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Effect of Moonlight on Winter Activity of Showshoe Hares

B. Scott Gilbert and Stan Boutin
Arctic and Alpine Research
Vol. 23, No. 1 (Feb., 1991), pp. 61-65
DOI: 10.2307/1551438
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1551438
Page Count: 5
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Effect of Moonlight on Winter Activity of Showshoe Hares
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Abstract

The winter ecology of the snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus) may be influenced by predation and food availability. Habitat structure or cover can affect both of these factors and hares may make foraging decisions that integrate all of these influences. We tested the hypothesis that moonlight would reduce the amount of time hares spent foraging in open clearings far from cover. Our track transects, near Kluane Lake, Yukon, indicated that hares were less active in open areas during moonlit nights compared with dark nights during the new moon. In a large clearing, we offered free ranging hares measured amounts of commercial rabbit food from both control and covered feeders. We measured nightly consumption during both bright and dark phases of the moon and found that hares preferred the covered feeders, but we found no additional effect due to moonlight conditions.

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