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Ecological Research

, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 129–133 | Cite as

Food habits of sika deer in the Shiranuka Hills, eastern Hokkaido: a northern example from the north–south variations in food habits in sika deer

  • Ahimsa Campos-Arceiz
  • Seiki Takatsuki
Original Article

Abstract

Seasonal changes in the composition of the diet of the sika deer population in the Shiranuka Hills, eastern Hokkaido, in 1998 were determined by fecal analyses. The deer were dependent on Sasa nipponica, a dwarf bamboo, throughout the year, particularly in winter when it accounted for as much as 77.7% of the diet. It accounted for 33.1% and 45.6% in spring and summer, respectively, and this decreased to 12.2% in autumn. Besides S. nipponica, all the graminoid categories accounted for large amounts (66–96.7%), while dicotyledonous plants accounted for little (3–8%) except in autumn when they accounted for 31%. The strong dependence of the Shiranuka population on graminoids was different from other Hokkaido deer populations, for example the population from Ashoro/Onbetsu and the extremely high density population on Nakanoshima Island. In spite of these differences, food for all Hokkaido sika deer was poor in winter. Along the north–south geographical cline in the food composition of sika deer along the Japanese archipelago, the Shiranuka population was positioned as a grazer type, in contrast to the southern populations. However, it is important to note that variations are great among local populations in Hokkaido.

Keywords

Cervus nippon Fecal analysis Food habits Hokkaido Sasa nipponica 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The fecal samples of the sika deer at the Shiranuka Hills were collected by Dr. H. Igota (University Forest, Hokkaido University).

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Copyright information

© The Ecological Society of Japan 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Agriculture and Life SciencesThe University of TokyoTokyoJapan
  2. 2.The University Museum, The University of TokyoTokyoJapan

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