Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Body odours as lures for stoats Mustela erminea: captive and field trials.

Abstract

Eradication and control methods to limit damage caused to native biota in New Zealand by the stoat (Mustela erminea) rely on effective lures for trapping and detection devices, such as cameras. Long-life semiochemical lures have the potential for targeting stoats in situations where food-based lures are of limited success. The attractiveness of body odours of captive stoats was tested in a series of captive animal and extensive field trials to investigate their potential as trapping and monitoring lures. Stoats approached and spent significantly more time sniffing stoat urine and scats and bedding from oestrous female stoats than a non-treatment control. The bedding odours were attractive in both the breeding and the non-breeding season. Stoats also spent significantly more time sniffing oestrous stoat bedding than female ferret bedding, but the ferret odour also produced a significant response by stoats. In the field trials, there were no significant differences between the number of stoats caught with food lures (long-life rabbit or hen eggs) compared with oestrous female or male stoat bedding lures. These results indicate the potential of both stoat bedding odour and the scent of another mustelid species as stoat trapping lures that likely act as a general odour attractant rather than a specific chemical signal of oestrus.