Jul 24, 2008

Foraging patterns of voles at heterogeneous avian and uniform mustelid predation risk

Oecologia
J A EccardHannu Ylönen

Abstract

Temporal variation of antipredatory behavior and a uniform distribution of predation risk over refuges and foraging sites may create foraging patterns different from those anticipated from risk in heterogenous habitats. We studied the temporal variation in foraging behavior of voles exposed to uniform mustelid predation risk and heterogeneous avian predation risk of different levels induced by vegetation types in eight outdoor enclosures (0.25 ha). We manipulated mustelid predation risk with weasel presence or absence and avian predation risk by reducing or providing local cover at experimental food patches. Foraging at food patches was monitored by collecting giving-up densities at artificial food patches, overall activity was automatically monitored, and mortality of voles was monitored by live-trapping and radiotracking. Voles depleted the food to lower levels in the sheltered patches than in the exposed ones. In enclosures with higher avian predation risk caused by lower vegetation height, trays were depleted to lower levels. Unexpectedly, voles foraged in more trays and depleted trays to lower levels in the presence of weasels than in the absence. Weasels match their prey's body size and locomotive abilities and therefore ...Continue Reading

Mentioned in this Paper

Ondatra
Predator
Etiology
Mustelidae
Food Web
Aves
Microtus
Predatory Behavior
PYURF gene
Raptors

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