The stone marten and the red fox consumed predominantly fruits all year round: A case study

Zsófia Lanszki, Jeno J. Purger, Renáta Bocz, Dávid Szép, J. Lanszki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The feeding of the stone marten (Martes foina) and the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) being flexible, easily adapt to anthropogenic food sources, utilising them effectively. Both carnivores feed on plants, thus the question arises how their food composition changes during the seasons when there is high availability of fruits in their habitat. The diet composition of the two species was investigated for one year in a 14-hectare vineyard surrounded by orchards, based on scat analysis (n = 288 and 110, respectively). The proportion of plant matter in the feeding of both species was strikingly high, although differing seasonally, especially fruits, mostly sour cherries, cherries, grapes and figs being present. Martens consumed plants in greater amounts (89% vs 76%) than foxes. Both carnivores consumed more invertebrates in spring, and more small mammals in winter, whereas frugivory was more substantial in the summer and autumn periods. Trophic niche was quite narrow in both species, with considerable degree of overlap. The revealed feeding patterns are quite novel, that of the stone marten being unique even at a European level; the prolonged high degree of frugivory indicates the perfect adaptability of the two native carnivore species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-62
Number of pages18
JournalActa Zoologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019



  • Dietary pattern
  • Frugivory
  • Martes foina
  • Trophic niche
  • Vulpes vulpes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology

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