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Mammalian Biology

, Volume 76, Issue 3, pp 302–307 | Cite as

Trophic strategy of the wildcat Felis silvestris in relation to seasonal variation in the availability and vulnerability to capture of Apodemus mice

  • Ana Piñeiro
  • Isabel BarjaEmail author
Original Investigation

Abstract

The aim of this study was to assess the trophic strategy of the wildcat (Felis silvestris) by examining the availability and vulnerability of its main prey. Live traps were used to estimate Apodemus mouse availability. The vulnerability to capture of wildcat main prey–Apodemus mice–was studied by focal sampling of live-trapped individuals; slow escape behaviour and body weight were used as indicators of vulnerability to capture. The seasonal consumption of Apodemus mice did not depend on their availability, although seasonality was the only factor that explained the variation in slow escape behaviour, which was more commonly seen in the autumn when the consumption of these mice was higher. Variation in mouse body weight was related to reproductive condition but not to seasonality. These results indicate that the wildcat is a facultative specialist in the consumption of Apodemus mice, with vulnerability to capture the main factor determining the rate of mouse consumption.

Keywords

Wildcat Felis silvestris Apodemus mice Availability Trophic strategy Vulnerability 

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Copyright information

© Deutsche Gesellschaft für Säugetierkunde 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Biología, Unidad de ZoologíaUniversidad Autónoma de MadridMadridSpain

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