American Mink (Neovison vison)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Superfamily: Musteloidea
Family: Mustelidae
Genus: Neovison and Mustela

Neovison vison
Neovison macrodon
Mustela lutreola

There are two living species referred to as "mink": the European Mink and the American Mink. The extinct Sea Mink is related to the American Mink, but was much larger. All three species are dark-colored, semi-aquatic, carnivorous mammals of the family Mustelidae, which also includes the weasels and the otters and ferrets. The American Mink is larger and more adaptable than the European Mink. It is sometimes possible to distinguish between the European and American mink; a European Mink always has a large white patch on its upper lip, while the American species sometimes does not. Thus, any mink without such a patch can be identified with certainty as an American Mink, but an individual with a patch cannot be certainly identified without looking at the skeleton. Taxonomically, both American and European Minks used to be placed in the same genus Mustela ("Weasels"), but most recently the American Mink has been re-classified as belonging to its own genus Neovison.[1]

The American Mink's fur has been highly prized for its use in clothing, with hunting giving way to farming. Its treatment has also been a focus of animal rights and animal welfare[2] activism. American Mink have found their way into the wild in Europe (including Great Britain) and South America, after being released from mink farms by animal rights activists or otherwise escaping from captivity.[3]

American Mink are believed by some to have contributed to the decline of the less hardy European Mink through competition (though not through hybridization—native European mink are in fact closer to polecats[disambiguation needed ] than to their North American cousins).[4] Trapping is used to control or eliminate feral American Mink populations.[5]

Mink oil is used in some medical products and cosmetics, as well as to treat, preserve and waterproof leather.


European Mink, Mustela lutreola.
Birgit Ridderstedt with a mink stole


  1. ^ Integrated Taxonomic Information System: mink. Accessed 10 August 2009
  2. ^ Dutch minister reverses battery and mink ban
  3. ^ "Animal rights group claims responsibility for mink release". BBC News. 1998-08-09. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/148120.stm. 
  4. ^ Lodé T., Guiral G. & Peltier D. (2005) European mink-polecat hybridisation events: hazards from natural process ? Journal of Heredity 96 (2): 1-8
  5. ^ Haworth, Jenny (3 February 2009) "National cull may exterminate UK mink". Edinburgh. The Scotsman.

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Mink — bezeichnet die Tierart Amerikanischer Nerz Mink ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Ben Mink (* 1951), kanadischer Musiker Claudette Mink (* 1975), kanadische Schauspielerin Graham Mink (* 1979), US amerikanischer Eishockeyspieler Matthias… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Mink — (m[i^][ng]k), n. [Cf. 2d {Minx}.] 1. (Zo[ o]l.) A carnivorous mammal of the genus {Mustela} (foremrly {Putorius}), allied to the weasel. The European mink is {Mustela lutreola}. The common American mink ({Mustela vison}) varies from yellowish… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Mink — Sm (ein Pelztier, Farmnerz ) per. Wortschatz fach. (20. Jh.) Entlehnung. Entlehnt aus ne. mink (da dieser Marder hauptsächlich in Nordamerika gezüchtet wurde). Das englische Wort vermutlich aus ndn. mink, nnorw. mink, nschw. menk unklarer… …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache

  • mink — [mıŋk] n plural mink or minks [Date: 1400 1500; : Swedis] 1.) [U and C] a small animal with soft brown fur, or the very valuable fur of this animal which is used to make coats, hats etc ▪ a mink coat 2.) a coat or jacket made of mink …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • mink — sb., en, mink, ene, i sms. mink , fx minkavl, minkhvalp …   Dansk ordbog

  • Mink — der; s, e <aus gleichbed. engl. mink> nordamerik. Marderart, Nerz …   Das große Fremdwörterbuch

  • mink — [ mıŋk ] noun count a small animal that is raised for its thick dark fur a. uncount the fur from a mink, used mainly for making coats …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • mink — (n.) early 15c., skin or fur of the mink, from a Scandinavian source (Cf. Swed. menk a stinking animal in Finland ). Applied in English to the animal itself from 1620s …   Etymology dictionary

  • mink — mink; mink·ery; …   English syllables

  • mink — [miŋk] n. pl. minks or mink [LME minke < Scand, as in Swed menk] 1. any of several slim, erminelike musteline carnivores with partly webbed feet; esp., a common dark brown North American species (Mustela vison) living in water part of the time …   English World dictionary

  • Mink — Mink, Säugethier, so v.w. Nörz …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

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