Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1139/Z01-208
Title (Primary) Does local feeding specialization exist in Eurasian badgers?
Author Revilla, E.; Palomares, F.
Journal Canadian Journal of Zoology-Revue Canadienne de Zoologie
Year 2002
Department OESA
Volume 80
Page From 83
Page To 93
Language englisch
Abstract Several local populations of the otherwise generalist Eurasian badger (Meles meles) have been defined as locally specialized on temporarily variable food resources, such as earthworms (Lumbricus spp.), olive fruits (Olea europaea) or young rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus), due to the lack of correlation between resource availability and use. However, theoretical models predict that temporally varying resources reduce the probability of diet specialization. In order to understand the relationship between temporal variability and local feeding specialization, we studied the temporal variations in diet composition and diversity (using fecal analysis), the existence of a temporally stable key resource and the relation between consumption and availability of rabbits (key prey) and invertebrates (secondary prey), in a badger population previously described as specialized on young rabbits. We found strong variations in the use of different resources (including young rabbits) and in diet diversity between seasons and years. Young rabbits were the main food resource during winter and spring, but fruits were in autumn and reptiles in summer. Diet diversity was inversely related to consumption of young rabbits and positively related to consumption of a secondary prey (invertebrates). The consumption of rabbits (both as young and adults) was correlated with their abundance in field, with a type-3 functional response in the consumption of young rabbits, typical of a generalist with alternative prey available. There was no relationship between the abundance of invertebrates and their consumption. Our results show that badgers in the study area were not locally specialized. Therefore, care should be taken when referring to a population as specialized without an adequate test of the predictions.
Persistent UFZ Identifier
Revilla, E., Palomares, F. (2002):
Does local feeding specialization exist in Eurasian badgers?
Can. J. Zool.-Rev. Can. Zool. 80 , 83 - 93