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Mammalian Biology

, Volume 70, Issue 1, pp 12–23 | Cite as

Dietary shifts of the badger (Meles meles) in Mediterranean woodlands: an opportunistic forager with seasonal spedalisms

  • L. M. RosalinoEmail author
  • Filipa Loureiro
  • D. W. Macdonald
  • Margarida Santos-Reis
Original investigation

Abstract

Accumulating publications on the feeding ecology of the Eurasian badger (Metes meles Linnaeus, 1758) in différent habitats throughout Europe provide a basis for intraspecific comparisons, however, none has described their diet in cork oak “montado” woodlands, found in the southwestern extreme of the species’ distribution. This study aims to understand how badgers use the available trophic resources in “Serra de Grândola” (SW Portugal) and is based on 450 seat samples collected between 1999 and 2000. Nine food-items were identified, 3 of which comprise 89% of the biomass ingested by badgers in the cork oak woodland: fruits (mainly olives, pears and figs), and adult and larval arthropods. Food abundance was measured, and was shown to fluctuate seasonally; the comparison between availability and consumption suggests that food sélection is affected by the pat-tern of olive availability. These findings reinforce the accumulating évidence that badger ecology in many parts of Europe is heavily affected by local patterns of agriculture and reveal that in this habitat the badger is a generalist forager with seasonal spedalisms.

Key words

Meles meles badger diet Mediterranean environments cork oak woodlands 

Verschiebungen der Nahrungswahl beim Dachs (Meles meles) in Mittelmeer-Waldgebieten: eine opportunistische Art mit saisonaler Spezialisierung

Zusammenfassung

Eine große Zahl von Publikationen widmete sich in den Letzten zwei Jahrzehnten der Nahrungsökologie des eurasischen Dachses (Meles meles Linnaeus, 1758) in verschiedenen Habitaten Europas, was sich als Basis für innerartliche Vergleiche als sehr nützlich erweist. Bisher fehlten aber Angaben über die in Korkeichen-Waldgebieten („Montado”) der iberischen Halbinsel aufgenommene Nahrung, d. h. an der südwestlichen Grenze des Verbreitungsgebietes dieser Art. Ziel dieser Studie war, die Nutzung der verfügbaren Nahrungsquellen in der „Serra de Grândola” zu untersuchen. Dafür wurden 450 Kotproben zwischen 1999 und 2000 gesammelt. Es gelang, 9 Nahrungskategorien zu unterscheiden, von denen 3 für 89% der eingenommenen Biomasse verantwortlich sind: Früchte (hauptsächlich Oliven, Birnen und Feigen), adulte Arthropoden und Arthropoden-Larven. Das gemessene Nahrungsangebot wies starke saisonale Schwankungen auf. Der Vergleich zwischen Angebot und Nutzung zeigt, daß die Nahrungswahl stark vom Angebot an Oliven beeinflußt wurde. Diese Resultate verstärken die wachsende Überzeugung, daß die Ökologie des Dachses in zahlreichen Gebieten Europas stark durch die lokale Bewirtschaftung beeinflußt wird. Der Dachs ist im „Montado” ein Generalist, der sich saisonal auf bestimmte Nahrungskategorien spezialisiert.

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Copyright information

© Deutsche Gesellschaft für Säugetierkunde 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. M. Rosalino
    • 1
    Email author
  • Filipa Loureiro
    • 1
  • D. W. Macdonald
    • 2
  • Margarida Santos-Reis
    • 1
  1. 1.Centra de Biologia Ambiental, Departamento de Biologia AnimalFaculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lis-boaLisboaPortugal
  2. 2.Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of ZoologyOxford UniversityUK

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