free-ranging mink populations consist mainly of farm animals: Evidence from microsatellite and stable isotope analyses.
Journal for Nature Conservation 13: 267—274.
Hansen C.P.B. & Jeppesen L.L. (2003)
The influence of temperature on the activity and water use of farmed mink (Mustela vison).
Animal Science 76: 111-118.
Harding, L.E. & Smith, F.A. (2009)
Mustela or Vison? Evidence for the taxonomic status of the American mink and a distinct biogeographic radiation of American weasels.
Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 52(3): 632–642.
Harrington L.A. & MacDonald D.W. (2008)
Spatial and Temporal Relationships between Invasive American Mink and Native European Polecats in the Southern United Kingdom.
Journal of Mammalogy 89(4): 991-1000.
Harrington, L.A., Harrington, A.L. & Macdonald, D.W. (2008)
Estimating the relative abundance of American mink Mustela vison on lowland rivers: evaluation and comparison of two techniques.
European Journal of Wildlife Research 54: 79-87.
Harrington, L.A., Harrington, A.L., Moorhouse, T., Gelling, M., Bonesi, L. & Macdonald, D.W. (2009)
American mink control on inland rivers in southern England: An experimental test of a model strategy.
Biological Conservation 142(4): 839–849.
Harrison, M.D.K. & Symes, R.G. (1989)
Economic damages by feral American mink (Mustela vison) in England and Wales.
In: R. Putman (Ed.), Mammals as pests, Mammal Society: 242-250.
Heggenes, J. & Borgstrøm, R. (1988)
Effect of mink, Mustela vison Schreber, predation on cohorts of juvenile Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar L., and brown trout, S. trutta L., in three small streams.
Journal of Fish Biology 33(6): 885–894.
ISSG (Invasive Species Specialist Group) (2006)
Online fact sheets
Global Invasive Species Database, IUCN.
Ibarra, J.T., Fasola, L., MacDonald D.W., Rozzi, R. & Bonacic, C. (2009)
Invasive American mink Mustela vison in wetlands of the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve, southern Chile: what are they eating?
Oryx 43(1): 87-90.
Kidd, A.G., Bowman J., Lesbarrères D. & Schulte-Hostedde, A.I. (2009)
Hybridization between escaped domestic and wild American mink (Neovison vison).
Molecular Ecology 18: 1175–1186.
Kurose, N., Abramov, A.V., Masuda, R. (2008)
Molecular phylogeny and taxonomy of the genus Mustela (Mustelidae, Carnivora), inferred from mitochondrial DNA sequences: New perspectives on phylogenetic status of the back-striped weasel and American mink.
Mammal Study 33(1):25-33.
Lecis, R., Ferrando, A., Ruiz-Olmo, J., Mañas, S. & Domingo-Roura, X. (2008)
Population genetic structure and distribution of introduced American mink (Mustela vison) in Spain, based on microsatellite variation.
Conservation Genetics 9(5): 1149-1161.
Libois, R. (2006)
Les mammifères non volants de la région wallonne : tendances des populations.
Dossier scientifique réalisé dans le cadre de l'élaboration du Rapport analytique 2006 sur l'Etat de l'Environnement wallon, Unité de Recherches zoogéographiques, Université de Liège, 127 pp.
MacDonald, D.W. & Harrington, L.A. (2003)
The American mink: the triumph and tragedy of adaptation out of context.
New Zealand Journal of Zoology 30: 421-441.
MacDonald, D.W., Sidorovich, V.E., Anisomova, E.I., Sidorovich, N.V. & Johnson, P.J. (2002)
The impact of American mink Mustela vison and European mink Mustela lutreola on water vole Arvicola terrestris in Belarus.
Ecography 25(3): 295-302.
MacDonald, R.A., O’Hara, K. & Morrish, D.J. (2007)
Decline of invasive alien mink (Mustela vison) is concurrent with recovery of native otters (Lutra lutra).
Diversity and Distributions 13: 92–98.
Manas, S., Cena, J. C., Ruiz-Olmo, J., Palazon, S., Domingo, M., Wolfinbarger, JB & Bloom, ME (2001)
Aleutian mink disease parvovirus in wild riparian carnivores in Spain
Journal of Wildlife Diseases 37(1): 138-144.
Maran, T. & Henttonen, H. (1995)
Why is the European mink (Mustela lutreola) disappearing? A review of the process and hypotheses.
Ann. Zool. Fennici 32: 47-54.
Maran, T., Kruuk, H., MacDonald, D.W. & Polma, M. (1998)
Diet of two species of mink in Estonia: displacement of Mustela lutreola by M. vison.
Journal of Zoology 245: 218-222.
Melero, Y. , Plaza, M., Santulli, G., Saavedra, D., Gosàlbez, J., Ruiz-Olmo, J. & Palazón, S. (2012)
Evaluating the effect of American mink, an alien invasive species, on the abundance of a native community: is coexistence possible?
Biodiversity and Conservation (in press)
Mitchell-Jones, A. J., Amori, G., Bogdanowicz, W., Kryštufek, B., Reijnders, P. J. H., Spitzenberger, F., Stubbe, M., Thissen, J. B. M., Vohralík, V. & Zima, J. (1999)
The Atlas of European Mammals.
Poyser, London.
Moore, N. Robertson, P.A. & Aegerter, J.N. (2000)
Feasibility study into the options for management of mink in the Western Isles, Scotland, United Kingdom.
CSL, MAFF, London.
Moore, N.P., Roy, S.S. & Helyar, A. (2003)
Mink (Mustela vison) eradication to protect ground‐nesting birds in the Western Isles, Scotland, United Kingdom.
New Zealand Journal of Zoology 30(4): 443-452.
Nimon, A.J. & Broom, D.M. (1999)
The welfare of farmed mink.
Animal Welfare 8(3): 205-228.
Nituch, L.A., Bowman, J., Beauclerc, K.B. & Schulte-Hostedde, A.I. (2011)
Mink Farms Predict Aleutian Disease Exposure in Wild American Mink.
PLoS ONE 6(7): e21693. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0021693
Nordstrom, M., Hogmander, J., Laine, J., Nummelin, J., Laanetu, N. & Korpimaki, E. (2003)
Effects of feral mink removal on seabirds, waders and passerines on small islands in the Baltic Sea.
Biological Conservation 109: 359–368
Nordström, M., Högmander, J., Nummelin, J., Laine, J., Laanetu, N. and Korpimäki, E. (2002)
Variable response of waterfowl breeding populations to long-term removal of introduced American mink.
Ecography 25: 385-394.
Reid, F. & Helgen, K. (2011)
Neovison vison.
In: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2.
Reinhardt, F., Herle, M., Bastiansen, F. & Streit, B. (2003)
Economic impact of the spread of alien species in Germany.
Report of the project 201 86 211 (UFOPLAN), Federal Environmental Agency of Germany.
Reynolds, J.C., Porteus, T.A., Richardson, S.M., Leigh, R.J. & Short, M.J. (2010)
Detectability of American Mink Using Rafts to Solicit Field Signs in a Population Control Context.
The Journal of Wildlife Management 74(7): 1601–1606.
Reynolds, J.C., Short, M.J. & Leigh, R.J. (2004)
Development of population control strategies for mink Mustela vison, using floating rafts as monitors and trap sites.
Biological Conservation 120(4): 533–543.
Roy, S. (2009)
Neovison vison factsheet.
IUCN/SSC, Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG).
Roy, S.S., MacLeod, I. & Moore, N.P. (2006)
The use of scent glands to improve the efficiency of mink (Mustela vison) captures in the Outer Hebrides.
New Zealand Journal of Zoology 33(4): 267-271.
Ruiz-Olmo, J., Palazon, S., Bueno, F., Bravo, C., Munilla, I. & Romero, R. (1997)
Distribution, status and colonization of the American mink Mustela vison in Spain.
Journal of Wildlife Research 2: 30-36.
Rushton, S.P., Barreto, G.W., Cormack,R.M., MacDonald, D.W. & Fuller, R. (2000)
Modelling the effects of mink and habitat fragmentation on the water vole.
Journal of Applied Ecology 37: 475-490.
Schley, L. (2001)
First Record of the American Mink Mustela vison (Mammalia, Mustelidae) in Luxembourg.
Bull. Soc. Nat. Luxemb. 102: 45-48.
Schüttler, E., Klenke, R., McGehee, S., Rozzi, R. & Jax, K. (2009)
Vulnerability of ground-nesting waterbirds to predation by invasive American mink in the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve, Chile.
Biological Conservation 142: 1450–1460.
Sidorovich V. & MacDonald D.W. (2001)
Density dynamics and changes in habitat use by the European mink and other native mustelids in connection with the American mink expansion in Belarus.
Netherlands Journal of Zoology 51(1): 107-126.
Sidorovich, V.E. (1993)
Reproductive plasticity of the American mink (Mustela vison) in Belarus.
Acta Theriologiga 38(2): 175-183.
Sidorovich, V.E., MacDonald, D.W., Kruuk, H. & Krasko, D.A. (2000)
Behavioural interactions between the naturalized American mink Mustela vison and the native riparian mustelids, NE Belarus, with implications for population changes.
Small Carnivore Conservation 22: 1-5.
Sidorovich, V.E., Polozov, A.G. & Zalewski, A. (2010)
Food niche variation of European and American mink during the American mink invasion in north-eastern Belarus.
Biological Invasions 12: 2207-2217.
Smiddy, P., O'Halloran, J., O'Mahony, B & Taylor, A.J. (1995)
The breeding biology of the Dipper Cinclus cinclus in south-west Ireland.
Bird Study 42: 76-81.
Smith, L. (2006)
Shropshire Biodiversity Action Plan.
Stubbe, M. (1993)
Mustela vison, Mink.
In: J. Niethammer & F. Krapp (Eds), Handbuch der Säugetiere Europas. Band 5: Raubsäuger - Carnivora. Wiesbaden.
Sullivan, J. (1996)
Mustela vison.
In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer).
Thissen, J.D.M. & Hollander, H. (1996)
Status and distribution of mammals in the Netherlands since 1800.
Histrix 8: 97-105.
Trapezov, O.V. (2000)
Behavioural polymorphism in defensive behaviour towards man in farm raised mink (Mustela vison Schreber 1777).
Scientifur 24: 103-109.
Usher, M.B. (1986)
Invasibility and wildlife conservation: invasive species on nature reserves.
Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B 314: 695-710.
Van Den Berge, K. & De Pauw, W. (2003)
Amerikaanse nerts, Wasbeer, Wasbeerhond.
In: S. Verkem et al. (eds), Zoogdieren in Vlaanderen, Natuurpunt Studie & JNM-Zoogdierenwerkgroep.
Van Den Berge, K. & Gouwy, J. (2009)
Exotic carnivores in Flanders area expansion or repeated new input ?
Proceedings of the Science facing Aliens Conference, Brussels, 11th May 2009.
Woodroffe, G.L., Lawton, J.H. & Davidson, W.L. (1990)
The impact of feral mink Mustela vison on water voles Arvicola terrestris in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park.
Biological Conservation 51: 49-62.
Yamaguchi N. & MacDonald D.W. (2003)
The burden of co-occupancy: intraspecific resource competition and spacing patterns in American mink, Mustela vison.
Journal of Mammalogy 84(4): 1341-1355.
Yamaguchi, N. & Macdonald, D.W. (2001)
Detection of Aleutian disease antibodies in feral American mink in southern England.
Veterinary Record 149(16): 485-488.
Yamaguchi, N., Rushton, S. & Macdonald, D.W. (2003)
Habitat preferences of feral American mink in the Upper Thames.
Journal of Mammalogy 84(4): 1356-1373.
Zalewski, A., Michalska-Parda, A., Bartoszewicz, M., Kozakiewicz, M. & Brzeziński, M. (2010)
Multiple introductions determine the genetic structure of an invasive species population: American mink (Neovison vison) in Poland.
Biological Conservation 143: 1355-1363.
Zalewski, A., Michalska-Parda, A., Ratkiewicz, M., Kozakiewicz, M., Bartoszewicz, M. & Brzeziński, M. (2011)
High mitochondrial DNA diversity of an introduced alien carnivore: comparison of feral and ranch American mink Neovison vison in Poland.
Diversity and Distributions 17 (4): 757–768.
Zalewski, A., Piertney, S.B., Zalewska, H. & Lambin, X. (2009)
Landscape barriers reduce gene flow in an invasive carnivore: geographical and local genetic structure of American mink in Scotland.
Molecular Ecology 18: 1601–1615.

© 2000-2021 by the Belgian Biodiversity Platform