- 1) Department of Biology, University of Joensuu, P.O. Box 111, SF-80101, Joensuu, Finland
Overwintering mountain hares (Lepus timidus) fed selectively on the shoots of a number of northern willow (Salix spp.) species. The hares preferred certain species over others and mature shoots over juvenile ones. There was a negative correlation between the phenolic glycoside concentration in the twigs and the hares' feeding. This correlation was substantiated by feeding experiments in which oat grains treated with purified phenoglycoside and catechin fractions of willow bark were offered along with untreated control oat grains to free-ranging mountain hares. Both fractions in concentrations normally found in willow twigs inhibited hare feeding. The results suggest that these phenolic compounds play a crucial role in the building up of resistance patterns among the willows. The decline in resistance in mature shoots of tall willows indicates that the juvenile resistance can be, perhaps secondarily, an adaptation against mammals browsing from ground level. Accordingly, low willow species retain a high level of resistance also in maturity.
- 1 - sciences appliquees, technologies et medecines
- 2 - sciences biologiques et medicales
- 3 - sciences biologiques fondamentales et appliquees. psychologie
- 1 - Life Sciences ; 2 - Agricultural and Biological Sciences ; 3 - Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics