Local feeding specialization by badgers ( Meles meles ) in a mediterranean environment
A case of local feeding specialization in the European badger (Meles meles), a carnivore species with morphological, physiological and behavioural traits proper to a trophic generalist, is described. For the first time, we report a mammalian species, the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), as the preferred prey of badgers. Secondary prey are consumed according to their availability, compensating for temporal fluctuations in the abundance of rabbit kittens. We discuss how both predator (little ability to hunt) and prey (profitability and predictability) features, may favour the observed specialization, as predicted by foraging theory. Badgers show a trend to specialize on different prey in different areas throughout the species range. It is suggested that changes in prey features can reverse the badger feeding strategy at the population level. Such dynamic behavioural responses make difficult to label badgers as generalists or specialists at the species level.
- 1 - sciences appliquees, technologies et medecines
- 2 - sciences biologiques et medicales
- 3 - sciences biologiques fondamentales et appliquees. psychologie
- 4 - psychologie. psychophysiologie
- 1 - Life Sciences ; 2 - Agricultural and Biological Sciences ; 3 - Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics