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Journal Article

Diet of sympatric pine marten (Martes martes) and stone marten (Martes foina) identified by genotyping of DNA from faeces

Maciej Posłuszny, Małgorzata Pilot, Jacek Goszczyński and Barbara Gralak
Annales Zoologici Fennici
Vol. 44, No. 4 (2007), pp. 269-284
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23736771
Page Count: 16

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Topics: Martens, Diet, Food, Birds, Rodents, Fruits, Coniferous forests, Animal feeding behavior, Mammals, Forest insects
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Diet of sympatric pine marten (Martes martes) and stone marten (Martes foina) identified by genotyping of DNA from faeces
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Abstract

Martes martes and Martes foina occur sympatrically in most of Europe. Little is known about differences between trophic niches of these species, because martens are difficult to observe and it is impossible to distinguish between scats of both species based on their morphological features. To resolve this problem, we used DNA extracted from faeces for species identification. This method allowed us to compare the diet of the two species in the area of their sympatric occurrence in central Poland. We analysed the composition of 287 scats of stone martens and 155 of pine martens. Both species fed mainly on small rodents, birds and fruits. Although the trophic niches of both martens highly overlapped, we found significant quantitative differences in their food composition. Pine martens fed more frequently on rodents and birds, and stone martens on fruits and insects. These differences were also visible in the seasonal perspective. Although both martens exploited the same forest habitat, genetic identification of faeces allowed us to indicate significant differences in the diet of these closely related species.

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