Everglades Mink

Everglades Mink Distribution Map

Everglades Mink: Neovison vison evergladensis

Taxonomic Classification

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Mustelidae
Genus/Species: Neovison vison
Subspecies: Neovison vison evergladensis
Common Name: Everglades mink

Listing Status

Federal Status: Not listed
FL Status: State-designated Threatened
FNAI Ranks: G5T2Q/S2 (Globally: Demonstrably Secure, Sub sp. Imperiled [subspecies classification questioned]/State: Imperiled)
IUCN Status: Not ranked

Physical Description

The Everglades mink is a midsized member of the weasel family that can reach a length of 25 inches (72 centimeters).  This species has dark brown and silky fur on the body and may have white spots on their chin and chest.  It also has a flattened head and small rounded ears (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 2001, Humphrey 1992)

Life History

The diet of the Everglades mink primarily consists of small mammals, snakes, and insects (Humphrey 1992).

Breeding occurs during the fall season, in conjunction with the late wet season (Humphrey and Zinn 1982).  Gestation time for a mink averages 51 days and the average litter size is four.  The young will open their eyes at 25 days old, and are weaned when they are five to six weeks old (Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, n.d.).

Habitat and Distribution

The Everglades mink, a disjunct population of the American mink, inhabits southern Florida and in particular the shallow fresh water marshes of the Everglades and Big Cypress Swamp region (Humphrey 1992; Humphrey and Setzer 1989).  Most sightings and specimens have come from either Collier or Dade county, but the Everglades mink presumably inhabits northern and eastern Monroe County as well (Smith 1980, Humphrey 1992).

Threats:

The Everglades mink population faces many threats as the increase of human development continues in Florida.  Human disturbance and modifications to the wetlands that might impact minks include drainage, logging, dike construction, canal construction, road construction, reapportioning water for competing interests, the introduction of fire into the forest, and the introduction of pesticides into their habitat (Humphrey 1992; Humphrey and Zinn 1982).  Changes in water levels within the marshes can lead to destruction of habitat and encroachment of exotic vegetation (Humphrey and Zinn 1982).  Canine distemper virus (effects central nervous system, respiratory, and digestive tract) is a virulent disease that is deadly to the Everglades mink.  Other threats include the increase of invasive species into their habitat, especially the Burmese python. 


Conservation and Management

The Everglades mink is protected as a State-designated Threatened species by Florida’s Endangered and Threatened Species Rule.

-Biological Status Review (BSR)
-Supplemental Information for the BSR

Other Informative Links

Florida Natural Areas Inventory
National Park Service Species Profiles
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

 

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References

Florida Natural Areas Inventory.  2001.  Field guide to the rare animals of Florida.           http://www.fnai.org/FieldGuide/pdf/Mustela_vison_mink_pop_1.PDF

Humphrey, S.R. and H.W. Setzer. 1989. Geographic variation and taxonomic revision of mink (Mustela vison) in Florida. Journal of Mammalogy 70(2):241-252

Humphrey, S.R. and T.L. Zinn.  1982.  Seasonal habitat use by river otters and Everglades mink   in Florida.  The Journal of Wildlife Management 46(2):375-381

Humphrey, S.R. 1992.  Southern Florida population of mink Mustela vison mink (in part).  Pages 319-327 in S.R. Humphrey (ed.), Rare and endangered biota of Florida.  Vol. I.Mammals. University Press of Florida.  Gainesville, Florida.

National Park Service. (n.d.). Everglades mink: Species Profile. Retrieved February 28, 2011,from Everglades National Park:http://www.nps.gov/ever/naturescience/evergladesmink.htm

Smith, A.T. 1980. Report T-555: An environmental study of Everglades mink (Mustela vison) South Florida Research Center.

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. (n.d.). Mustela vison. Retrieved February 28, 2011, from North American Mammals: http://www.mnh.si.edu/mna/image_info.cfm?species_id=188


Image Credit FWC



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