Factors Influencing Winter Food Choice by Mountain Hares (Lepus-Timidus L) on Swedish Coastal Islands
1987 (English)In: Canadian Journal of Zoology, ISSN 0008-4301, E-ISSN 1480-3283, Vol. 65, no 9, 2163-2167 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
In mainland areas, mountain hares seem unable to survive on a single browse species. However, mountain hares on islands off the west coast of Sweden rely almost entirely on a plain heather diet during winter. Herein, we give as a possible explanation for this phenomenon that the high concentration of sodium in the heather in the coastal areas can buffer the high sodium excretion otherwise observed in hares feeding on heather under experimental conditions. Furthermore, hares selected heather with the highest nitrogen and phosphorus contents. We argue that the pattern of food choice exhibited by the hares in the coastal area is to be expected in homogenous habitats where hares rely on one dominant food species. In heterogenous habitats, the possibility of food selection on a nutritional level is to a considerable extent overridden by effects of digestibility and concentration of secondary compounds in the different food plants available.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
1987. Vol. 65, no 9, 2163-2167 p.
Research subject Zoology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-29670DOI: 10.1139/z87-330ISI: A1987K609200004ISBN: 0008-4301OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-29670DiVA: diva2:234716
ISI Document Delivery No.: K6092 Times Cited: 12 Cited Reference Count: 212009-09-102009-09-102014-10-13Bibliographically approved