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Class Mammalia
Order Carnivora
Family Mustelidae


Neovison vison (Schreber 1777)—American MinkRegional Pleistocene distribution of Mustela vison

Synonyms. Mustela vison.

Ventral view of a modern Mustela vison skull

The sole evidence of N. vison for our region rests on a fragmentary dentary with the posterior alveolus for m1 and the alveolus for m2 (Fig. 2). Elaine Anderson, who examined the specimen, indicated (pers. commun.) that the specimen is not Mustela nigripes; the alveolus of m2 is too large for ferret; she suggested cf. Mustela vison (the name under which the taxon was known at the time).

The closeness to the Rio Grande of Isleta Cave No. 2 would seem to increase the probability of a correct identification. Neovison vison in our region is primarily a northern New Mexican taxon, but has been recorded in the Rio Grande Valley as far south as Los Lunas, south of Albuquerque. It appears to be absent from Arizona.

Fig. 1. Ventral view of the modern skull of a male Neovison vison. Scale in mm.

Dentary fragment tentatively identified as Mustela vison

Fig. 2. Dentary fragment tentatively identified as Neovison vison (UTEP 46.143.1). Anterior to left. The posterior portion of the alveolus for m1 and the alveolus for m2 are present. Scale in mm.

Forest Service image of Mustela vison Fig. 3. Neovison vison. Photograph courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service.


Late Wisconsin/Holocene: Isleta Cave No. 2 (Harris 1993c: cf.).


Harris 1993c.


Last Update: 29 Jul 2014