Mammalian Biology

, Volume 80, Issue 6, pp 527–534 | Cite as

Consumption of fleshy fruit: Are central European carnivores really less frugivorous than southern European carnivores?

  • Przemysław KurekEmail author


Frugivory in carnivores in Central Europe is widespread and common. Therefore, the concept of gradient in regard to the share of fruit in the diet of carnivores in the northern and southern regions of Europe should be revised. The following hypotheses can be set: (1) carnivores from Central Europe consume amounts of fleshy fruit similar to those consumed by the same carnivore species from the southern regions of the continent; (2) the only difference between the central and southern parts of the European continent is the variety of fleshy-fruit species consumed by carnivores; (3) regardless of latitude, there is a strong relationship between the amount of fruit consumed and richness of fruit species in the diet. In total, 158 papers on the diets of carnivores inhabiting Europe were examined, spanning the period 1970–2010. Subsequently, in preparing this paper, data from 78 publications on the most generalist diets (badgers 25, foxes 21 and martens 32) were chosen for further statistical analysis. Analysis of standardised data from the literature did not confirm that frugivory in carnivores (with special attention to the martens Martes martes, M. foina, the red fox Vulpes vulpes and the badger Meles meles) varies between latitudes and longitudes in Europe. These results contradict previous findings. One reason for this is that data concerning dry fruit were excluded from the analysis. There were strong correlations between the number of fleshy-fruited plant species eaten by carnivores and the percentage of occurrence of such fruit in the diet, regardless of latitude and longitude.


Carnivores Central Europe Fleshy-fruit diet Geographical gradient 


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© Deutsche Gesellschaft für Säugetierkunde 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Władysław Szafer Institute of Botany, Polish Academy of SciencesKrakówPoland

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