Knowledge of a carnivore’s foraging behaviour is essential to understand its ecology. The pine marten Martes martes is commonly defined as an opportunistic generalist predator since its diet in Europe includes mammals, fruits, birds and invertebrates. Based on faecal analyses, we evaluated spring feeding habits and trophic niche breadth of the pine marten in a Mediterranean landscape on the island of Sardinia (Central Italy). The most important source of food for the pine marten was small mammals (mainly Apodemus sylvaticus, Mus musculus and Eliomys quercinus), accounting for 52% of the percent mean volume. Important secondary foods were invertebrates (mainly beetles and insect larvae) and birds (almost exclusively passerines), whereas large mammals, lagomorphs, reptiles and fruits made little con tribution to the diet. The diet composition and the Levins’ index value suggest that the pine marten in Sardinia behaves as a facultative specialist predator, with a specialization towards small mammals.

Spring diet of the pine marten in Sardinia, Italy

LOMBARDINI, MARCO;MURRU, MARCO;REPOSSI, AMBRA MARIAELENA;CINERARI, CLAUDIA ELISA;VIDUS ROSIN, ANNA;MERIGGI, ALBERTO
2015

Abstract

Knowledge of a carnivore’s foraging behaviour is essential to understand its ecology. The pine marten Martes martes is commonly defined as an opportunistic generalist predator since its diet in Europe includes mammals, fruits, birds and invertebrates. Based on faecal analyses, we evaluated spring feeding habits and trophic niche breadth of the pine marten in a Mediterranean landscape on the island of Sardinia (Central Italy). The most important source of food for the pine marten was small mammals (mainly Apodemus sylvaticus, Mus musculus and Eliomys quercinus), accounting for 52% of the percent mean volume. Important secondary foods were invertebrates (mainly beetles and insect larvae) and birds (almost exclusively passerines), whereas large mammals, lagomorphs, reptiles and fruits made little con tribution to the diet. The diet composition and the Levins’ index value suggest that the pine marten in Sardinia behaves as a facultative specialist predator, with a specialization towards small mammals.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11571/1103299
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