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Food habits of Japanese deer in an evergreen forest : Litter-feeding deer

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Title: Food habits of Japanese deer in an evergreen forest : Litter-feeding deer
Authors: Agetsuma, Naoki Browse this author →KAKEN DB
Agetsuma-Yanagihara, Yoshimi Browse this author
Takafumi, Hino Browse this author
Keywords: Japanese sika deer Cervus nippon yakushimae
Decomposer
Warm temperate forest
Litter fall
Monkey
Issue Date: Mar-2011
Publisher: Elsevier
Journal Title: Mammalian Biology : Zeitschrift für Säugetierkunde
Volume: 76
Issue: 2
Start Page: 201
End Page: 207
Publisher DOI: 10.1016/j.mambio.2010.04.002
Abstract: We observed the feeding behaviors of wild Japanese sika deer (Cervus nippon yakushimae) in a warm temperate broad-leaved evergreen forest of the island of Yakushima using the focal animal sampling method from April 2002 to June 2006. Sika deer fed on species of at least 73 woody plants, 13 vines, 8 herbaceous plants, 8 ferns, 1 moss, and 3 fungi. We investigated time spent feeding on each food category in each season (spring: April-June; summer: July-September; autumn: October-December; winter: January-March). During each season, 45.6-59.8% of the deer diet consisted of fallen woody leaves. Half of the fallen leaves were those tinged with red and yellow colors. Fallen reproductive parts of plants constituted 8.7-23.7% of the seasonal deer diet. In contrast, living woody parts of plants and herbaceous plants, including ferns and moss, constituted 4.4-22.5% and 0.8-9.2% of the seasonal diet, respectively. Deer also fed on animal matters as minor food items, such as the feces of monkeys and raccoon dogs, bones of deer and monkeys, and bird carcasses. Animal matters constituted 0.3-1.6% of the seasonal diet. Sympatric monkeys supplied food to deer as a result of their daily activities. Monkey-supplied foods comprised 1.7-10.9% of the seasonal diet of sika deer. Monkeys tended to supply many fruits and seeds. Overall, 75.0% of the annual deer diet consisted of forest litter, even though deer had access to abundant living edible leaves in the study area. Therefore, sika deer in this forest ecosystem function ecologically as decomposers rather than primary consumers.
Type: article (author version)
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2115/45384
Appears in Collections:北方生物圏フィールド科学センター (Field Science Center for Northern Biosphere) > 雑誌発表論文等 (Peer-reviewed Journal Articles, etc)

Submitter: 揚妻 直樹

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