Biology Bulletin

, Volume 40, Issue 7, pp 614–625 | Cite as

Structure of arctic fox (Alopex lagopus beringensis) colonies in the northern extremity of Bering Island

  • I. A. Volodin
  • M. V. Kalashnikova
  • E. S. Klinkova
  • A. M. GoltsmanEmail author
  • M. E. Goltsman
  • E. P. Kruchenkova


Data on the spatial structure of an Arctic fox (Alopex lagopus beringensis) colony were obtained in July-August 1995, using walk counts and observations near living dens around the Northern rookery of the northern fur seals located on Bering Island (Commander Islands). The home ranges of 31 Arctic fox families (61 adults and 145 pups inhabiting 66 dens) were found over 27 km of the coastline. Sixty individuals (3 adults and 57 pups) were marked by color ear-tags. Among adult foxes, 24 (39.3%) were recognized as females and 12 (19.7%) as males; the sex of 25 (41.0%) foxes was not recognized. Among 57 marked cubs, 26 (45.6%) were females and 31 (54.4%) were males. The best studied families (13) had 3–11 pups (6.7 ± 0.7, on average). The survival of cubs at an age younger than 2.0–2.5 months was 82.5%; 30.8% of the families consisted of more than two adults. The distribution of the Arctic fox dens and home ranges along the coastline has been studied; specific features of the location of dens have been described. In the studied area, Arctic foxes have been foraging on birds (67.6% of dens with food remains), northern fur seals (40.5), other marine mammals (13.5), Pacific salmon (29.7), and reindeer (2.7%), as well as on amphipods and voles. Rich constant food sources (rookeries, marine bird colonies, and spawning places of the blueback salmon) were found in 7 home ranges of the Arctic fox; 6 home ranges included temporary food sources (spawning streams of the humpback salmon); and 18 home ranges were poor in food resources. Arctic foxes whose home ranges lie within 6–7 km around a “food patch” used the concentrated food resources together. Food resources are supposed to become important only after the raised pups turn to self-feeding. Differences in the use of space, foraging and breeding of the two Arctic fox subspecies (A. l. beringensis and A. l. semenovi), and arrangement of colonies around the northern fur seal rookeries are discussed.


breeding season family plot location of dens structure of families demographic composition concentrated sources of food 


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© Pleiades Publishing, Inc. 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • I. A. Volodin
    • 1
    • 2
  • M. V. Kalashnikova
    • 1
    • 2
  • E. S. Klinkova
    • 1
    • 2
  • A. M. Goltsman
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • M. E. Goltsman
    • 1
    • 2
  • E. P. Kruchenkova
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty of BiologyMoscow State UniversityMoscowRussia
  2. 2.Moscow ZooMoscowRussia

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