Feeding habits of sympatric mustelids in an agricultural area of Hungary

J. Lanszki, M. Heltai

Research output: Article

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The feeding ecology of the badger (Meles meles) and its interspecific trophic relationship with the sympatric marten (Martes foina and M. martes) were investigated in a temperate climate agricultural area of southwestern Hungary. On the basis of food remains found in scats (over four years, badger n = 166, marten n = 545), both predators consumed the most abundant and accessible foods according to the season. No significant differences were found between predators concerning the consumption of small mammals as primary foods (mean; badger 59.3% and marten 48.0%) and other food types, except birds. Regarding plants as secondary foods, badgers consumed mainly maize, while martens ate predominately fruits. Both mustelids preferred open-field living common vole and avoided forest-living bank vole; both consumed primarily small (< 50 g) (97% vs 94%), open-field living (78% vs. 55%) and terrestrial (98% vs 86%) prey species, but marten preyed more on arboreal animals. Diets were diverse, but the trophic niche, especially of the badger, was very narrow. The mean food overlap between predators was high (67.1%). Considering that the chosen primary or secondary food resources are unlimited in central European agricultural areas, it is not possible to prove food resource partitioning between mustelids. Interspecific differences in feeding habits are rather the consequences of individual patterns than niche segregation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-304
Number of pages14
JournalActa Zoologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae
Volume57
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology

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