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Exploring the diet of arctic wolves (Canis lupus arctos) at their northern range limit
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology. University of Oviedo, Spain; University of Pretoria, South Africa.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
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Number of Authors: 8
2018 (English)In: Canadian Journal of Zoology, ISSN 0008-4301, E-ISSN 1480-3283, Vol. 96, no 3, p. 277-281Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The grey wolf (Canis lupus Linnaeus, 1758) is one of the most widespread large carnivores on Earth, and occurs throughout the Arctic. Although wolf diet is well studied, we have scant information from high Arctic areas. Global warming is expected to increase the importance of predation for ecosystem regulation in Arctic environments. To improve our ability to manage Arctic ecosystems under environmental change, we therefore need knowledge about Arctic predator diets. Prey remains in 54 wolf scats collected at three sites in the high Arctic region surrounding the Hall Basin (Judge Daly Promontory, Ellesmere Island, Canada, and Washington Land and Hall Land, both in northwestern Greenland) pointed to a dietary importance of arctic hare (Lepus arcticus Ross, 1819; 55% frequency of occurrence) and muskoxen (Ovibos moschatus (Zimmermann, 1780); 39% frequency of occurrence), although we observed diet variation among the sites. A literature compilation suggested that arctic wolves (Canis lupus arctos Pocock, 1935) preferentially feed on caribou (Rangifer tarandus (Linnaeus, 1758)) and muskoxen, but can sustain themselves on arctic hares and Greenland collared lemmings (Dicrostonyx groenlandicus (Traill, 1823)) in areas with limited or no ungulate populations. We suggest that climate change may alter the dynamics among wolves, arctic hare, muskoxen, and caribou, and we encourage further studies evaluating how climate change influences predator-prey interactions in high Arctic environments.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 96, no 3, p. 277-281
Keyword [en]
arctic wolf, Canis lupus arctos, food habits, diet, high Arctic, arctic hare, Lepus arcticus, muskoxen, Ovibos moschatus
National Category
Biological Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-154795DOI: 10.1139/cjz-2017-0054ISI: 000427385500013OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-154795DiVA, id: diva2:1198217
Available from: 2018-04-17 Created: 2018-04-17 Last updated: 2018-04-17Bibliographically approved

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