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Open Access item Does size matter? Relating consumed prey sizes and diet composition of otters in South Iberian coastal streams

Authors:Clavero, Miguel
Prenda, J.
Delibes, M.
Keywords:Lutra lutra, Predation, Prey selection, Estuaries, Mediterranean streams, Fish, Human disturbance
Issue Date:Mar-2007
Publisher:Springer
Citation:Acta Theriologica 52 (1): 37-44, 2007
Abstract:We analysed seasonal changes in the sizes of prey [grey mullets (Mugilidae), flatfish (Soleidae), eelAnguilla anguilla and crayfishProcambarus clarkii] consumed by ottersLutra lutra Linnaeus, 1758 in a Mediterranean-climate coastal area and relate them to the frequencies of occurrence of each prey species in otter diet. The sizes of over 1500 otter prey were estimated from measurements of key pieces found in 814 otter spraints, which were collected in lower stream stretches in a sandy coastal area. Clear relationships between mean prey size and frequency of occurrence were observed for the four prey types. These relationships were positive for grey mullets, flatfish and crayfish (ie they occurred more in otter diet when more large individuals were predated), but was negative in the case of eels. Results suggest that these patterns could be related to seasonal changes in habitat use. Previous works in the study area showed that otter concentrate its predation efforts in freshwater stream stretches during spring and summer, when more and larger crayfish are available. Freshwater stretches have neither grey mullets nor flatfish, while eels are larger and scarcer there than near streams’ mouths, where crayfish is absent.
Publisher version (URL):Http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF03194197
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/10261/39703
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Appears in Collections:(EBD) Artículos

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