Nutria (Myocastor coypus) are an important part of the Louisiana (USA) fur industry, but high densities of nutria cause extensive damage to coastal marsh ecosystems. Hence, there is a need to develop improved methods for targeted management of nutria. We screened 14 olfactory cues as potential lures for nutria, first in controlled settings and then in the field, to see if nutria capture rates using foothold traps would increase. In Y-maze trials, nutria most frequently selected olfactory cues of a synthetic formulation of nutria anal-gland secretion and nutria fur extract. We examined the 3 most selected attractants in Y-maze trials and female nutria urine under field conditions to compare trapping success over untreated traps. Capture probability was nearly 2.5 times greater for fur wash than control and 2 times greater for urine than control (relative risk = 2.43 and 2.01, respectively). The results suggest that use of semiochemicals and synthetic formulations of semiochemicals increased nutria trapping success. Development and use of effective synthetic semiochemicals could benefit resource managers nationwide who are responsible for reducing damage caused by this invasive herbivore.
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Vol. 73 • No. 8