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Ecological Research

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 99–107 | Cite as

Comparative analyses on food habits of Japanese marten, Siberian weasel and leopard cat in the Tsushima islands, Japan

  • Masaya Tatara
  • Teruo Doi
Article

Abstract

Food habits of three sympatric carnivore mammals in the Tsushima islands of Japan were studied during 1986–91. Scats of the Tsushima marten (n=1236), the Siberian weasel (n=218) and the Tsushima leopard cat (n=350) were collected monthly and the food items were determined by scat contents analysis. Marten was omnivorous showing a high level of diversity of food throughout the year. The important foods for marten were fruits and berries from spring to autumn, insects in summer and autumn and small mammals all year round. Leopard cat preferred to hunt wood/mice and birds, and remained a flesh meat specialist throughout the year. Weasel was intermediate between marten and leopard cat, but was slightly biased towards the flesh meat eater. The three carnivores do not compete against one another for food, except for small rodents. A conflict for food between leopard cat and weasel was suggested to be more intense than that of other combinations based on diet overlapping. Marten may be characterized as an opportunistic generalist. When interspecific competitors existed, or human disturbance to the habitat occurred, the preferential flexibility of the marten to alternative food resources might become more advantageous than the other two species.

Key words

food diversity leopard cat scat analysis Siberian weasel Tsushima marten 

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Copyright information

© Ecological Society of Japan 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Masaya Tatara
    • 1
  • Teruo Doi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biology, Faculty of ScienceKyushu University 33FukuokaJapan

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