Dietary overlap among generalist carnivores in relation to the impact of the introduced raccoon dog Nyctereutes procyonoides on native predators in northern Belarus

Citation
Ve. Sidorovich et al., Dietary overlap among generalist carnivores in relation to the impact of the introduced raccoon dog Nyctereutes procyonoides on native predators in northern Belarus, Z SAUGETIER, 65(5), 2000, pp. 271-285
Citations number
30
Language
INGLESE
art.tipo
Article
Categorie Soggetti
Animal Sciences
Journal title
ZEITSCHRIFT FUR SAUGETIERKUNDE-INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MAMMALIAN BIOLOGY
ISSN journal
0044-3468 → ACNP
Volume
65
Issue
5
Year of publication
2000
Pages
271 - 285
Database
ISI
SICI code
0044-3468(200010)65:5<271:DOAGCI>2.0.ZU;2-5
Abstract
Feeding habits and dietary overlap among forest generalist carnivores (brow n bear Ursus arctos, red fox Vulpes vulpes, badger Meles meles, pine marten Martes martes, polecat Mustela putorius, and raccoon dog Nyctereutes procy onoides) in natural forested landscape of northern Belarus (Gorodok and Ros sony districts) were studied. In the warm season (April-October), generalis t carnivores were characterized by a fairly wide food spectrum. Predominant items of their diets were fruits, small mammals insects and birds. Althoug h several pairs of species, such as brown bear-badger, raccoon dog-badger, pine marten-red fox, and pine marten-raccoon dog, had considerable dietary overlap, there was little evidence of a competition for resources in the ge neralist guild in the warm season. In the cold season (November-March), the food niches of active generalist predators became narrower and considerabl y overlapped, which coincided with a substantial decrease in food abundance and availability. In this period of poor food supply, generalists mostly c onsumed wild ungulate carrion, small mammals, and fruits. By inhabiting the same habitats, several pairs of species such as pine marten-red fox, polec atred fox, polecat-raccoon dog, polecat-pine marten, may compete for food. In the harshest period of late winter and early spring, in conditions of de ep and/or soft snow cover in forest, it is energetically expensive to move around and the majority of food search fails. Thus, all generalists were fo rced to feed on carrion, the abundance of which substantially affected all generalist carnivores with the probable exception of raccoon dog. The obtai ned data on the predator abundance suggest that after the raccoon dog had r eached a high population density, the native generalist predators began to decline.