Illinois Natural History Survey - University of Illinois

Minks in the Family Tree of Carnivores


Carolyn Nixon


Where Do Minks Fit in the Family Tree of Carnivores?


There are 52 species of carnivores (members of the order Carnivora) in North American, and 11 species in Illinois.  Minks are in the weasel family (Mustilidae), which includes the weasels, ferrets, badgers, otters, martins, fishers, and wolverines.  Look at the family tree of North American Carnvores below.  See if you can match the photos with the correct group.  Do you know their names?  If you don’t, try finding them in a North American mammal field guide.   Which of these occur in Illinois?  Circle the pictures of those that do.  Are there any that used to live in Illinois but no longer do? Underline the photos of these species.


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Recommended Reference:  Field Manual of Illinois Mammals, by Joyce E. Hofmann 


Philip Nixon (bobcat, black bear, wolverine, badger, harbor seal, sea otter)

Carolyn Nixon (raccoon, mink)

Michael Jeffords (coyote, river otter)

Riverdeep Interactive Learning Limited (mountain lion, polar bear, wolf) (© <2010> Riverdeep Interactive Learning Limited, and its licensors.  All rights reserved.)

John James Audubon (painting of fisher)



Answers to "Where Do Minks Fit in the Family Tree of Carnivores"


1(a-bobcat, i-mountain lion); 2(d-coyote, n-wolf); 3(b-black bear, k-polar bear); 4(g-harbor seal); 5(o-striped skunk); 6(l-raccoon); 7(h-badger); 8(e-river otter, j-sea otter); 9(c-fisher); 10(m-mink); 11(f-wolverine).


Those that live in Illinois are: a(bobcat); d(coyote); e(river otter); h(badger); l(raccoon); m(mink); o(striped skunk).


Those that once lived in Illinois, but no longer do are:  b(black bear); i(mountain lion);  and n(wolf).


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