Journal of Insect Conservation

, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 203–207 | Cite as

Predation of insects by feral cats (Felis silvestris catus L., 1758) on an oceanic island (La Palma, Canary Island)

  • Félix M. MedinaEmail author
  • Rafael García
Short Communication


Predation of insects by feral cats (Felis silvestris catus) on a heterogeneous oceanic island (La Palma, Canary Islands) was studied. A total of 127 invertebrates were identified in the analysis of 500 scats (100 from each habitat of the Island). Invertebrates appear in 18.00% of the scats, representing an insignificant percentage of the total consumed biomass by feral cats on La Palma Island (0.05%). Insects were the most common invertebrate prey both in percentage of occurrence (90.6%) and invertebrate biomass (93.53%), with a total of 115 prey items. Orthoptera, Lepidoptera and Coleoptera were the main prey groups. Among the five main habitats present in La Palma Island, the temperate forest shows the lowest consumption of invertebrates, although insect consumption did not show statistical differences. However Orthoptera and Lepidoptera were more frequently preyed on in the pine forest and in the xerophytic shrub, respectively. Moreover, applying the Simplified Morisita index, a different insect composition of the diet was observed among habitats. Although, none of insects predated by feral cats are threatened, the identification of invertebrate component of the feral cats’ diet is an important tool for the correct understanding of predation significance and to prevent damage to endangered insect species.


Arthropods Felis silvestris catus Invertebrates Native species Predation 



We are very grateful to Manuel Nogales, Pedro Oromí and two anonymous referees for their revision and comments made on an early draft of the manuscript. Jorge L. Pais Simón provided some data on invertebrate weights.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Unidad de Medio AmbienteCabildo Insular de La PalmaSanta Cruz de La Palma, Canary IslandsSpain
  2. 2.Santa Cruz de La Palma, Canary IslandsSpain
  3. 3.Island Ecology and Evolution Research Group, IPNA, CSICLa Laguna, Tenerife, Canary IslandsSpain

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