Biological Invasions

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 213–219 | Cite as

Potential Impact of an Exotic Mammal on Rocky Intertidal Communities of Northwestern Spain

  • Miguel DelibesEmail author
  • Miguel Clavero
  • José Prenda
  • María del Carmen Blázquez
  • Pablo Ferreras


Being the interface of sea and land, the coast can be invaded by introduced species coming from either of these two worlds. Recent reviews of coastal invasions emphasize the human-mediated transport of non-indigenous marine plants and invertebrates, forgetting the potential role of invaders of terrestrial origin. By studying the diet of the introduced American mink (Mustela vison) on a rocky shore of southwestern Europe, we draw attention to the potential impact on intertidal communities of exotic species coming from inland. We analysed 199 mink faeces collected in August 1997 and August 1999 in Baiona, a coastal and urban area of northern Spain recently invaded by minks. The diet of the species was based almost exclusively on crabs (45.4% of individual prey) and fish (53.3%). Most crabs were marbled crabs (Pachygrapsus marmoratus) and most fish were adult blennies (Coryphoblennius galerita and Lipophrys pholis). Given its energy requirements (about 1250 kJ/day), a single mink will consume during the month of August approximately 945 blennies and 496 crabs. Although we lack accurate data on mink abundance, a cautious estimation (4 mink/km before dispersal), supported by field observations, suggests that predation in August may reach 3780 blennies and 1984 crabs per km of shoreline. This predation pressure could affect the numbers of blennies and (less probably) crabs, indirectly benefiting the populations of their prey, that is, sessile invertebrates and snails. More field research is needed, but our results suggest that an exotic non-marine top predator such as the American mink could affect intertidal communities in Eurasia.

alien mammal American mink Blennidae coast crab invasion Mustela vison Pachygrapsus marmoratus rocky intertidal 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Miguel Delibes
    • 1
    Email author
  • Miguel Clavero
    • 1
    • 2
  • José Prenda
    • 2
  • María del Carmen Blázquez
    • 3
  • Pablo Ferreras
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Applied Biology, Estación Biológica de Do nanaCSICSevillaSpain;
  2. 2.Department of Biología Ambiental y Salud PúblicaUniversidad de HuelvaHuelvaSpain
  3. 3.Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas del Noroeste (CIBNOR)La Paz, Baja California SurMexico
  4. 4.Instituto de Investigación en Recursos CinegéticosUCLM-CSIC-JCCMCiudad RealSpain

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