, Volume 48, Issue 2, pp 247-254

Correction factors used for estimating prey biomass in the diet of American minkMustela vison

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Abstract

Feeding experiment on nine feral minkMustela vison Schreber, 1777 was carried out to find differences in digestibility of particular prey types. The values of correction factors (CF), which show the ratio between consumed prey biomass and undigested remains, were calculated for seven food types. The experiment revealed that results obtained by commonly used percentage of occurrence methods differed from the real intake of food. Food types which were intensively digested were underestimated by percentage of occurrence methods and prey which had hardly digestive elements of their body were overestimated. The calculated values of CF are as follows: crayfish — 14.8, fish — 30.8, frog — 61.3, small passerine bird — 17.2, chicken — 41.3, rodent — 17.3, egg — 687.5. The variability in CF values did not depend on mink individuals but could be explained by the mean weight of prey items eaten by mink. The positive correlation between the prey size and its digestibility was recorded for crayfish, fish and chicken. The biomass of frog, passerine and rodent remains was not related to the body mass of eaten prey. The use of evaluated correction factors enables more accurate estimates of the food composition of wild living mustelids.

Associate Editor was Andrzej Zalewski.