Introduction of alien species and microevolution: the European beaver, raccoon dog, and American mink.
Nine skull samples of the beaver Castor fiber, six samples of the raccoon dog Nyctereutes procyonoides, and 6 samples of the American mink Neovison vison were studied using phenetic and craniometric methods. Analysis of the phenofund structure suggests that in all of the studied species the emergence of novel character variations does not lead to their fixation with a significant frequency. Considerable morphological variability emerges in the contact zone of different autochtonous populations, of wild and breeding forms, as well as in geographically and reproductively isolated small groups of individuals. Morphological differences of introduced animals fit into the conception of species polymorphism and are smoothed over when separate colonies merge into metapopulations, which does not lead to the emergence of novel stable taxa.