The Arctic Fox Population in Finnish Lapland During 30 Years, 1964-93
1995 (English)In: Annales Zoologici Fennici, ISSN 0003-455X, Vol. 32, no 1, 69-77 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
We have monitored the number of arctic foxes and microtine rodents in northern Finland for 30 years. Arctic fox densities were estimated by inventories at den sites, and microtine abundance by snap trapping. Time series analyses showed that the arctic fox population fluctuated widely but always close together with the microtines in a five year cycle. However, there was no time lag in the numerical response of foxes on microtines. The strong dependence on microtines was confirmed by analyses of faecal droppings and food remains at dens. In summer time microtines consisted in average of 45% of the diet and reindeer 30%, but during winters reindeer was the most important food source with 45% compared to 15% for microtines. There was a surprising positive correlation between number of voles and reindeer carcasses, suggesting competition or alternatively an external correlation from e.g. weather. Mean litter size of the arctic fox was also highly dependent on microtine abundance but decreased during the study period despite that food resources had not changed. Further, when microtines had high densities during two consecutive years, arctic foxes only responded to the first year. A feeding experiment resulted in an increase in number of red foxes but had no or little effect on arctic foxes. So, it is difficult to single out one explanation to the decline and second year effect. Food was probably not involved and we do not know if diseases and parasites have been involved. However, both competition and predation, primarily from the red fox, may be responsible together with climatic or weather changes.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
1995. Vol. 32, no 1, 69-77 p.
ALOPEX-LAGOPUS, MICROTINE CYCLES, VULPES-VULPES, RED FOXES, FENNOSCANDIA, PREDATION, CHAOS
Research subject Zoology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-29695ISI: A1995RB12100010ISBN: 0003-455XOAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-29695DiVA: diva2:234752
II North European Symposium on the Ecology of Small and Medium-sized Carniwores, LAMMI, FINLAND, APR 08-11, 1994