Do arctic and red foxes compete for food?

Authors
Citation
K. Frafjord, Do arctic and red foxes compete for food?, Z SAUGETIER, 65(6), 2000, pp. 350-359
Citations number
31
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
6
Year of publication
2000
Pages
350 - 359
Database
ISI
SICI code
0044-3468(200012)65:6<350:DAARFC>2.0.ZU;2-S
Abstract
Overlap and differences in food habits between arctic and red foxes Alopex lagopus and Vulpes vulpes, were studied by collecting seats (faeces) at den s above the tree line (alpine region) in northern Norway Factors other than fox species included den, region, year, height above the sea level, height above the tree line, distance to the tree line, and reproductive status. a total of 5314 seats was analysed, giving n = 34 and n = 33 "den-years" for arctic and red foxes, respectively. Lemming, voles, rein deer, and birds, were major prey of both fox species, and insects were frequent in red fox s eats Small mammals contributed 78% in both arctic and red foxes diet. Arcti c foxes consumed more lemmings than red foxes while red foxes consumed more voles, birds, and insects. Despite such differences, overlap in food habit s between the two fox species was high, and consequently, competition for f ood is likely Some of the differences may have been caused by environmental rather than intrinsic factors, as red foxes on average occupied dens at lo wer altitudes than arctic foxes. A high degree of variation was found withi n fox species as well as within and between dens, years, and regions. Fox s pecies was most important for the percentage of prey, year and region had s maller effects. The percentage of prey was correlated with height above sea level and height above the tree line as expected, except between the latte r and lemming. Competition for food could be one important factor explainin g the apparent exclusion of the threatened arctic fox from the home range o f the abundant red fox.