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Volume 45 - Number 2 - 2010


Use of guard hairs to identify coastal mustelids in Patagonia

Jonatan J. Gomez1 y Marcelo H. Cassini1


1Grupo GEMA (PROFAUNA, CONICET), Universidad Nacional de Luján, Rutas 5 y 7, 6700 Luján, Buenos Aires, Argentina




The use of prey hairs found in predator faeces with the purpose of species recognition has been successfully utilized. In this study, a method was developed to discriminate between hairs from aquatic mustelids of Patagonia: the native otters Lontra provocax and L. felina, and the introduced mink Neovison vison. We found that the relationship between the width of the medulla and the total width (medulla+scales) in the zone of maximum width of the hair, allows effectively separating Lontra spp. from Neovison sp. in almost all samples. With these results, we developed a dichotomic guide that allows discriminating 100% of hair at the level of genera, and 58.3% of hair at the level of species within Lontra

Key Words: Southern river otter, marine otter, American mink



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