Multi-annual variation in the diet composition and frugivory of the Japanese marten
(Martes melampus) in western Tokyo, central Japan
Yamato Tsuji & Yui Yasumoto & Seiki Takatsuki
To examine multi-annual variations in the food habits of the Japanese
marten (Martes melampus), we analyzed the composition of marten feces
in the Bonbori Forest Path in western Tokyo, central Japan, in two
time periods a decade apart (1997–1998 and 2007–2008). The staple
foods of martens in both periods were fruits/seeds and animal
materials (mainly insects and mammals). The martens fed frequently on
fruits/seeds and insects throughout the year in both periods, but the
consumption of mammals, birds, and arthropods/other animals showed
seasonal variations. The composition of fruits/seeds and the frequency
of occurrence for each fruit-bearing species differed between the two
periods. These results suggest that both the foraging strategy and
role of martens as a seed dispersal agent changes yearly, presumably
according to multi-annual variation in the availability of prey
animals and/or fruits. We emphasize the importance of multi-annual
studies both on food habits and to monitor food availability in the
temperate region where the food environment changes among seasons, as
well as years.
Acta Theriologica DOI 10.1007/s13364-014-0181-1
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