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Volume 70, Issue 1-2


Geographic variation in body size of American mink ( Mustela vison ) / Variation géographique de la taille du corps chez le vison d'Amérique ( Mustela vison )

Richard T. Stevens
  • Department of Biology, The University of Memphis, Memphis, TN 38152-6080, USA and Department of Biology, Monroe Community College, Damon City Campus, 228 E. Main St., Rochester, NY 14604, USA
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Michael L. Kennedy


Spatial variation in 26 morphological characters of American mink ( Mustela vison ) from 35 localities in North America was investigated using univariate and multivariate statistical analyses. Localities were chosen based on watersheds, and it was hypothesized that high levels of gene flow in minks would prevent partitioning of body size variation within watersheds. All 26 characters in males and 25 of 26 in females exhibited significant interlocality variation. The patterns of variation in body size resulting from principal components analysis indicated that, for both sexes, minks were largest in Alaska, Manitoba, and Alberta; smallest minks were found in Florida and Quebec. There did not appear to be a relationship between body size and geographic proximity. Environmental factors collectively were found to be related to body size, although individual variables were not typically significant. Of 16 environmental variables examined, only longitude was correlated with body size in both sexes, with largest minks in the west and smallest in the east. Latitude was also correlated with body size in females. It was concluded that variation in body size of mink was likely the result of more than one factor that includes both biotic and abiotic features.


La variation spatiale de 26 caractères morphologiques du vison ( Mustela vison ) a étéétudiée dans 35 localités d'Amérique du Nord en utilisant des analyses statistiques multivariées et univariées. Les localités ont été choisies sur la base des lignes de partage, et on a présumé que les flux élevés d'écoulement de gène chez le vison empêcheraient la division de la variation de taille du corps dans des lignes de partage. Tous les 26 caractères chez les mâles et 25 des 26 chez les femelles ont montré une variation significative en fonction de la localité. Les modèles de la variation de la taille de corps après analyse en composante principale indiquent que pour les deux sexes, le vison est le plus grand en Alaska, Manitoba et Alberta; le plus petit vison a été trouvé en Floride et au Québec. Il n'a pas semblé avoir de rapport entre la taille du corps et la proximité géographique. Des facteurs environnementaux pris collectivement se sont avérés être liés à la taille du corps, bien que les différentes variables n'étaient pas en général significatives. Des 16 variables environnementales examinées, seule la longitude a été corrélée à la taille de corps dans les deux sexes, avec le plus grand vison à l'ouest et le plus petit à l'est. La latitude a été corrélée à la taille du corps chez les femelles. On a conclu que la variation de la taille de corps du vison était probablement le résultat de plus d'un facteur incluant les paramètres biotiques et abiotiques.

Keywords: American mink; body size; geographic variation; Mustela vison; mustelids; Mustela vison; mustélidés; taille du corps; variation géographique; Vison


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Published in Print: 2006-02-01

Citation Information: Mammalia, Volume 70, Issue 1-2, Pages 145–152, ISSN (Online) 1864-1547, ISSN (Print) 0025-1461, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/MAMM.2006.018.

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