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Local feeding specialization by badgers (Meles meles) in a mediterranean environment

AuthorsMartín, Rosalía; Rodríguez, Alejandro ; Delibes, M.
KeywordsFeeding strategy
Local specialization
Prey features
Issue DateJan-1995
CitationOecologia (1995) 101:45—50
AbstractA case of local feeding specialization in the European badger (Meles meles), a carnivore species with morphological, physiological and behavioural traits pro­ per to a trophic generalist, is described. For the first time, we report a mammalian species, the European rab­ bit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), as the preferred prey of bad­ gers. Secondary prey are consumed according to their availability, compensating for temporal fluctuations in the abundance of rabbit kittens. We discuss how both predator (little ability to hunt) and prey (profitability and predictability) features, may favour the observed special­ ization, as predicted by foraging theory. Badgers show a trend to specialize on different prey in different areas throughout the species range. It is suggested that changes in prey features can reverse the badger feeding strategy at the population level. Such dynamic behavioural re­ sponses make difficult to label badgers as generalists or specialists at the species level
Publisher version (URL)http://www.springerlink.com/content/q72582741m770831/fulltext.pdf
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