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

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      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, we studied its diet on Navarino Island, as part of an integrative management program on invasive species. Over a three-year period (2005-2007) we 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.

      Translated abstract

      Las especies exóticas de mamíferos carnívoros invasores constituyen una de las principales causas de extinciones de vertebrados en islas, particularmente en aquellas que carecen de predadores mamíferos nativos. En 2001, el visón norteamericano (Mustela vison) fue registrado por primera vez en Isla Navarino en la Reserva de Biosfera Cabo de Hornos (55° S) en Chile, representando la población de visones más austral del mundo. Para estudiar su impacto potencial sobre la fauna nativa, estimamos su dieta en Isla Navarino como parte de un programa de control de especies invasoras. Durante tres años (2005-2007) colectamos 512 fecas en diversos habitats semiacuáticos: costa marina, riberas de ríos y lagos. La dieta consistió principalmente en mamíferos (37 % biomasa), aves (36 %) y peces (24 %). Durante la primavera y el verano el visón consumió significativamente más aves, sin embargo los mamíferos constituyeron la presa principal durante el otoño y el invierno, cuando las aves migratorias han abandonado la region. La depredación sobre aves afectó principalmente a Passeriformes adultos, seguidos por Anseriformes y Pelecaniformes que fueron capturados como polluelos. Respecto a los mamíferos, un roedor exótico, la rata almizclera (Ondatra zibethicus), fue la presa principal y junto al roedor nativo Abrothrix xanthorhinus constituyó el 78 % de la biomasa de presas de mamíferos. Para un manejo integral de especies de mamíferos exóticos invasores en Isla Navarino y la Reserva de Biosfera Cabo de Hornos es importante desarrollar investigación sobre las interacciones entre los mamíferos introducidos e iniciar un control inmediato de la población de visones en su estado inicial de invasión.

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          Ecological Methodology

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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [1 ] Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research-UFZ Germany
            [2 ] Omora Ethnobotanical Park Chile
            [3 ] Lechnische Universitat München Germany
            [4 ] Universidad de Magallanes Chile
            [5 ] University of North Lexas USA
            Contributors
            Role: ND
            Role: ND
            Role: ND
            Journal
            rchnat
            Revista chilena de historia natural
            Rev. chil. hist. nat.
            Sociedad de Biología de Chile (Santiago )
            0716-078X
            December 2008
            : 81
            : 4
            : 585-598
            S0716-078X2008000400011 10.4067/S0716-078X2008000400011

            http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

            Product
            Product Information: SciELO Chile
            Categories
            BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION
            ECOLOGY

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